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What if You Don't Want to Accept the Job Offer?

Here is an issue we have not yet addressed in our blog: you apply for a position that looks promising but during the interview process realize that it isn't a good fit. What should you do?


Use the Interview for Your Own Evaluation


First, let's discuss how you determine if the position is a good fit. You don't want to blindly accept a job only to realize a few weeks or months later that you made a poor choice. Should that happen, you will face a tough decision: stick with the role so you don't appear to be job hopping, or re-enter the job search process and be prepared to explain why you didn't last in your most recent position. It is best to avoid this situation.


Revision Resume highly recommends you use the interview as a way to gain the information you need to make the right decision for you. Job seekers often mistakenly think that the interview is only for the business to determine if they should offer you the position. The truth is the interview is for the job candidate as well.


Job Candidate asking questions at an interview

By attending the interview prepared with your own questions, you can learn a lot of details that you might otherwise not know. You may find some red flags of your own. Consider the following questions that might help you determine if the position would be a good fit for your personality and work style:

  • How does the team function? Is the environment collaborative or do people try to knock each other down for their own benefit?

  • Are there opportunities for further education?

  • How does the company review employees? How do they define metrics of success?

  • Is growth potential possible with this role?

  • How does the business handle work/life balance?

  • What is the preferred communication method? Meetings, emails, phone calls?

  • Are you expected to be available 24/7, or is work conducted only during business hours?

  • What are the benefits offered to employees? When do they take effect?

  • What is the vacation policy? Does it have to accrue or do you earn it immediately?

  • How is sick time handled?


Do You Still Send a Value Proposition Letter After the Interview?


If the answers to the questions you asked at the interview cause you to conclude that this job is not the right match, you may wonder if you can just ghost the business. Often, hiring managers don't follow up with those that they haven't selected for a job, so why should you follow up if you don't plan to accept the position anyway?


Revision Resume suggests you still conduct yourself in a professional way and demonstrate manners. Sending a note of thanks is simply the right thing to do, regardless of if that same treatment would be applied to you.


We recommend you still send a value proposition letter after the interview. Keep in mind that the interviewer did sacrifice their own time to interview you. It is common courtesy to show gratitude. You do not need to provide a lengthy letter, and you do not need to continue to advocate for yourself or express interest in the position. Just keep it short by saying thank you and perhaps point out something you enjoyed about the interview, or an area you had in common.


How to Turn Down the Job Offer

If you end up being offered the position, you should be professional when you turn it down. Don't expound on the reasons you didn't like the business. Instead provide a brief explanation. Be honest, but don't provide any more detail than necessary. Consider the following examples:


  • If the salary was not what you expected, you can state that.

  • If you have decided to accept a different position, simply mention that you have accepted a job from a different company.

  • If you are opting to stay unemployed over taking this role due to the red flags raised at the interview, keep it simple by saying the role isn't the right fit for you at this time or it doesn't align with your current career goals.

  • In any situation, you do not need to go into a detailed explanation of the ways in which this job felt wrong.


Again, it is worthwhile thanking the hiring manager for their time and for considering you for the role. Being polite is always good practice, and may even pay off in the future should you encounter this same hiring manager for a different position.


It can be difficult to conclude that you don't want to accept a job that has been offered to you. However, we have heard many stories of regret where job candidates overlooked clear red flags and accepted the offer anyway. When the issues became too much to ignore, they were back to searching for a new job. Be sure to evaluate the position by asking targeted questions during the interview. And, if you decide the role is not a good match, politely decline it while still demonstrating appropriate manners.


Need assistance with your job search? Revision Resume is here to help those in Rochester NY and beyond. Contact us for information.




Related Reading:

Offered a Job? Evaluate the Following Before Accepting

While the Economy Seems to be Speeding Up, You Should Consider Slowing Down

Choosing Your First Job? Consider More than just Pay


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