Have You Ever Turned Down A Job Offer?

Have You Ever Turned Down A Job Offer?

We share a lot of tips to help you make the most of job interviews, land the job you’ve always wanted and stand out from the crowd of applicants applying for the same gigs. Even so, not every job interview that goes well for the company goes well for the applicant, and not every interview that ends in a job offer is right for the interviewee. Have you ever turned down a job offer after one was extended to you?

Picture: meikesen/Shutterstock

Yesterday, we pointed out that sometimes great interviews can hide bad jobs, whether the interviewer was misleading or because information that might make the job look less attractive was deliberately omitted.

Have you ever been through an interview, received a job offer and then decided it wasn’t right for you? Why? What influenced your decision? Let us know in the comments below.


  • Was offered a job by Telstra as a sales dude during my studies with a view to career advancement within that sales organisation. Turned it down because I told them I wanted to be a journalist, was told by a colleague I had made a mistake and that I wouldn’t make it. 😀

  • You would say in this day and age you would never want to turn down a job offer even if the work you do is absolute sh*t because money doesn’t grow on trees and bills need to be payed.

    I have once turned down a job offer. But there was every indication the company that offered it to me was going down in the next year and I was right, they went bankrupt 8 months after I turned them down. They sugarcoated it as the best payed job, I would get 80k a year etc.
    Trouble is they never payed me for my freelance work to this day, so yeah, good choice.

  • When last out job hunting I got 2 offers at the same time. I asked each employer for some clarifications around the role. One of the companies could not provide the information requested and I ultimately chose not to work for them.

    Funnily enough the agency and the company were both really pissed like I was being unreasonable for asking them to provide some details of the work I’d be doing. And when I told them I’d taken another offer it sent them right over the edge to the point the agency threatened to black list me. It was ridiculous.

    • Can’t say I’ve had bad experience from agencies, nor received threats.

      I’ve had offers tendered to me while I was employed and was substantially worse than what I had.
      Others I’ve turned down while looking to change work, and had multiple offers allowing me to cherry pick.

  • Before landing my current job, I turned down two job offers.

    The first was on the other side of town for a company that held “sleep seminars” as an excuse to sell mattresses or something. I apparently got the job because I was the only person they interviewed that knew some basic Excel functions. They set off too many alarms, so I didn’t take the job.

    The second was a temp position that I honestly would have taken if they didn’t offer it to me literally hours after I had an interview with the company that I’m currently with for a full time position. I stalled on the offer for a little while, hoping to hear back from my now current employers. It was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off.

    The odd thing is the second job offer I turned down and the job offer I accepted are in the same building.

  • I turned down a job once. I responded to an ad, turned up for an interview, and it turned out they were a recruitment agency and there was no specific position. Totally unscrupulous, but to their credit they did actually set up an interview with a job that was at least relevant to my career goals. The interview went well, but then the offer came through: 40k. I was on 65k already. The agency tried to convince me it was an entry position, but I already had experience in the domain and was looking for career advancement opportunities. complete waste of my time. Needless to say I told them not to contact me again.

    • This is so common. Job adverts with just generic traits to attract applicants and collect the CVs. What for? Don’t ask me for I can’t get it either. But the roles don’t exist as recruiters just refuse to share details.
      Some cowboys.
      I appeared for an interview (with employer) recently, and met recruiter before I had got the actual interview. Recruiter took a COMMITMENT from me that I would actually join. DODGY.

    • I went for an IT job at a hospital through a recruitment agency, had the interview, saw the IT department, never heard back from them.
      2 years later THAT job is still being advertised.

    • I have had similar, i took a hit to the occupation moved from middle management to entry level Senior tech to move interstate, i actually got a pay increase for doing so, sitting on about $65k.
      After a few months i got bored, and i was offered an interview for a TL for another company, i went to the interview the job description was vague and listed as “IT support team lead for a small established internal IT team”.

      During the interview it slowly became very apparent that was misleading, they actually wanted a hybrid “TL/project manager/process architect” and wanted me to be oncall 24/7 for the first 6 months to set-up and create an entirely new System, the real kicker was they only wanted to pay $50k salary and no on-call rate (there was the chance of a “possible” bonus at the end of the year).
      Great opportunity, but not worth the downsides.

