6 Signs You Should Turn Down a Job Offer

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Job interview
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Saying “no” to a job offer isn’t always easy, but it’s often the right thing to do for your career.

A new job should be both financially and personally fulfilling. If you’re a job seeker, you may feel thrilled to be offered any position, especially if you’re out of work. Despite your eagerness to work, though, make sure that a job offer represents a good professional move for you.

While pay is important, it shouldn’t be your only consideration. If you take on a job that you dislike, you’ll soon find yourself scanning online job boards in search of a better position.

Making wise career decisions is particularly important for workers over 50, who may have fewer opportunities to find new jobs if things don’t go well. Taking the wrong job can leave them feeling trapped in a position they dislike.

What follows are indications that you should decline a job offer.

1. You can’t afford the relocation costs

Many employers will pay for all or part of your expenses if you need to move to a new community to accept their job offer.

If an employer won’t pay a share of your costs, it may still be the right career move, but you should weigh the cost of moving and finding a new home to rent or buy against what you’ll be earning at your new job.

If you decide to relocate for a job, “10 Ways to Save Money on Moving, and Minimize the Headaches,” by Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson, discusses ways to hold moving costs down.

And, here’s a tax-time heads-up: You can no longer deduct job-related moving expenses on your federal income tax form unless you are an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces who is moving due to a military order regarding a permanent change of station.

2. Housing costs are prohibitively high

When a job requires you to move to a new community, another thing to be aware of is the local cost of housing.

Homeownership is one of the main ways people accumulate wealth over time. If the job doesn’t pay enough to enable you to eventually purchase a home of your own, you may be better off saying, “No.”

Find out if you can negotiate down-payment assistance from your new employer as an incentive to take the job.

3. The benefits just aren’t good enough

When you consider taking a job, it’s a mistake to focus only on how much money you’ll make.

Equally important are the benefits the job offers.

In addition to offering a good retirement plan, such as a 401(k) with matching employer contributions, consider your need for such benefits as flexible work time or paid family leave.

Various benefits are assessed in “7 First-Rate Job Benefits — Besides the Retirement Plan.”

4. The job doesn’t provide a good work-life balance

Working hard at a job can help get you ahead. However, if you find yourself working so much that you have no time for friends, family or hobbies, you won’t be happy with your new job. Eventually, the quality of your work could suffer.

“Although it may sound like a good idea to work excessively to make more money, it could negatively affect your productivity and physical and mental health over long periods of time,” Maria Espinola, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells Money Talks News.

5. You can’t get straight answers

The pay may be good, but if you can’t get straight answers about what your duties will be, what benefits you’ll receive or other important issues, it’s time to look elsewhere.

There are lots of reasons why an employer might not be forthcoming with information about a job. None of them are good.

Perhaps the health and retirement benefits are poor. Perhaps your actual duties will vary greatly from what the job title would lead you to believe. There may be an adversarial relationship between employees and company management.

If your prospective employer isn’t being open with you, don’t accept the position.

6. The turnover rate is too high

One of the red flags to watch out for is an employer’s turnover rate. If workers come and go quickly, there’s probably something wrong. If the last several people who held your job lasted only a year or less, it may be wishful thinking to assume you’ll fare better.

Rapid turnover could mean that a company is going through a period of change, including new leadership, Emily Kikue Frank, a career counselor in Denver, tells Money Talks News. It also could mean that people who get hired simply aren’t finding adequate reasons to stay.

“A high turnover rate at an employer can mean a lot of things, but most of those are not great news for a new employee,” Frank says.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.