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Turning down a job


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I've never turned down a job before today, and wow is it unpleasant. I called and they started asking reasons, and I tried to be diplomatic. I said something to the effect of, "I like the organization, but I just don't think I would be a good fit given my circumstances with part-time school, daycare, etc." I was mostly honest. Those are all true and were enough of a reason, but what really sealed the deal is that I have an interview with another company. I felt it would have been low integrity on my part to accept a job and then try to get another job immediately. It wasn't worth leaving my current job when it came down to dollars and cents.

 

Is it normal for employers to grill you on the whys and why nots? I think they really wanted me, which I found surprising given my relative lack of qualifications. How have you all handled this?

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You spelled "elitist Hollywood sell out snob" wrong.

Nailed it. But I have to see if they are gutsy enough to knock off the guy who is acting in the role but not official. It might actually come down to a popularity contest with the manager team. I have

I got new job... like, I pitched, they liked, want to hire me... but the company business dept. and my agents are arguing over contracts and I could not end up getting it even though the creatives wa

My Dad always said the workplace is really like Krustylu Studios. All Bart Simpson had to do was say 'Yeah I work here' and they let him in. The employer seeming needy despite your supposed lack of qualifications is pretty common, IMO. Usually employers are very picky and want you to invest your soul and sign in blood when they're on their way up (Google, Pixar)

 

Go for the other job. Trust your gut. You're right, it is unethical to look for a new job when you just started one. Many times I was useless at a job and got fired only to miraculously be picked up by another place I wanted more. Sometimes I get these jobs out of the blue I didn't think I'd be qualified for (construction, camp counselor)

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That was my take on it too. I have nothing bad to say about the company, I just knew it wasn't going to be a good fit. I've had things work out like you said, I try to not panic and just wait for the next opportunity. It has mostly worked out so far.

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More people should turn down job offers the moment they feel it won't be a good "fit". Working with people who are trying to fit their square pegged asses into the company's round holes is just annoying.

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I've never not gotten a job I interviewed for, but no one's ever fought for me when I turned down a job. Unless you count my former manager passive-aggressively not looking for anyone to replace me when I told I wanted to step down from my supervisor position and gave him a timeline to replace me (start of maternity leave). Fortunately, I got a new manager who was on board with my career path.

 

The last job I turned down, I told them that the salary was not competitive with other offers I had received, which was true. They didn't argue (they knew the salary blew... $57,000 to work in Huntington Beach, CA is a joke). I've turned down interview requests from recruiters by telling them I was happy in my current job and not in a place in life to leave, other. Last interview request was when I was 7 months pregnant with my first. They understood I didn't exactly want to embark on any more major life changes.

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They probably thought you were being vague. "good fit" could mean many different things, and so they might have been "grilling" you to see If they could find a different position for you if they liked you enough.

 

If Im interviewing for a job that I dont particularly need, or isnt a good fit or whatever, and i feel like they are bugging im turning it down, I like to throw a dollar amount at them higher then they are offering. "I appreciate your consideration, but with my part-time school and daycare situation it really wouldn't be worth leaving my current job unless you give me another...oh...say $4/hr. "

 

What's the worst that can happen? Either you get what you want or...they show you the door.

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I always felt really weird about saying no to paying work, even if it wasn't a fit-- or even if I knew it was going to go poorly. Just seemed irresponsible to turn it down. I'm finally in a position where what jobs I take is 100% optional and I still have a hard time saying no.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

More people should turn down job offers the moment they feel it won't be a good "fit". Working with people who are trying to fit their square pegged asses into the company's round holes is just annoying.

The flip side to that is people should only apply for a job they are truly interested in, as well.

 

I've been on search committees and job interview boards where an extensive interview process is conducted after weeding out dozens of potential candidates, a job offer is made, accepted, then turned down, because it later comes out that interview was used by the desired candidate as a means to get their current employer to counter offer for purposes of a raise. Then this screws up our plans to fill a vacancy, and the job search process has to start all over, and it ultimately delays the process to fill that vacancy.

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Part of the reason they low-balled me is because the job was eventually supposed to move to Colorado (which was really why I was applying). But a merger had to be approved and it could've fallen through. There was just no way I could take that offer when I was getting more to go to Seattle (and they were even low-balling me, too, because I was coming from Florida). And the Seattle job was better. They've made up for it since, fortunately.

