How To Say “No” To Your Next Job Offer

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unknownMost of focus on what questions we will ask when a new job offer is extended. We fantasize about the salary, the company or the office space. We focus on the vacation time, holidays, benefits and employee perks. Maybe you want to know how long it will take for you to move up the ladder, or maybe you are a seasoned executive concerned about the reporting structure and organizational chart. Whatever your station in the job offer chain is, you might not think of what you will say when you actually don’t want the job.

Most of you might think, “Well, that’s easy, I’d just say No!” Yet, when confronted with an offer, even a good offer, you may start to have second thoughts. It’s okay to process your feelings and concerns about accepting an offer that may or may not hold all that you desire. No one said you have to marry the first person that asks you. Same rule applies when you receive a job offer, you don’t have to accept the first one. You may be feeling pressure in your personal life to accept any job just to keep working and that’s ok. You are the only one who knows what is best for you and what will make sense financially and with your career choices.

When you are given a job offer that otherwise sounds too good to be true and something is telling you it does not sound right, when do you walk away?   Remember there are two-sides to every job offer. There is the giver and then there is the receiver. You can guess which role you play but you need to know how to play your part. When you still have questions about the job you are considering and you are far down the interview road, when is the right time to turn back? Just like with any relationship, you need to know when and how to deliver the message that, “I’m just not that into you.”

For some people this is not a difficult challenge. If you are comfortable assessing your options quickly and can easily weigh the pros and cons of a situation, then you are better at moving through the process of deliberation and coming to a quick conclusion. However, most of you don’t know when it’s time to pull out of the race and find yourself going further down the finish line than originally intended. This is where it can get difficult to say that you don’t want to take the process any further.

Keep in mind there are two players in this dance, you and your prospective boss or employer. Think of how you would feel if they got you all the way to the reference point only to tell you they’ve had a change of heart and decided not to move forward with little or not explanation-yes believe it or not it does happen. So if the shoe were on the proverbial other foot, how do you think your prospective new boss feels if you suddenly and far into the offer stage, decide you don’t want to go any further?

When you are faced with an opportunity that no longer feels right, it’s wise to cut ties before you get to the reference checking or salary negotiation process. Once you reach this point in the process you better be pretty sure you want the job especially if all other factors in the offer line up. The easiest way to avoid an uncomfortable situation is to be clear and transparent all the way through the process. If you think by playing your cards close to the vest is safe, guess again. No one appreciates that and it makes you appear cagey and deceptive. If any part of the offer is not to your liking speaking up immediately and stating your position, whether it’s how much in relocation you would receive, what your benefits or vacation might look like or who you ultimately will report to, is key in the offer process.

Sometimes there is no predicting when and how an offer will go south. Being clear on your expectations up front will help take the guesswork out for the recruiter or employer and ensure you are both on the same page when it comes to extending and accepting a job offer.

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