Is it ever right to refuse an aviation job offer?

Published: 03 Jul 2015 By Suzie Larcombe

If you’re aviation job hunting today, you could be forgiven for thinking that refusing any job is complete madness.  However, no matter how keen you are to get out of your current job, there are certain instances where it might be right to turn down the offer of a job.  Here are just some situations where it might be best to follow your gut instinct and say “Thank you, but no thank you”…

Consistently poor communication

If things get off on a bad foot with an employer it’s always worth giving them a second chance, but if things are consistently bad, you might need to think again.  Letters or emails inviting you to interview, phone calls about details and such things are important and are a good indicator of how professional an employer might be.  If you’re finding that right from the start, you’re promised a letter or a call and it doesn’t materialise or comes late every time, you would be justified in allowing a few alarm bells to ring.  However, if poor communication gets sorted out relatively quickly, you can always forgive and forget. 

A bad “feeling” at interview

Sometimes at interview it’s all too easy to forget that the employer is under the spotlight too.  It may be that during your interview you get a ‘gut feel’ that something just isn’t right, but you can’t put your finger on it.  While this gut feel is rarely justification on its own for refusing the aviation job of your dreams, you owe it to yourself to follow through your instinct and get to the bottom of the issue.  If after your investigation, you’re left wondering if the employer’s right for you, then it may be better to refuse the job.  While you should never make this decision lightly, if you really can’t set your mind at ease, it might be better to walk away.

The role is going off on a tangent

If you’re being interviewed for a specific aviation job and during the interview you notice that more and more tasks are being introduced as things you’d be expected to do, this could be a real opportunity or a downright threat to your career prospects.  When you apply for a job in a small aviation company or a start up, it’s normal that you’ll be expected to roll up your sleeves and accept a broad job description, but in a bigger company, if you’re finding that the role you’ve applied for seems to span across some unexpected or unusual areas, it may be time to ask questions.  Not necessarily a good reason for turning down a good job offer, it’s still important to make sure you know where you stand in terms of what’s expected of you, so take the time to nail down the detail.  

The Ts and Cs just don’t stack up

If everything has gone well up until now and you’re sitting looking at an aviation job offer but it simply doesn’t stack up, then you also need to stop and ask questions.  If the Terms and Conditions of the job offer vary significantly from what was advertised or discussed at interview, you need to find out why.  There’s no need to jump in with both feet and start a war with the potential employer, but it’s important to establish why there is a significant gap between your expectations and what’s being offered.  Clearly it’s important to check your facts thoroughly before asking for clarification, but if you think the employer is trying to pull a fast one, it’s rarely a great idea to get into bed together.

You’re just not sure

There are any number of reasons why you might be worried about accepting a job offer.  It could be that you’ve been in the same job for a long time and even though you fancy a change, when reality comes you feel a tiny bit frightened.  This is completely normal, but usually this isn’t a good enough reason on it’s own for declining a good job offer.  That said, if things have gone consistently badly with your prospective employer and try as you might, you can’t resolve the issues in your mind; that could be another matter.  If there’s something that’s ‘just not right’ and you’re left unsure, do all you can to resolve the issues and if the feeling remains, you need to decide whether to walk away or not.

Final word

If you do decide to turn down a job offer, don’t forget that the aviation world is small, so do it with class and professionalism.  Make sure you give a good reason (even if it’s not the real reason), thank the interviewers for their time and wish them well in finding the right candidate.  You never know, you might come up against the same employer again in the future and you’re best to leave a positive impression. 

And last thing…don’t regret your decision.  Make it wisely and don’t look back.  

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