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June 5, 2009
A Bad Deal
 
In an effort to weed out bad offers by potential employers, use the job-hunting-is-like-dating comparisons (they really work). This time, we're going to think about marriage proposals and which of them to decline: the comparison is job offers. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the jerks.
 
The ring is a joke
This is like a low-ball offer. Now, you don't necessarily need an emerald-cut 4 carat diamond, but something that shows an earnest attempt to bestow upon you a thoughtful token of love is expected. A ring that turns your finger green after 3 days isn't acceptable. When you receive an insultingly low salary offer, you probably shouldn't take it. This isn't to be confused with being flexible, but if you've got 15 years experience and the offer is $45,000, that's a problem. Just say no.
 
It's too soon.
Can you imagine agreeing to marry someone at the end of the first date? Exactly. A job offer at the end of your first interview is a big warning sign. This Employer is desperate and hasn't thought it through. Even if they realize after first meeting you that you're likely 'the one', you should want to work for someone savvy enough to take things at an appropriate pace and allow you time to decide if it's a good match as well.
 
In-laws and friends hate you.
When you can see going into the marriage that you'll never have the approval of the in-laws or friends, it's probably just not a good fit. Similarly, when you meet the management team of this Employer and they have no interest and are even hostile, it's time to keep looking. I'm sure you think you can win anyone over, but you might as well make your reservations for Divorce Court on your first day.
 
Ex is still in the picture.
Have you ever interviewed somewhere and everyone keeps referring to the person you're replacing and how great they are? And how they still all get together for drinks? Well, it's no different from your potential mate talking about the ex all the time, taking phone calls and texts, and generally pining in front of you. This one is likely not ready to move on and make a commitment to you - a frank and honest conversation about the nature of the relationship with the ex and your comfort level is required ASAP.
 
Bratty kids in the picture.
You find out that there were multiple employees within the organization that were vying for the role you're being offered. This is eerily similar to walking into a marriage where the kids aren't ready for a step-anybody yet and are resentful and scheming. It may not be a deal-breaker but it's a slippery slope and might require a longer courtship before the actual nuptials. Think about a freelance period before you accept a full time offer so you have a chance for some interaction with everyone and get a feel for whether this group can somehow form a family.
 
Too little, too late.
This is like "Oh, so now you love me". A proposal was hinted at, there were ample opportunities for said proposal, but then your calls stopped getting returned. Dates rescheduled and then rescheduled again. The loving feeling was apparently lost. Then out of the blue, a phone call with a plan to elope. What? "Wait a minute, what just happened? Did you make an offer to someone else that turned you down, and I'm your second choice?" That's exactly what I would think too, and then I'd think twice about accepting it without a good explanation. The last thing I advise is to agree to work for someone who doesn't respect your time and professionalism, or have the ability to be courteous and keep up their end of the communication process. Proceed with extreme caution here.
 
 
Of course none of these scenarios are black-and-white. You have to evaluate the specific information you've received and the process you've gone through to get to your offer, and weigh the pros and cons. But again, a job offer can seem so exciting and glamorous at the time that it's good practice to step back and make sure things played out in a way that you're comfortable with and means that it's also a good deal for you.

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Amy Hoover has been with Talent Zoo for more than 12 years. Considered an industry expert in employment practices and trends, she speaks often at events and is frequently interviewed by industry publications.

 
Amy was also widely read as the premier blogger on Hiring-Revolution for many years where she earned a reputation for wit, entertainment, information, and no bull. You can find her on Linked, friend her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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