Q. I just finished a job interview. Everything went well. But I can’t get excited about the job. The people were nice but frankly, I got bored.
Should I withdraw my application or hang on to see what happens?
A. Let me share a secret. I love country music, especially the classics. Your question reminds me of Kenny Rogers’s big hit, The Gambler. I can’t quote even a line due to copyright laws, but you can Google the song. Know when to stay. Know when to put down your cards. And above all, recognize when it’s time to walk away and time to run.
Be able to let go of a customer who’s a pain and a job that’s creating pain. Be able to recognize a business opportunity that’s all wrong for you, to say, “That’s not a good fit.”
Feeling bored sounds like a signal. If you (or your interviewer) has trouble staying awake, that’s like a red light flashing and a big siren screaming, “Go away!” (That actually happened to me once at a job interview for an academic position. My interview started nodding off. I’m a pretty dynamic interviewee so either he was stone cold bored or had been partying too late the night before.)
So…what’s the best way to walk (or run)?
1. Think through your decision and avoid burning bridges.
Be sure you aren’t acting out of short-term emotion. Were you in a bad mood that day? Research consistently shows that mood can be a powerful influence on experience. Waking up in a bad mood can have a strong negative impact on just about anything.
Additionally, be sure you have all the information you need. Are you basing your decision on interactions with one person? Sometimes you’ll interview with someone who won’t be around much when you’re hired. Sometimes your job environment will be dramatically different than what you experienced during the interview.
Give yourself a few days to reflect and consider talking to a consultant or coach, especially if you’re giving up a job sewith unique advantages, such as income, prestige, and opportunities to become more marketable.
2. Expect your interviewer or client to say, “Thank you! We appreciate your honesty.”
They probably won’t add, “Frankly, we agree you’re not a good fit here.” But most likely, that’s exactly what they’re thinking
On very rare occasions, you’ll hear, “Oh no! What can we do to make you change your mind?” or, “We have another option that may interest you.”
But don’t count on it.
3. Create a neutral explanation that’s mutually face-saving and final.
A neutral reason would go something like, “I’ve decided to pursue another option that seems to be a better fit for me at this time.”
Bad reasons would include, “The chemistry didn’t seem right,” or, “I don’t see room for my career growth.”
Your contact person might be searching for a new job herself and you may be a terrific match for an opportunity in her next position. Or he may become aware of another opportunity in the company that makes more sense for your background and experience.
4. Revive your networking, sales activity, and application process. Often saying “no” will clear the decks for you to clarify what you really want. Some folks believe you’re reflecting abundance and making way for newer, more appropriate opportunities to enter your life.
In fact, if you’re seriously looking for a new job, I’d recommend that you keep networking and searching until you’ve landed a spot that feels right for you.
Often it’s tempting to put everything on hold when you land an interview or when you’re waiting for an offer. the truth is, your options could change in a matter of minutes.
5. Being in a position to decline opportunities means you hold a winning hand. You’re well along the road to whatever you define as success and prosperity. Use this option sparingly and wisely.
In any relationship, saying “yes” to the wrong proposal inevitably leads to a bitter, expensive divorce. And saying “no” too early can lead to a missed opportunity for long-term happiness.
If you’d like to discuss any aspect of your career, please check out the Consultation here.
Also, you might like my ebook on Amazon, Your 21 Day Extreme Career Makeover.
Gina Odell says
Great article as always! In a tough economic time, whether local or national, it can be a very difficult choice to say no to employment that you know will be boring or a very bad fit for one’s skills and interests. You might have financial pressure to take the first job offered, especially if the salary is good. Family might be pressuring you, as well. Maybe you could do a column about when it is wise to take an “okay” job if necessary? Would there be a proper way to discuss with one’s employer how to enrich that position?
Hi Gina, That is a really good point. Sometimes you can go ahead with a job that’s less than ideal. The concern with an “okay” job is that you could sabotage your own success, get yourself fired, and be worse off. Definitely there are ways around this. And it’s why I tend to advocate for a side hustle, so you can bring in money while looking.