When to Say No to a Job Offer


After endless résumés, countless cover letters, and interminable interviews, the fall final comes: you’ve been offered the position. Getting a job offer is an achievement to be celebrated, but not automatically accepted. Once you have a formal, written job offer, it’s important to spend some time in reflection. Here are three questions to help you evaluate the decision:

  1. Does it align with my career goals? Particularly if you are not currently employed, it’s natural to jump at the first job offer that comes your way. Remind yourself of where you want to be in 5, 10, and 15 years and ask how this position could fit in with that picture.

  2. What are the trade-offs? Few jobs are everything we want and nothing we don’t want. Each position will offer benefits and entail drawbacks. Being honest about what the disadvantages are allows you to consider strategically if the advantages are worth it.

  3. What do my confidants think? Don’t make this decision in isolation. The perspective of a partner or trusted colleague will give you insight you might otherwise miss.

What criteria has guided you in accepting—or rejecting—a job offer? Share your thoughts on social media.

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