In today’s hyper-competitive job climate, it’s easy to feel like you’ve got to take whatever opportunities comes along. Factor in the promise of a new title or higher pay, and it’s even harder to say “no.” But as Susan Price writes in “6 Reasons to Turn Down a Job Offer,” a thoughtful piece for U.S. News & World Report, it’s possible to use clues that surface during an interview to decide whether an opportunity is actually worth exploring. Read on for Price’s expert tips on when it’s OK to say take a pass.
1. The Interviewer Is Late — According to Price, you can cut the interviewer a little slack, and if he or she is a few minutes late, it’s probably not a big deal. If the person rolls in 20 minutes or a half-hour late, though, and doesn’t apologize or seem overly bothered by the tardiness, it’s a sign there’s something strange afoot at the company. The staff may be overworked, and they certainly don’t value your time.
2. They Don’t Know Your Story — In theory, you’ve been called in for an interview because the company has read your resume, and someone thinks you might be a good fit for the job. If, during the interview, you get the sense that no one has actually read over your resume, that’s a big problem. As Price explains, they’re either not fully invested in making a new hire, or they’re “desperate” to get a warm body into that vacant desk chair. Either way: red flag.
3. The Position Is Unclear — Before you accept a job, you should know exactly what you’re getting into. That means responsibilities and performance benchmarks, and if the company can’t outline these types of things, it doesn’t bode well for your employment. Sometimes, Price explains, a company will like someone’s resume, decide to hire him or her, and then figure out the specifics of the job later on. Here, you run the risk of landing a job you’re not really suited for.
4. The Interviewer Is Busy Checking Email — Imagine if you were to check your email during an interview. It’d seem extremely rude, right? Same goes for the person on the other end of the desk. On the bright side, Price points out, an interviewer who checks email probably isn’t interested in hiring you, so it likely means you’re dodging a bullet, and that you won’t have to go work in a place where such a thing is deemed acceptable.
5. There’s High Turnover — During your interview, ask what happened to the last person with the job. And if you get to chat with others on the team, get a sense of how long they’ve been there, and whether there’s a lot of turnover. A revolving door might signal “toxic workplace” — an overbearing boss, say, or bad company culture.
6. Negativity Abounds — Should the interviewer talk smack about the person you’re replacing or about the company in general, it’s another sign of a toxic environment. Similarly, if you read phrases like “lacking vision” on online job-review sites, it suggests people aren’t leaving on good terms. Do you really want to be the next disgruntled ex-employee?