Part of the reason they low-balled me is because the job was eventually supposed to move to Colorado (which was really why I was applying). But a merger had to be approved and it could've fallen through. There was just no way I could take that offer when I was getting more to go to Seattle (and they were even low-balling me, too, because I was coming from Florida). And the Seattle job was better. They've made up for it since, fortunately.

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The only job I turned down, I also got grilled about it. They asked me more questions when I said no thanks than they did during the interview.

 

Made me feel wanted, I suppose. They were clearly trying to change my mind, but that only made it all the more awkward.

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^Indeed, it was somewhat awkward.

 

Some of you all have impressive interview experiences. I tried to calculate my interview batting average, and it's about 0.600. Not great, not bad. I'm not counting all the job applications that don't get a response from the employer.

 

I followed up with that company, and they got edgy about the interview. They won't know if new positions will be available until grants are approved/rejected. I totally understand that, but it would have been more professional if they had been upfront to begin with. I kind of get Michael Scott's annoyance with HR as I get older. Business is business, sure, but it's frustrating to be on the not-so-good end of it. All of the consulting firms are waiting for November grant season approvals/rejections, so I have to sit, wait, and follow the money.

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I probably applied to 100 jobs before I got 3 calls back to interview, and that was in 2006 when the job market was hot. And I don't interview for the hell of it. I turned down offers to interview with Google and Blue Origin because the jobs were either terrible, or I was not in a good position (like I mentioned, 7 months pregnant). Both cool companies to be sure, but I'd rather get paid less or work less hours to be happy. I put in my 40 hours and punch out unless there is a big deadline, but usually I'm good with time management so I don't have to work OT.

 

The new thing now in my industry is the "technical interview". I haven't done one yet, just heard about them and have thought about the sort of answers they're looking for. While I like the idea of being able to demonstrate technical competence, I sort of hate the "think outside the box" pressure that it puts on you. Look, I either know my crap or I don't. There's still no way to tell if I'm going to be a good employee until I get there.

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I've had that done to me during job interviews. I will be asked to demonstrate my prowess with ArcMap, which is sort of fine but annoying. ArcMap is a somewhat notoriously dodgy program (imagine Visual Basic and Google Earth combined), and the user needs to sync folders and know where the desired files are kept. Being asked to do that on the spot when you don't know anything about the synced folders and files is awkward because it takes a minute or so to get your head around it. Maybe that's what they're looking for though, who knows.

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It's more like they give you an IQ test that doesn't have that much to do with your particular job. For example, tell me why manhole covers are round.

 

The engineer in me would tell you it's because the stress between the manhole cover and the holder is less for a circle than a square because of the area. But the answer they're really looking for (because they might not actually know that) is because it's easier to roll a round manhole cover than it is to pick one up and have to carry it. Neither answer is wrong.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I applied for a job at 3:00 am Saturday night, had a rejection email by 9:30 am Saturday morning. I thought that was really, really strange. I find out later that the job was posted August 29th. Grrrrrr! I hate hate hate HR.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ugh, I'm kind of back on the interview circuit. I may be selling out and going management path. Not happy about it. There isn't a lot open with technical path right now, and I still have a job but it may turn into something I don't enjoy. If you had talked to me 2 months ago, I had a 5- and 10-year plan and I was on track. One job I applied to was canceled, and the other one is a management preparation job within my organization. I expect to get a lot of questions about why I'm suddenly selling out, and I'm going to have a hard time not providing bitter responses.

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My wife went into administration, and she is paid more and works less. She had some of the same reservations, but everyone is happy with the move now. So, it's not all bad. I've seen a few biologists "sell out", and the common response was that it was what was best for them and their family. That usually stopped inquiries as it's a polite way to say, "They'll pay me more."

 

I am flabbergasted at the potential opportunities before me. I have been pretty desperate for about 6 months to get a better job, so it's nice to have tangible opportunities and hope before me instead of chasing obsolete job postings and inside-hire situations. It would all be worth it to not have to write another ignored cover letter.

 

But seriously...if someone asks for a cover letter, they should have the decency to respond to an email or phone call. I can understand blowing off electronic submissions or simple resume requests, but asking for a cover letter takes time. Really, really rude to ask someone to set aside an hour to create a tailored cover letter and then just not respond.

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