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Build Your Career Get the Job

5 Good Reasons to Walk Away from a Job Offer

5 Good Reasons to Walk Away from a Job Offer
Credit: Imilian/Shutterstock

Landing a job offer is always an accomplishment. But not all opportunities are golden — in some instances, you'd be better off walking away and holding out for the next interview.

You might know right away that the job isn't worth it if the hiring manager treated you poorly, or if the job listing didn't match the position he or she described during the interview. But other times it's not so obvious, and you'll need to carefully consider the company and the offer before making a final decision. For job seekers who are on the fence about whether or not they should accept a company's employment offer, here are five signs that the job may not be the right one for you.

The culture or environment isn't what you want

Most job seekers have a picture in their heads of their ideal company culture. This "perfect" environment, whatever it might be, is the kind of place you know you could thrive in, based on your personality and work habits. When you go in for your interview, you should immediately get a feel for the general atmosphere of the company. Does it match up with your expectations?

"When a job offer is accepted, the individual makes a commitment to themselves and to the organization," said Eileen Adler, chief human resources officer at PeopleFluent, a human capital management software company. "Any company that doesn't align with an individual's values and desired culture is going to be a difficult environment for [that person]."

For example, if you want a fast-paced and results-focused environment, and during the interview process, you find that the company doesn't appear to embrace this — i.e., the hiring manager is unprepared for your interview or cancels at the last minute — Adler recommended moving on. She also suggested paying close attention to the energy in the office to pick up on cultural indicators.

"I advise individuals to arrive for the interview early so they can spend time sitting in the lobby, observing how employees interact with each other," Adler told Business News Daily. "What's the office vibe? Do the employees demonstrate pride in their spaces? Are there any signs of fun or celebratory attributes?"

You're unclear on the specifics

A good job posting should give you the basics about a position before you even come in for the interview, and meeting with the hiring manager should only shed more light on what the role entails. If, by the time you receive the offer, you still don't know what you'd be doing, you might want to walk away.

"Clarity on position and role is an important factor ... as it is important to have a defined goal structure in order to be successful at any company," said Erika Kauffman, partner and general manager at 5W Public Relations. "While job descriptions and responsibilities [may] shift based on the strengths and interests of the individual, you should be able to describe your primary job function before you accept a position. If you are not able to succinctly explain your role after the interview process, you should think carefully before accepting."

The job isn't challenging enough

The flip side of not understanding what a job entails is learning enough to know how you'd fare in it. You may find that, based on your previous experience, this opportunity won't allow you to work up to your full potential.

"An individual should accept roles where they feel they can exceed and be successful, learn new skills, develop new networks, and set goals and crush them," Adler said. "If that doesn't seem possible, the person should decline the role."

There's been a lot of turnover

Adler noted that it's important for you to find out why the role you've been offered is open. If you're replacing a previous employee, was that person fired or did he or she quit? How long was he or she with the company? High turnover rates and short tenures could indicate a number of things, including ineffective hiring processes and poor onboarding.

You may also want to find out how individuals talk about their teammates and leadership, and what kinds of problems they are trying to solve within the organization. The answers to these questions will give a sense of the level of sophistication of the company and its workforce, Adler said.

You're just not excited about it

It may sound cliché, but Kauffman advised going with your gut feeling about a new job opportunity. The job probably isn't right for you if you don't feel excited about the opportunity it presents and joining the team within the new organization.

"The grass is not always greener on the other side — if you do not experience chemistry in the interview with your new manager or team members or worse, if you have doubts about working with them, these are things that are unlikely to change once you are part of the team."

If you do ultimately decide to reject a company's offer, check out our advice for turning down a job the right way.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.

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