What are good reasons to turn down a job offer?

December 18, 2022
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December 18, 2022 Terkel

What are good reasons to turn down a job offer?

From meeting a hellish interviewer to choosing to travel over Google, here are the 10 answers to the question, “Have you ever turned down an excellent job offer? What’s the story?”

  • The Interviewer from Hell
  • Chose Not to Relocate
  • Against My Code of Ethics
  • Taking a Step Back Can Be Good
  • I’m an Entrepreneur at Heart
  • Surprised By My Current Employer
  • Switched From Internship to Overseas
  • Lack of Defined Deliverables and Performance KPIs
  • Too Many Unknowns
  • Turned Down a Job at Google to Go Traveling

The Interviewer From Hell

How could I accept a great job offer from a future nightmare boss? Earlier in my career, I interviewed to work for an executive at a small company. During the interview, he brought up how the company was about to move offices and asked me how I would arrange the office move, step by step. I explained how I would call around for moving company quotes, and he cut me off there, then repeated his question. He clearly wanted a different answer, leading me to what he wanted me to say—that I should call up a couple of my buddies and take care of moving the furniture myself, all as a part of this job! I get that at a small company you wear many hats, but this was one hat too many to be worth accepting the position.

Trey Ferro , CEO, Spot Pet Insurance

Chose Not to Relocate

I recently received a job offer that had all the things I desired: above-competitive pay, significant benefits, and an excellent work-life balance. However, after much reflection, I ultimately turned it down.

The job was in another city where I didn’t have a strong personal connection and wasn’t comfortable moving away from my family and friends. Although it was an attractive opportunity, I eventually concluded that it wasn’t worth leaving my current location for.

Although never a simple decision to make, ‌weighing the pros and cons showed that turning down the job worked best for me overall.

Jim Campbell , CEO, Campbell Online Media

Against My Code of Ethics

This was mainly because of spiritual concerns. I found it difficult to engage myself in a job that helps students cheat in their exams.

It was a substantial offer from a client. I would have to write them papers, do their quizzes for them, final exams, and also final papers. I declined the job because, as a Christian, I just couldn’t take part in a scheme for a student to get a degree they were not worth holding.

Lydia Mwangi , Content Writer, Barbell Jobs

Taking a Step Back Can Be Good

There I was, searching for my next gig. I had applied to several companies, all going through extensive change and looking for someone to lead it. Lo-and-behold, I received three job offers, all on the same day.

Each one had its pros and cons. One offered the highest salary, another provided great experience in the shortest amount of time, and the third paid significantly less than I was making at the time and would last for the longest.

I took time to consider all three, and I ended up choosing the lowest-paying option with the longest contract. People thought I was nuts. However, I saw it differently. I saw that opportunity as something that would open doors for me. I saw it as taking one step back in order to take two steps forward.

Like anything else, it was a leap of faith. However, it turned out just as I had hoped. Thereafter, I was recruited for all jobs that followed and nearly doubled my salary. Sometimes “fantastic” today doesn’t mean better in the long run.

Kate DeGon , Founder & CEO, ChangeSync

I’m an Entrepreneur at Heart

I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for a long time and this, ironically, means I get plenty of job offers, despite running a slew of my own businesses.

People will fling consulting and vice president roles at you like they’re going out of fashion, simply because your company has solved a major pain point for them and they’d like to solidify the relationship by bringing you in-house.

Over the years, I’ve received more than my fair share of these, many of them quite attractive and probably ultimately more lucrative than the business turned out to be. That said, here I am years later running a few more businesses with my business partner (and also my husband) simply because I have much more value in being an entrepreneur than the best job offer.

Kate Kandefer , CEO, SEOwind

Surprised By My Current Employer

I turned down a fantastic six-figure job offer in a blue chip company sometime back. Truth be told, I do not regret my decision.

I get multiple offers for new positions every day since I specialize in a field with a limited talent pool. I already work in a great company that allows me to reject offers as kindly as possible.

A recruiter reached out to me via LinkedIn and used the most ideal recruitment process that I only thought was hypothetical. He ensured he gathered all the information about me and emphasized my preferences. The recruiter played his cards well to where I started contemplating my position in my current role.

I was ready to leave my current employer; I even notified them I would quit. Instead of things going south, my employer read into my frustration of feeling stagnant and a desire to find a new challenge and promoted me into a new role that ticked all my preferences. That was my turning point.

Yongming Song , CEO, Live Poll for Slides

Switched From Internship to Overseas

I turned down an offer to work for Tenaris, the best company in Argentina when I was about to graduate with my Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering.

I turned it down because I wanted to do an internship in the Czech Republic over the winter there. That experience turned out to be great. I improved my English skills which ended up being decisive for my future career, and I got to visit 13 countries during my stay in Europe!

Luciano Colos , Founder & CEO, PitchGrade

Lack of Defined Deliverables and Performance KPIs

Many job seekers focus only on the financial attractiveness of a position. Often, this exaggerated focus pushes other supposedly critical considerations like work structure, performance evaluation, and job sustainability into the background.I once had a financially exciting offer from a client. But there was a disguised red flag: the client was not definitive with KPIs and parameters for evaluating deliveries.Being that I am equally concerned with client satisfaction as the dollar wads, I envisaged I would struggle to honestly satisfy a client who wasn’t clear about what they wanted.Also, the sustainability of the offer being a long-term project was equally questionable. Yes, the client oozed excitement over the project at the start and was eager to pour big money into it, but how sustainable would their enthusiasm (and financial commitment) be in an unclear project?So I turned down the offer—however, sadly.

Lotus Felix , CEO, Lotusbrains Studio

Too Many Unknowns

I’ve turned down a job offer where the money was great, and the flexibility was appealing. However, the company was very young, and I would have been employee number three.

I would have had to put a significant amount of faith in someone I had just met and trust that the company was going to grow in the right way. In the end, the perks did not outweigh the risks.

Kelli Anderson , Career Coach, Resume Seed

Turned Down a Job at Google to Go Traveling

Yes—much earlier in my career, I turned down a fairly big job at Google. I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing for me at the time, and I didn’t want to regret not taking the opportunity later on.

In the end, it worked out well because I went traveling around Europe instead for several months, and that was something I don’t think I’d have had the chance to do later on. I ended up picking up a great job that thrilled me, so I have no regrets about turning Google down!

Paul Smith , CEO, BeastCopy

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