Five Signs That You Shouldn’t Accept a Job Offer

Five Signs That You Shouldn't Accept a Job Offer

You’re really stoked about the job offer. Although your enthusiasm no doubt shined through in the interview, your nerves and excitement may unfortunately blind you to some major red flags.

Before you accept a job offer, it’s important to take time to figure out if it’s really where you want to be. After all, this is how you’ll spend the majority of your time moving forward. Gulp.

Read on to learn about five signs that you shouldn’t accept a job offer.

You’ve got a bad gut feeling

It might be that greasy bacon burger you ate for lunch. Or maybe it’s more than that. Maybe there’s something that just felt off during your interview. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you got an uneasy feeling when you met the hiring manager. Or maybe you felt it the second you set foot inside the building.

Ignoring your gut is dangerous. I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way several times in my career.

Maybe you really need a job and a steady paycheck. Or perhaps you are tempted to take the first job offer than comes along because there might not be any more offers.

Before you jump and accept a job offer, take time to think about it first. Give yourself some quiet time to reflect, or talk to a trusted friend.

Think about all the aspects of the job. Replay the interview in your head and try to get at where your bad feeling came from. Was it the people who made you uneasy? The culture or environment? The overall nature of the job?

See related: Biggest Interview Mistakes for Moms Returning to Work

It doesn’t add up

After you accept the official job offer, you feel like you’re being short-changed. There are times when your career direction will require you to take a pay cut. But if it’s so significant that you feel under-valued and even bitter, this could be a sign that this opportunity or career path is not the right fit.

It’s important to look at your budget and finances during your job search so that you know your bottom line, or the lowest compensation package you’re willing and able to take.

Research salary data in your targeted field on sites like Glassdoor and to determine the average salary for professionals with your skills and experience. The more research you do, the more prepared you will be to accept (or not accept) a job offer if it’s extended.

See related: Making a Career Change After 40? Avoid These Common Mistakes!

You’re getting mixed messages

The recruiter tells you you’re starting in two weeks. Then two weeks gets pushed to three weeks. Then one month, and so on.

This is a red flag.

If the company can’t get their sh*t in order to bring you on, what’s it going to be like when you actually start the job? Probably just as confusing and chaotic.

Along similar lines, if a company wants you to pay for training you should run for the hills. You should never have to give money up front when you start a job.

There’s high turnover

This goes back to doing your research. Use sites like Fairygodboss and Glassdoor to find out what people are saying about the company culture and turnover.

Search for former or current employees on LinkedIn and make connections. Next, ask to do information interviews where you can ask questions like:

What’s the culture like at XYZ company? How long have you worked there? What’s the biggest challenge about working at XYZ company?

In the interview process, ask questions like: What was my predecessor’s most significant challenge in this role? How long was he / she in the role?

Pay close attention to how the hiring manager responds. If they blame your predecessor completely for any challenges or mistakes related to the position you’re applying for, that’s a big red flag. It demonstrates that there is a lack of support at the organization.

You’re asked illegal questions

Are you planning to have more kids? What’s your relationship status? What country are you from? Is English your first language?

These are all illegal questions and if a hiring manager or recruiter asks them, this is a major red flag.

If you are asked a question in an interview that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can respond in several ways. You can say something like “I don’t think this question is relevant to my ability to perform the job. Let’s refocus on my strengths in relation to the position.” Or a more direct approach like, “This is actually an illegal question and I won’t answer it.”

Regardless of how you approach the situation, it’s important to ask yourself if you want to work for an employer who isn’t aware of legal hiring practices. This is a strong indication that the company is shady and that you are potentially entering into a toxic work environment.

See related: The #1 Thing to do to Avoid Age Discrimination in Your Job Search

In Conclusion

It might be tempting to accept the first (or even second) job offer than comes along, especially in these uncertain times. But it’s also important to be discerning and thoughtful when it comes to deciding on your next big career move.

If you pay attention to signs that you shouldn’t accept a job offer, you’re greatly increasing your chances for career success!

Still not sure about the job offer? Talk to our professional career coaches today and make sure this offer is right for you!

  • Lee Cristina Beaser

    MS, CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer)

    Lee brings over two decades of expertise in guiding individuals towards career success. Having helped thousands of professionals in a wide variety of industries, she has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the job market. Lee founded The Career Counter, a platform dedicated to providing busy people, especially moms returning to the workforce, with tools and services tailored to their unique career goals.

    Our Founder has over 20 years of experience helping people like you

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