Saturday, September 8, 2012

Someone Wants To Hire You. Congratulations!? – Part I of 3

 By Mary Salvino

Your focus to date has been all about getting a job and, you say to yourself that at this point in time, any job will do.  Your rent is due, utility companies are threatening to cut off your amenities, your children need braces, the list goes on.  You have spent more than 40 hours per week trying to land a job and now that you have an offer on the table, you are overcome by queasiness. The journey to landing a new job has been stressful and arduous, to say the least.  You don’t really understand why you would ever consider saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” when they just offered you a position, and yet, you are seriously considering turning down the offer. My advice is as follows:
  • If you truly believe that you cannot do a good job, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If your potential boss appears to be extremely difficult even before offing you the job, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If your potential boss appears to lean towards being a micro-manager and you know that kind of supervision makes you uncomfortable, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If you see that the economy and/or your industry appears to on the upswing, i.e. you are getting more calls from people who are interested in having you come in for an interview, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If you have done some research on the company, your potential boss and asked current and former employees about the realities of working for the company and you don’t like what you are reading or hearing, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If your research shows that the position being offered seems to show up again on a regular basis, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If your research indicates that the company’s mission, vision and values do not align with your personal standards for ethics or morality, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • If you know that you are going to hate the work, it’s time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Before you accept the job offer or walk away, it is critical that you consider the following:
Have you been realistic about your prospects?

Unfortunately, most job searches do not follow an orderly process that lets you compare several offers at once. It is more likely that you will receive your first offer when you are still interviewing with or have just sent your résumé to other prospective employers. It is best that you remain ‘sane’ and strive not to compare the offer in hand to fantastical, theoretical possibilities. You need to be realistic about what is likely to come down the line.  Look at the applications you have under way and reasonably assess which ones are likely to result in, at the very least, an invitation to participate in an interview and ultimately, an offer. Take the time to compare the offer in hand against a wish list of what you really want in any job. 

Open your mind to the reality that sometimes good enough will have to do and to let go of the idea that there might be something perfect out there.  You may also want to cross off a majority of things on your ‘like-to-have’ list as well as settle for fewer things if the position offers something else: a stronger résumé, the opportunity to learn new skills, or access to an organization with which you would like to work at for the long-term. 

What if you really need the job?
In a tough job market, it's easy to overvalue an offer. You need to be wary of the "rose-tinted spectacles" you might be wearing if you have been unemployed or have been searching for a new job for a long period of time. Instead of talking yourself into something, explore other alternatives like accepting the job for a short-term period, say six to nine months, while you look elsewhere. If that's not possible and you really need the job, know the risks.

Know that there is a cost to switching jobs and/or taking short-term jobs when you are looking for long-term opportunities. Not only do you need to think about what job jumping does to your family, job jumping will also have an effect on your relationships with your clients, your network and future prospects. You also need to think about what kind of an investment an employer is making in you and how disruptive it will be if you leave.  Don’t be surprised if you run up against future employers and hiring consultants who will look down upon too many changes in jobs in short periods of time.

Points to ponder:
  • Be honest with yourself about your requirements
  • In the long-run, it is always best to turn down offers that just aren’t right
  • Time is everyone’s most valuable commodity.  Time is also a terrible thing to waste.  Use it and/or spend it wisely.

Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. This blog is also dedicated to those who stand a little taller each time they picked themselves up after failing and those who gained the wisdom and humility from those experiences to help others do the same. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at