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6 Reasons To Turn Down A Job Offer

April 13th, 2011 · 1 Comment

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turn down job offerIf you are a new graduate, recent graduate, or anyone else who is actively looking for work, it’s difficult to imagine any situation where you would turn down a job offer. However, it’s not that unlikely that you may be faced with this situation. I have met employers who take advantage of new graduates and Entry Level Job seekers as they don’t have the experience to know a good deal from a bad (but well disguised) deal.

Given today’s economy, it is extremely difficult to turn down an offer of any kind. That being said, you want to avoid putting yourself in a bad situation.

So here are my 6 reasons for turning down a job offer:

  1. Insufficient Funds: This is usually the big one. Before you get into salary discussions, you need to have a good idea of the salary/wage that you need to live on. Whatever happens, if you aren’t offered enough to live on, the job makes little sense. If this is you, try to discuss your situation with the employer to see if there is some wiggle room for an increased salary. If there is, you will end up with an improved deal. If not, you probably saved yourself from a bad situation. I ran into this when I was looking for my second job. The company I was interviewing with was offering me less than I was previously making because they knew I was in a bad situation. The worst part was, they weren’t willing to budge. Ultimately, I turned down the offer.
  2. Commission Structure: One of the things that pains me most is to see a company offer a new graduate a deal where they are paid almost solely on commission. I came across this when I met the “photocopier guy”. His job was to go around to companies and sell photocopiers. His pay was based solely on commission. If he didn’t sell any photocopiers, he didn’t get paid. Needless to say, he wasn’t very happy. Don’t get yourself into this situation.
  3. Last Minute Changes: If an employer tries to change the agreed-upon deal right before you accept, this is often a bad sign – especially if it involves money. If you are initially offered certain salary, vacation, or benefits, and the deal decreases in value before signing (often accompanied with some story about financial duress) then you should stay away and reject the offer.
  4. Better offer: Every once and a while this will come up. Occasionally, when interviewing for different jobs, you may have an offer come in from another company that is better than your current offer. You may decide to negotiate with the original company, or accept the new offer. Either way, this is a clear sign that the original deal is “stale”.
  5. Bait and Switch: If the company tries to change the job or job description right before you are hired, walk away. I once met a guy who took a software development job, only to find out that they needed system administrator instead. He didn’t find out until later that the job he wanted didn’t exist. Make sure you read the fine print before accepting.
  6. Gut Feeling: Every once and a while, it just doesn’t feel right. If your Spidey-Sense is tingling and you don’t feel good about the company. Walk away. More often than not your gut will lead you in the right direction.

Obviously, it is hard to turn down any type of employment when you need a job. Just be careful to keep your eyes peeled for the warning signs so you don’t get yourself into a bad situation.

This is a guest post. About the author:

Trevor Wilson is an author and consultant who works with new graduates preparing to enter the work force. His site,, provides daily advice on job hunting, networking, and resume writing tailored to the Entry Level Job seeker. His first book, Overcoming Gradversity: How to Break Into the Entry Level Job Market, was published in 2008.

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Tags: Job Applications · Job Offers · Recent Grads

  • Anonymous

    Hi Trevor

    Always trust your gut! I agree with your list especially the last one.

    In my experience while working in recruitment I typically found that job offers got turned down because a better offer came along. Somtimes contract vs fulltime job offers can come into play if you happen to work in IT or other sectors where contract jobs can be popular and often more lucrative.