3 top reasons people turn down a job offer

You clawed your way past brutal networking events and exhaustive interviews, and you’ve finally reached the finish line — a job offer. If you’ve been job hunting for a long time without success, it may seem tempting to take the offer and run with it, no questions asked. But as Hibob, a human resources platform recently found, nearly half of workers in the U.K. have turned down an offer. Surveying some 2,000 U.K. workers across age levels, Hibob found that 47% of the U.K. working population has rejected a job offer. 

Here are their reasons for why they walked away that we can consider for our own job hunts:

1) Company culture

A cool job with temping perks won’t matter if you’re miserable at your job. The top reason workers gave in the survey for saying no to a job was because they “didn’t feel like the right fit or they didn’t feel they would get on with their new team.”

If your gut is giving you a bad feeling about the situation, don’t ignore it. Do your research and talk with employees at the company to see if you can picture yourself working alongside them. Check to see if your potential employer has shown up in recent headlines. Does the future of the company’s business seem uncertain? Do too many Google results show up when you type “[company name] lawsuit”? Buyer beware.

A toxic company culture will follow you home from the office and affect your mood. A great salary won’t matter as much if you’re too miserable to enjoy it. A bad company culture can even be a black mark on your resume that you’ll have to reckon with past this job. Just ask employees at Uber, who have had to defend themselves against their company’s aggressive, toxic reputation in job interviews.

Ladders reader Anne Ryan said that she turned down offers when she “felt that the company wasn’t a great fit; they were ‘desperate’ to hire me just to put a warm body at a desk; or in two cases, I knew that the way they were running their business violated any number of labor laws.”

Sometimes, for the sake of your career and your sanity, you must say no and walk away from an offer.

2) Expectations about final offer didn’t meet reality

One in four of the participants surveyed by Hibob said that the final offer not matching the interview promise was the deal breaker for them. Many jobs look great on paper until you read the bottom line of your final offer and see missing dollar signs or prohibitive contract clauses.

As Ladders reader Greg Grasso noted, he turned down a job “after formal offer was made but wasn’t the job I really wanted even though it paid more money than the job I took.”

Before you shake hands and accept an offer, read through your employment contract to see what you’re really getting or giving up.

3) Not the right job for your career

It may be tempting to a accept a job with a cool title attached to a big-name company, but don’t be distracted by the shiny exterior. A job can be awesome and still not be right for you. Twenty-seven percent of the participants surveyed said that they turned down a job if they “didn’t feel the role role would move their careers forward.”

You want to choose a job where you can thrive and do your best work, a role that will challenge you and won’t be just like the jobs you’ve done before. A new job should teach you something new about yourself. That can mean turning down a job that doesn’t align with your career goals. It can even mean doing dramatic switches.

As Adam S. Poswolsky argued for the Washington Posttoo many of us are taught that our career ladders are one long slog in the industry you start out in. “The pressure to climb a lucrative career ladder, and one that didn’t really reflect who I was, caused me physical and emotional pain,” he warned.

Spare yourself unnecessary misery and choose jobs that fulfill goals you set, not goals someone else has set for you.