Don’t Take that Job! – Career Coach MJV
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Don’t Take that Job!

An image of some red risk dice

Every day I work with candidates as they seek out, interview for and finally accept a job offer. Sometimes they take the wrong offer because it is the one they got rather than hold out for the right offer. It can be very difficult to say “no” to a bird in the hand; after all, it is an affirmation that someone wants us.  

Here are five situations when taking an offer can backfire:

  1. The boss is too busy to meet with you. One client spent months chasing down a “great” opportunity at a company that seemed to be everything his current company wasn’t – big, flashy, flush with money, and poised to jump into a hot new market.Try as he might, he could never nail down a meeting with the boss to discuss a couple of key strategic issues.  When the offer finally came through he took it despite never getting that meeting with the boss. Once on the job he was tossed into a huge project, one the boss never had time to discuss. A year later the project imploded and he is looking for a new job.  Consider how your boss behaves before the offer a sign of what is to come.

  2. You jump through all the interview hoops; the job is a great fit for your skills. And then the offer comes in well below market rate; the hiring manager is unwilling or unable to negotiate.  You are tempted to take the offer, do a great job and hope for the best when your annual review comes around.If the company isn’t willing to pay market rate now, what makes you think things will be any different a year from now? Next year you will be at a greater disadvantage as wages at other companies go up and your pay stagnates.  Save yourself a lot of heartache, pass on the opportunity; something better is around the corner.

  3. Your future boss fails the leader test. The most egregious example I’ve encountered in recent years was when a senior executive told a candidate, “If I make a mistake, you get to take the blame.” While this seemed to be a big red flag to me, the candidate was so enamored with organization that he naively glossed over the implications of this statement and accepted the position.  Within months he was looking for the exit.
  4. Your manager is intimated by your expertise.  You might think this is a good sign, but in the long run your boss will find a way to drive you out of the organization so he doesn’t look bad. Don’t take the offer, head for the hills. Look for a manager who is excited about bringing an A-plus candidate onboard because you will make her look smart.
  5. The job isn’t a match for your values. The number one reason people leave jobs, either voluntarily or not, is because it isn’t a good fit.  Surprisingly, it has little to do with skills and everything to do with everything else.  If you can’t bring the best “you” to the job, skip it and look for an opportunity where you can, one that doesn’t compromise your values.

My best advice when considering a job offer, pay attention to the red flags — if you think they won’t matter, you are sadly mistaken.