Should You Accept a Less-than-Perfect Offer?
The temptation to accept any job offer, even a questionable one, can be very strong when we’re out of work. After all, we all need to make a living, and no job represents a lifelong, binding commitment. According to the logic that sometimes governs this decision, we can always accept the position and continue to search on the side. And if something better comes along, we can just make a graceful exit. All’s well that ends well. Right?
Not always. There are a few common reasons why we become tempted by imperfect job offers. Here are some considerations for each one.
The job won’t help your career.
This position may be a lateral or backwards move for you. In other words, if you accept the offer, you’ll be using the employer as a stepping stone, collecting a paycheck until something better appears. If you do this, you won’t be violating any ethical or legal rules, but you may cause your employer some inconvenience and you may leave a trail of resentment when you go. Are you okay with this?
Everything else looks fine, but the pay is too low.
In this case, gracefully make sure your employers know that this salary isn’t in keeping with your long term expectations. This will allow them to improve the offer if they can. And even if they can’t, they’ll have the information they need to understand your position.
You know you won’t be happy here.
The culture is a mismatch, the commute is terrible, and you don’t see yourself staying here for the long term. Ask yourself: Will this prevent you from giving your all to the job? If so, think before you invest a few months or a year of your life in a non-fruitful endeavor.
You know or suspect that you aren’t qualified.
Can you rise to the challenge? If you know in your heart that you’re entering a high-stakes position under mistaken or false pretenses, be honest with those around you and keep looking for a better fit. But if at all possible, have courage, be ready to fake it till you make it, and take the chance. Recognize that this opportunity may be rare. If you can see a way forward, any way at all, be bold! Have faith in your ability to adapt and grow.