Woman smiling walking away from building

Why you might walk away from job offers

How to spot the potential red flags

Written by Professor Gary Martin FAIM
2 minute read
Woman smiling walking away from building

With unemployment rates low across the state, there is no shortage of offers for those looking for a new job.

These offers increasingly come with headlines of sky-high salaries, unbelievably flexible work arrangements, incredibly supportive workplace cultures and an abundance of career-advancement opportunities.

It makes it even more important to dig beneath the veneer to work out whether that job truly has your name written all over it.

Just as employers look for signs that a particular candidate might not be suited to the role, job candidates need to read between the lines before they accept an offer.

Determining whether to accept a job offer can be more challenging than snaring the role in the first place – and there is much to look out for.

Perhaps the biggest red flag for prospective employees is when those conducting an interview appear to be vague about the specific duties the role entails.

Behaviours to look out for

Stay alert to statements such as “we’ll figure it out as you go,” “you’ll be wearing many hats” or “the job will grow with you.” Such revelations might indicate that not enough thought has been given to designing the job scope.

It is also worth thinking carefully about an offer if your personal values appear to be at odds with an organisation’s purpose, there is a big rush to get you into the job or the follow-up after your final interview seems to take forever.

And when the interviewer behaves inappropriately by ridiculing previous employees or making disrespectful remarks about co-workers, there might be every reason to think twice about the job on offer.

Similarly, if you are told you will need to “hit the ground running” or need to be a fast learner, it is probably a sign you will most likely be required to do too much too soon without sufficient training or coaching.

Other red flags include the absence of a clear career path, interviewers who are a little too nosy about your personal life or something as basic as your gut instinct not being positive.

With an offer firmly in hand, dig around to find out as much information about your future employer as possible. This might include details about the organisation’s workplace culture, your future colleagues and the office facilities.

Don't forget about the green flags

There are, of course, green flags to look out for as well – signs that it might be in your interest to favourably consider the job offer.

Green flags include an interview that feels more like a conversation than an interrogation, job offers that are clear and detailed, clarity around flexible work arrangements that are available and plenty of opportunities to seek further information.

At the end of the day, you should never accept a job you do not want – unless, of course, you find yourself in a situation where you have absolutely no choice.