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Job offer: Do you automatically accept?

You aced the interview and get the call. You’ve been offered the role. Do you accept in on the spot?

While you might feel obliged to do so, you don’t have to accept the offer right away (or, indeed, at all). Most employers understand you might need time to think about the offer. Thank them and let them know you’re interested. Be clear that you’ll get back to them and by when.

Before making your final decision, consider these questions. If you decided to refuse, do so professionally (see tips on how to do this at the end of this article).

What does your gut tell you?

If you’re thrilled when that call comes in—indeed, over the moon—then it could be that this IS YOUR JOB. If, however, you have a sense of unease or don’t get that adrenalin rush, take time to think.

Is the culture right?

Culture is important. If you’re process-driven and the job is creative, then the workplace might not be the right fit. If you’re creative, but the job is systematised, then it might not be the right fit. You don’t want to end up unhappy.

Did you click with those who interviewed you?

If you left your interview feeling good about your performance but no so hot about those who interviewed you, this might be a flag that the job isn’t the best one. After all, you’ll want a great relationship with those you work with.

Will the job help you learn and grow?

For many, a deciding factor in accepting a job is fresh opportunity. This can include new ways to learn, grow and even get yourself ready for a pay rise or new horizons.

Read more:

Time to dive into a career change?

How to climb the career ladder

Feel you have no choice?

If you feel you have to take the job because the market is tight, think twice. There will be other opportunities. Talk to your recruiter (if you’re working through one) about your feelings.

Does the workplace align with your values and priorities?

When a job fits your values and priorities it will be more rewarding. You won’t want to hate the place you work for because it goes against your grain.

Read more:

Company culture: What you need to know

Is the money right?

While money isn’t the only reason to take a job, it’s still important. If you’re looking for a healthy pay hike and the job offer doesn’t provide this, you may end up resenting taking the job.

Read more:

Job or career. Which do you have?

Cultural fit or more money in your next job?

Are the working hours right?

If you’ve landed a job but the hours aren’t what you were expecting, you may want to hang on for another position. This is especially so if the hours will affect your home life, social life and/or ability to pursue other interests.

Are the benefits/perks what you want?

Employees are motivated by a range of work perks and benefits (besides money). What motivates you? Does this job make the grade?

Does the job align with your strengths?

Sometimes it’s good to take a job to challenge yourself. However, if you veer too far from your strengths, you might find yourself stressed out.

How to refuse a job professionally

Don’t burn your bridges by turning down a job in an unprofessional way. While you might not feel comfortable calling an employer who has made you their top pick to refuse a position, it’s important to do it professionally, to protect your reputation.

Here are our top tips:

  1. Be prompt

Don’t leave the employer hanging. Ask to consider the situation (overnight to two days maximum) and then call them back when you say you will. If you’re offered a role on a Friday, say you’ll call on Monday.

  1. Prepare your response

Don’t call to refuse a job and find yourself at a loss for words. Prepare a script in advance, without going into too much detail. Practice so you explain with confidence (but don’t memorise or you’ll sound stiff and unnatural).

Thank the employer for their time. Let them know that you’ve seriously considered the offer but don’t believe this is the right role for you.

  1. Close off nicely

Finish the conversation by wishing the employer all the best with their recruitment process.

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