7 Warning Signs That Mean You Should Reject a Job Offer

Nobody likes job hunting. It’s time-consuming, it’s stressful and it’s frustratingly difficult. For every application made, the chance of getting hired is less than one percent. Unfortunately, working is usually compulsory for those of us who want to indulge in such luxuries as eating and putting a roof over our heads. The result is often enormous pressure to take any role we are offered.

Bad as job hunting is, however, working in a job you hate is infinitely worse. We spent 1/3 of our entire lives working. Whack off another third for sleeping, and having a bad job means that you will be miserable for half of your conscious existence. Worth it? No.

The easiest time to quit an awful job is before you’ve started it. If you saw any of these warning signs while interviewing, do yourself a favour and Just Say No.

They Messed You Around

Perhaps they didn’t respond to your requests for interview details until the morning of. Perhaps they kept you waiting in the foyer for hours without apology or explanation.

Whatever the specifics, if you feel that you and your time weren’t respected then you should reject their offer. Companies only call their best applicants to interview. If they didn’t invest any effort in you that means (a) that they don’t think you’re that good, or, (b) that they treat all their staff with disdain. Neither attitudes are ones you want from your employer.

Your Values Don’t Match

You’re an environmental fanatic, and on the way to the interview room you pass a “paper only” recycling bin overflowing with half-filled coffee cups, banana peels and the remains of a takeaway. Then, midway through the interview, your potential new boss casually mentions what a wonderful, intelligent man he thinks Donald Trump is.

Run. When you’re asked to perform a work task you deem boring or pointless, you can grit your teeth and get on with it. But when you’re asked to do something that conflicts with your ethical values it’s a different story. Save yourself the soul-searching and find a company that see the world in a similar way to yourself.

They Have a Bad Reputation

You wouldn’t book a hotel without checking TripAdvisor. Don’t accept a job offer without a snoop through employer review sites like Indeed and Glassdoor. You’d expect there to be a couple of negative rants about any workplace (nobody can please everybody all the time) but a deluge of one-stars is a pretty big red flag.

Be similarly wary of gushing, over-sycophantic reviews. Even if the employee was genuinely that enthusiastic, every workplace has some negatives, and such a rose-tinted approach won’t allow you to make a balanced, informed decision.

black African American ethnicity tired and frustrated woman working as secretary in stress at work office desk with computer laptop asking for help in business frustration concept

The Receptionist Was Miserable

Okay, maybe he was having a bad day. But then you passed an intern in tears, and the sounds of two colleagues screaming at each other was quite audible through the meeting room walls…

If all the staff seem off, the odds are that this is a horrible place to work. While it’s always possible that some freak event has happened, it’s much more likely that bad management or policies are making staff miserable. Unless you want to join them, stay clear.

They’re Too Keen

There’s a difference between enthusiasm for a candidate and desperation for any candidate. If they barely interview you, don’t check your qualifications, don’t ask for references, and badger you insistently to take the offer without giving you chance to think about it, then something fishy is going on.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of wondering why a company wouldn’t want to make sure you’re not an axe murderer before letting you into their office.

You Disliked the Hiring Manager

Usually, the person who hires you will end up being your boss. If you disliked them from the first moment you met, consider carefully how much worse it’s going to get when you must take orders from them and spend large portions of your time in their company.

Personality clashes tend to get worse over time. And if the reason for your dislike was because you witnessed them do something disrespectful, creepy, or downright offensive, then don’t debase your dignity by working for that sort of individual.

They Can’t Give Clear Answers to Your Questions

If a candidate showed up to a job interview without a clue about the role he was applying for, he’d quickly be shown the door. The same is true of the interviewer. If they can’t give you concrete information about how you would spend your day or how the business works then either they’re clueless about their own company (bad) or they’re deliberately trying to mislead you (worse).

Either way, never sign up for a job when you’re not 100% sure what it’s going to entail.


Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate job London listings for roles. Or; if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.