Professional Development

Can declining a job offer elevate your career?


Imagine going through the grueling process of creating your resume, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, applying to dozens of jobs, and going on a handful of interviews to finally be offered the job – only to turn it down! Are you insane? Why would anyone ever decline a job offer after going through all this? Maybe the salary wasn’t up to par. Perhaps the vacation time didn’t start for a year after you began. You may have found during the lengthy interview process that you just weren’t feeling the company’s culture. You may have even accepted a better job offer. But is it bad to decline offers? Will this hurt your career? Not necessarily. Rejecting a job offer may actually help elevate your career.

Sharpens your negotiation skills

One of the main reasons candidates turn down job offers is due to salary discrepancies. Unfortunately, you really can’t discuss how much you’ll be paid during your first interview before any job offer was extended. You may have only seen a salary range from the job description or perhaps no salary was listed at all.

You went on the company’s multiple interview process expecting to make a certain amount but ended up being offered much less. Now is the perfect opportunity to negotiate your salary! Negotiating your salary is something that can improve your career and forces you to know what you’re worth in your industry. Knowing how to negotiate your salary during the interview will benefit you when you’re up for a promotion and want to negotiate your raise.

Improves your interview skills

Turning down a job offer opens you up to interview at other places. Regardless of the rapid expansion of technology today, interviewing is a skill that isn’t going away anytime soon. Knowing how to effectively speak with different types of employers, who all have their own unique methods, will significantly increase your confidence and make you comfortable with the process. As a bonus, the more interviewing you do will not only make you a better interviewee with other companies but will make you a better interviewer if you’re a manager and need to recruit new talent.

Leaves the door open for better opportunities

In today’s digital world with companies and job boards regularly posting positions online, there are always opportunities out there, even during recessions. It’s not uncommon for professionals and executives to routinely go on interviews just to get a feel for what’s out there. They may initially have no intention of accepting the job offer if extended, but just seeking better opportunities and feeling the pulse of the current job market in their industry is invaluable.

Makes you a more attractive candidate

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article that showed interest from one company can serve as a leverage point or negotiation for another company. This is especially true when you’re in a specialized field with a select number of qualified candidates. I once worked as an executive recruiter where there was a frenzy in search of plastic injection molding engineers. These specialists were very difficult to find, and many companies were competing with one another to try and hire them. The plastic injection molding engineers would routinely decline offers, which only made them more appealing. Talk about a specialized field with a small talent pool!

Teaches you how to say “no”

Learning how to say no is an often-underrated but invaluable skill. Many CEO’s and top-level executives attend leadership training sessions to learn how to strategically say “no,” which has shown to enhance their abilities to work more efficiently since they’re constantly bombarded with proposals.

One thing that’s essential when declining a job offer and saying “no” is to respond quickly to the job offer and be honest and polite. People will respect your honesty because it requires a lot of courage and takes responsibility. Learning to say no will sharpen your focus and keep you from making unnecessary mistakes because you may have been too polite to just say “no.”

In the end, if you have any doubts about a position, then it clearly wasn’t meant to be. You’ll feel better knowing you made the right decision and that your gut was telling you the offer just wasn’t right. This newfound attitude will allow you to go after the job you’ve always wanted and push you to elevate your career goals. Being decisive and not regretting your decisions are characteristics of success. Trust your judgment, and you just might be surprised where your career path will take you.

About the Author:
Maria Gold is currently a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. When Maria is not working, she enjoys reading and spending quality time with her family.

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