You’ve been busily applying for jobs and attending interviews in the hope you will land a great role. Well, you have landed a job, but it’s not the one you want. Do you accept the position or do you decline?

There are a number of factors that will come into play when determining whether to accept or reject a job offer. For example, are you employed and financially stable? If you are simply looking to move on from a position that no longer satisfies you, why would you trade it for another that you know you won’t love? Unless circumstances have become untenable at your current place of employment, simply decline the offer and keep looking. It does raise another question for you though, why did you apply for the position if you knew that it wouldn’t satisfy your employment needs?

It is easy to find yourself applying for every job under the sun if you are unemployed or desperately seeking an exit from your current place of employment. Yet if you do not take the time to identify your core job needs, you increase the likelihood that you will be offered a role that doesn’t excite you. You must take the time to determine what your non-negotiables are when it comes to your career. Perhaps geography, company size, culture or career opportunities rate highly on your list of employment priorities. Perhaps you’re not fussed about a long commute or a lesser salary so long as you have access to great training and development opportunities. Maybe you want to be a part of a new start up business as making a difference early in the company’s life excites you.

Accepting a job that you really don’t want comes with both risks and benefits. Perhaps the job role doesn’t meet any of your key career needs, but it will pay the mortgage. Maybe the job won’t challenge you and allow you to reach your full potential, but the company is highly reputable and will open doors for you if you can just stick it out for a year or two. Perhaps this and maybe that…are you simply afraid of the unknown? I mean, do you follow the devil you know or the devil you don’t? Should you take the risk of remaining unemployed for an unknown length of time or take the job that will make getting out of bed each day a chore? So many questions, but what are the answers? What you need to determine is what the smart decision is for you. Look at the facts. Landing a job in your industry of choice in the current economic climate may be tough, so take the opportunity while it exists. Or, you’re not after a specialist position, there are plenty more opportunities on the job boards and your credentials are excellent. After all, you were one employer’s top choice you can again be someone else’s number one pick. You may just need to hold out for another few weeks.

Making that bold decision to hold out after being offered a less than desirable job can be scary. Remember though, there are many jobs that are worse than another month of job searching and unemployment. And saying ‘no’ to one opportunity may actually invite another. It’s a risk you have to be willing to take. Sometimes the best thing we can do is trust our gut.

If you are struggling to make a decision and the hiring company is applying pressure to you to make a choice, don’t become overwhelmed with confusion. Here are some simply questions you can ask yourself to clarify your situation:

  • Would you be sacrificing any serious career goals?
  • Does the role allow you to expand your skills and experience?
  • Does the offer meet most of your needs?
  • Can you see yourself working for the company?
  • Will you have to compromise your lifestyle in accepting this job?
  • Will this job be a stepping stone to a better opportunity?

While you should acknowledge the job proposal promptly, it is normal to state that you want to take a few days to consider the offer. Often an employer will grant this time, stipulating that they will again chat with you at the end of the week. Don’t expect to have more than a week to make your decision though.

It is always a battle when faced with the dilemma of accepting a job you don’t really want. Yet if you analyse a role before you apply, you can largely eliminate being faced with this occurrence. Obviously the longer one is unemployed or unhappily employed the more desperate we can become in our job search, and perhaps our decision making once offered a role. Always remember though that your career goals and values should come first. Understanding what is important to you and staying true to yourself in your career endeavours will ultimately land you the job that you can be happy in, no matter how long it may take.

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