We talk a lot about what you can do to secure graduate employment, and the steps you should be taking early on at university to stand out; but what happens when you’re offered a job and it’s not right for you?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might be aware the current job market is pretty competitive. So, some of you may be ready to jump at the first position you’re offered with fear of struggling to secure something else later down the track. But, if it doesn’t “fit” you can say no, and continue to search for something more in-line with your career goals.
That feeling in your gut
It often happens half way through an interview with a prospective employer – you’ll get a nagging feeling inside your belly that says, this isn’t the company I want to work for. If you leave the interview with mixed feelings, you’ll know it may not right. So, trust your gut.
How to know if it’s not the right job
There could be many factors:
- You didn’t vibe with the employer – meaning your personalities, style or approach didn’t match
- You’re looking for a work-life balance, but the employer has mentioned the role requires you to work over-time or on weekends
- The salary is below industry average and they’re not willing to budge for your experience or unique skill-set
- The interviewer shows little respect, professionalism or interest when conducting the interview – you know it’s not the organisation you’re looking for when the manager doesn’t prepare questions to ask you, answers calls during the interview, and welcomes other colleagues into the room to talk whilst your trying to pitch yourself
- When the interviewer is unsure of the role responsibilities – this often means there’s no career ladder to move up and there is no room for growth
- The offer comes in too soon and you can’t leave your current role – an employer who wants you to jump ship within 24 hours doesn’t respect your loyalty and is a red flag in itself
- The job seems to nothing like the actual position that you applied for in the first place
- And the list goes on…
We spend a lot of our lives at work
With the expected retirement age set to reach 70 by 2035, you’d better love what you do; or be prepared to be miserable for a long time. In this case, sometimes quantifiable factors like benefits are important, but other factors like workplace culture, management support or producing meaningful work can outweigh high salaries.
You can turn down the offer
It’s a really difficult decision to make, but turning down a job offer could in fact lead you to bigger and better opportunities. Although this position might not be right for you, there might be other roles within the organisation that you’re better suited for. Consider asking the employer about other roles more in-line with your career goals. Alternatively, hop back online and continue searching.
A privileged circumstance
Not everyone has the ability to turn down a job offer – we understand this. And, the perfect job that fulfils every item on your wish-list rarely exists. But, if you can look ahead and see the job won’t provide you with the opportunity to grow your skill-set, then don’t take it just as a “filler” job that might stagnate your career. Time is precious – so use it wisely.
Evaluate your options and provide an answer
If you’re in a comfortable position financially, or living at home, and could go a few months without work, consider if saying no would put you in a better position later down the track. If so, declining the job is as simple as calling or writing to the employer to say thank you for the opportunity, but unfortunately the role didn’t align with your career goals, and you wish them luck whilst searching for a candidate to fill the role.
Like we said, it’s often at interview where you begin to question if the job is right for you. If you’d like to find out more about interview techniques and the questions to ask that will let you make an informed decision, we’ve got some faculty specific interview workshops coming up.