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I Got the Job, but I Don’t Really Know if I Want It

Your phone rings and you recognize the call as coming from the hiring manager who just interviewed you last week. While most people would be excited and quickly answer the phone, you find yourself hesitating and letting the call go to voicemail.   

For some reason you’re not all that eager to speak with the hiring manager – could it be because you’re not really sure if you want to take the job?

If you are out of work and searching for a job you might think that this is dilemma you would love to have.  The reality is that getting an offer for a job that you don’t really want can put you in a difficult position: You don’t really want to take the position, but you don’t know when (or maybe even if) a better opportunity will come along.

The reality is that you are going to have to make choice; either you take the position or you turn it down.  While you are the only person who can decide whether it makes sense to take a job that you are not crazy about, there are some factors you should consider when making your decision.

JFCS Pittsburgh
The handshake is extended, but do you want this job?


What are the Pros and Cons of Taking the Offer?

When evaluating a job offer, one of the best things you can do is to make a list of the pros and cons of the position.  While salary and benefits are likely to be at the top of your list, there are many other considerations. Factors such as the job title, level of responsibility, and the ability to grow professionally may be very important to you.  You may also be concerned about the commuting distance, work environment and company culture. Everyone is different so you need to carefully consider what is most important to you.

Will the Job Open the Door to Better Opportunities?

Many job seekers make the mistake of just looking at the here and now rather than looking to the future.  Consider the long term and whether this job can help get you to where you want to be. Perhaps this is your dream company, just not your dream role. If the position is not at the level you expected, ask yourself whether taking the job will allow you to build the connections and gain the experience you will need to move into a higher position? Alternatively, you may not love the company, but it might be a good place to develop critical skills and competencies that will make you more marketable down the road.

Can You Really Afford to Turn the Job Down?

Sometimes you just have to take the job even if it is not what you were looking for.  Unfortunately, bills do not pay themselves, so you may need to accept the offer for the paycheck. This is not always a bad thing, and most job seekers would agree that is easier to find a job when you are working and not worried about how you are going to pay next month’s rent.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that every job provides opportunities to learn new things, so try to focus on the positive while you are positioning yourself for something that is a better fit for you.  

Even if you ultimately decide to turn down the offer, you want to do it in a way that doesn’t slam the door on future opportunities with the employer. While the timing may be off or the position may not be the right fit for you, the “perfect job” could surface down the road so you never want to burn your bridges. If you want to keep the relationship positive, you need to be honest and professional. You might be tempted to avoid a difficult conversation by sending a quick email declining the offer, however you should pick up the phone and call the hiring manager. Let the manager know that you are thrilled to be offered the job but that you cannot accept the position. Be sure to tell the hiring manager how impressed you were with the company and let her know that you would like to keep the door open for future opportunities that might be a good fit when the timing is better.

Evaluating a job offer is a critical part of the job search process. If you are struggling with an offer or are considering making a move to new company or position, the career counselors at JFCS Career Development Center can help.  


Call us today at 412-422-7200 to learn more about how we can assist you with your job searching activities.