      I turned it down, but i kept getting calls saying i smashed the interview and they really wanted me, but they wouldn’t budge on the money, as awesome as that would have looked on my resume i wasn’t about to take a 15k pay cut, as well as the fact that 8 months later im now on 20k more at my current job anyway.

      I’ve actually turned down quiet a few job offer’s in the last 10 years, usually not what was advertised or not enough pay for the role.

  • Sadly, yes. It was a fantastic opportunity, the position and employer were perfect. But the interview process got drawn out longer than they’d planned, so when the offer came in they wanted an immediate start. I’d been with the same small company for 5 years, my boss was overseas and another guy was also away on annual leave. I couldn’t bring myself to leave them (namely, my coworker who’d have been left on his own) in the lurch and had to turn the job down.

    To top it all off, my boss came back from holidays and a few weeks later gave me my notice due to a “shortage of work”. We live and learn.

    • That’s a shame. In this day and age I will never, ever owe anything to any business I work for. Simply because if they have no work/money/whatever they will have no issue giving you the boot. Therefore if you find something better, it is unreasonable not to take it.

  • Got offered a job at apple retail and got another offer for a much better career job. Easy choice. I had already received my contract from apple, I called, thanked the HR person and explained I couldn’t take the job. She didn’t say anything and hung up.

    So, I emailed her, the store manager, the recruiter and basically everyone who I had spoken to throughout the recruitment process. No response. I called and asked if I should return the contract., got hung up on.

    It was beyond weird. Still have the contract though.

    On a side note, apple retail contract is absolutely absurd in terms of IP rights.

    • On a vaguely related note, I have a job interview at the new Apple store next week that I only half want and I was thinking of going dressed in a black turtle neck,levi’s,glasses and new balance kicks.
      Too soon?

  • Went for a job at a now defunct Apple retailer and was offered the assistant store manager with duties including opening and closing, cash handling and staff management. Interview went great, except when they told me it was $11 per hour before tax. Needless to say when they wouldn’t budge on the hourly rate I politely said no. Ended up being a good choice as the shop closed down 6 months later.

  • It’s happened twice where I was offerend two positions and had to turn one down.

    First time: I was looking for my first job out of Uni, and couldn’t find anything for 8 months. Finally, got two offers on the same day. Literally came down to a couple of minutes and some frantic phone calls back and forth as to who gave me the best offer 🙂

    Second time, the HR department went on holidays before making a final decision (of Xmas), but another company offered me a position in the meantime. When the HR department came back, they offered me the position, but I had to turn it down.

    I don’t regret turning them down, but I also don’t have any “I’m so glad I turned that down” anecdotes to tell either…

  • Twice, with the second coming just on Thursday.

    First was in university – applied for this job that labelled itself as consumer marketing, but was really going around door-to-door hocking the crummiest shit possible in some shady parts of Melbourne. Told the guy I wasn’t going to take it and he was pretty good about it, nice Scottish bloke, shouted me a pot for my troubles.

    Second one was at a sports league in the Western suburbs. Looked like a nice job, fairly moderate workload compared to what I’m doing now, but the price was between $2-3k lower or $2-3 above what I’m getting. Can’t move to the West or commute every day for that sort of money. Had to reject an offer from a pretty nice bloke. Talked to him for another 20 minutes about football too. Wish I could’ve afforded to take that job as it seemed comfortable and pretty secure.

  • I was recently offered a job at a rival company and on the surface it seemed like it was a fantastic opportunity – more money, a better job title and the promise of all expenses paid travel to up to three international events of my choosing. Fortunately I stuck to my rule of requesting 24 hours to consider their offer. The next morning, by absolute chance, I ran into an old mate from uni and mentioned the job offer. Turns out he did an internship with the company and still had friends working there. He told me there had been major upheaval in the business due to major management issues and the role I’d been offered had actually been vacated three times in the previous 12 months. Needless to say I turned the offer down. They offered it to their next choice and lo and behold, less than four months later, I saw the job advertised on Seek again. Bullet dodged!

  • Several times. The biggest one was at Microsoft. My interview loop included a lunch conversation with the person who would be my manager’s manager. This woman was very negative, not responding to anything I said in a positive manner. I knew I didn’t want to work around someone like that if I had any choice in the matter, because I prefer to keep a positive focus on my work, so I declined.

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