Man in a suit with his back to the camera running away, probably from a terrible job offer
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7 signs you should run away from a job offer

26 Jul 2018

It’s a great feeling when you get a job offer, but not all offers are equal and there could be a very good reason to turn one down.

When you’re looking for a new job, getting through the interview process and being offered the role can be a dizzyingly proud moment for you.

But, just because you are the company’s selected person, that doesn’t mean you should feel obliged to take the job.

Indeed, before you even consider accepting a job offer, there are a few questions you should ask to ensure you get your ducks in a row, even if this is your dream role.

There are also a few solid reasons you ought to turn a job offer down altogether and run for the hills. How do you know what these reasons are before it’s too late? Watch out for these warning signs.

Bad interview etiquette

Once you’ve been called for an interview, the way the company leaders conduct themselves during the interview process is a good way to ascertain what they might be like to work for.

Did they keep you waiting without an apology, or switch your interview day around without much notice?

It may seem an irrelevant part of the job you’re interviewing for, but how they treat you and respect your time at this point paints a picture of how they are likely to treat you after you accept the offer.

Vague answers for easy questions

What are your working hours? Do you have to work weekends and if so, how often? What is the salary? Do you get overtime if you work late?

These are straightforward questions but if the employer or recruiter dances vaguely around them, alarm bells should be going off in your head.

Usually, this means that they know the truth is not a good answer and they’re trying to avoid telling you. That could mean they expect you to work way more than what it says on the proverbial tin, or that things can change with the flip of a switch.

They ask for your previous salary

It’s normal to ask what your salary expectations might be for the job offer in front of you. It’s not normal to ask what your current or previous salaries were.

Frankly, it’s none of their business what you were previously earning, and it might be a tactic for them to see if they can low-ball you with a marginal increase.

The job itself should dictate the salary range and your experience might put you at the higher end or even above that range. Your previous salary is completely irrelevant and therefore not something they need to know.

Conflicting job descriptions

You’ve read the job description and they probably gave you a rundown of the role again during the interview.

However, it’s hard to know what exactly your job will entail if the information you receive conflicts with what you were previously told.

All jobs evolve, of course, and there can often be a ‘catch-all’ line that involves undisclosed other duties, but it’s important to make sure you know what those duties are and if your role will be vastly different to what you signed up for.

A boss that comes with a warning

Once a recruiter has asked you everything they need to know about you, it’s time for you to find out more about the company itself.

They’ll probably tell you all about the culture and the team you’ll be working with as well as the boss. Here’s where it’s time for your ears to prick up.

Occasionally, a recruiter might casually mention that the boss is a bit eccentric or not the kind of boss you might be expecting. While this can be a good thing, any job that needs to come with an advanced warning about what the boss is like just to prepare you might be a sign to turn on your heel.

It can’t be any worse, right?

If you have a job offer, there’s a good chance that you applied for it because you were looking for other opportunities. Be sure to examine closely what those reasons really were.

If your motive is full of a strong desire to get out of the place you are at the moment, you might overlook some of the above alarm bells and other such signals that are telling you to tread carefully.

Make sure you’re looking at the job offer in front of you without being swayed by sheer hope that it must be better than where you are coming from.

Trust your gut

Ultimately, your gut feeling is a very strong instinct you have and it’s almost never something you should ignore.

If your gut is telling you something is amiss about a particular job offer, it probably is. So, find out what you need to know, clarify any worries you have and if it still feels off, run in the other direction.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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