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What Happens When You Get a Job Offer…Just Not the Right One?

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You’ve probably been there before: you’re interviewing for two roles, one of which you’re really excited for and the other…not so much. There are lots of different ways this could go. And even if you get a job offer from one or both of them, you’re not in the clear – there’s still the matter of how you’ll respond. The question of how to respond to a job offer plagues on-the-market professionals all the time. From salary negotiation, to juggling multiple opportunities, sometimes there’s just no clear and easy path.

 

Here are two possible scenarios in which you’ve received a job offer but still don’t quite feel ready to pop the champagne. As you enter these situations, whatever you do, remember this advice: don’t be afraid. Be confident, know your worth, and don’t shy away from making bold moves just because it’s scary. 

 

However you approach your offer, salary negotiation will be a big part of it. Make sure you get the salary you deserve with the Betts Recruiting 2020 Compensation Guide.

Banner link to 2020 Compensation Guide

Scenario 1: Big bucks for a role that sucks

What happens when the job you applied for as fallback, just in case your dream role passes on you, ends up being the first to make a job offer – and it’s a great one? A fat base salary, solid benefits, and generous commission or bonus structure can be hard to resist. It can almost be enough to make you forget that the culture isn’t a great fit for you, you weren’t impressed or inspired by the company value props, there’s no clear path upward within the organization, and the commute would be a drag.

Whatever you do, remember this advice: don’t be afraid. Be confident, know your worth, and don’t shy away from making bold moves just because it’s scary.

Maybe it’s best to take the job and see what happens. Money talks, after all. But if you’re on the fence, here are some important considerations.

 

  1. It might be fine to wait
    If you still haven’t heard back about the job you’re excited about, you may decide to wait a while before making a decision. Maybe you ask the hiring manager to give you a week or more to give them an answer – if they want you more than you want them, this might not be such a bad idea. In the meantime, you might get an offer from the company you’re excited about. It might be more money than the offer you’ve already received, which would be a win all around. But even if it’s not, maybe it’s not so bad to take a bit less money to work at your dream company. And if they turn you down, you’ve still got another offer, and your current job, on the backburner.
     

  2. This could be good leverage for a raise
    That raise you’ve been fantasizing about? This situation could empower you to make it a reality. If you told your boss about the competing offer you’ve received, would they beat that offer by giving you a raise so they can keep you? It’s an exciting prospect – but it’s crucial to tread lightly. You have to be confident that you’re valuable enough to your current team that your boss won’t decline and tell you to take the offer and be on your way. You also usually only get one of these – if you pull it off, don’t expect your boss to give you another raise if the same thing happens six months later.
     

  3. Just how badly do you need a change?
    If you’re unhappy at your current job, you may feel tempted to take the new job offer just because you’re so desperate to get out. This may work out for you – but it often ends up being a mistake. If you’re not even excited about the role you’ve been offered now, imagine how you’ll feel in three to six months, once the honeymoon period has worn off. Taking the offer just because you need a change is really only a smart play if your current role is truly toxic, or if you’re truly at the end of your rope there. A general restlessness, curiosity, or even frustration at work usually shouldn’t be enough to make you feel good about taking a new job where those same feelings will likely arise before too long.

Scenario 2: The job’s as sweet as honey – but there’s not a lot of money

What about the opposite scenario? Let’s say you hear back about the role you’re excited about, and they want to bring you on. Then you hear the offer and you’re disappointed: the base salary is lower than what you make now, and you’re expected to contribute a full 50% of your health insurance premiums. Maybe they don’t even sweeten the deal with equity. How do you respond to this job offer?

Ask yourself: Is it worth it, for your dream job, to take a slight pay cut now if there’s a strong likelihood of getting a substantial raise within your first year?

One resource could be salary negotiation. Don’t be afraid to counter their offer. There’s nothing wrong with asking a company to at least meet, and hopefully exceed, your current salary if they want you to come work for them. Failing that, you can turn your eye to the future. What does the growth path look like at the company? How much turnover is there? If turnover is low, it probably means people frequently get promoted at the company, which incentivizes them to stay. Ask yourself: Is it worth it, for your dream job, to take a slight pay cut now if there’s a strong likelihood of getting a substantial raise within your first year? 

 

Whatever scenario you face, and whatever path you take, remember our bottom-line advice: don’t be afraid. Be confident. Know your worth. And have the courage to accept that there’s always going to be a degree of risk involved. But if you listen to your heart and aren’t afraid to say what you want, we have a feeling things will work out for you in the end. You got this.