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When is it okay to turn down a job offer?

job offer

When is it okay to turn down a job offer?

Given how exciting it is to be the successful applicant for a new job, not to mention how much of a relief it is to finally get a job after multiple interviews, it can seem counter-intuitive to turn a job down.

But if you find yourself in a situation where you are considering that it might be in your best interest to turn down a job offer, it’s totally okay.  Here are some scenarios where this may happen:

job offer

Your Philosophies Misalign

Despite the fact that the interview went well, the people were nice, and the job location was ideal, if you find yourself feeling in your gut that the mission and philosophy of the company doesn’t quite align with yours, it may not be as good of a fit as you think.

In order to be able to give 100% to a company and a job, you have to feel committed to them and what they stand for and what they are trying to achieve.

If you don’t, you will find it hard to put your maximum effort into something you don’t agree with, don’t care about, or worse yet, is in complete dissonance with what do agree with.

Before you say yes to a job offer, look into the business’ philosophy and mission and make sure you can get behind them.

The Location Isn’t Right

Sometimes, you can land your dream job, with exactly the company you want to work with and an ideal leadership team, only to have it be far from home.

Having to commute to work is not unusual, but give some serious thought to how far you are willing to commute on a day-to-day basis to get there.

This may be an even more relevant decision if you are taking public transit versus driving yourself, and then you will need to consider the added factor of cost.

At the root of it is both your time and your sanity, so don’t let the lure of an amazing job distort your perception of what it will take to get there, especially once the glow of the new job wears off.

The Pay Doesn’t Work

Most people know the minimum amount they need to make from a job financially to be able to pay their bills and live comfortably.

While there can be some flexibility, if the pay of your prospective job is too low, that is a valid reason to politely decline the offer.

With that in mind, however, if you get the offer and the current proposed salary isn’t sufficient, make sure you bring this up with the hiring manager and see if your pay can be negotiated.

Many companies will be open to this, especially in the initial hiring stages – you just have to ask!


While nobody wants to turn down an offer for a job they think they would love, it’s critical not to simply settle for a job and let the things that are important to you fall to the wayside.  Go into the interview knowing what your standards and expectations are, and if you don’t think those will be met, be prepared to politely decline and keep looking for a job that will be the perfect fit.