A few of my clients have recently turned down job offers. “Why would they do that?” you may be thinking…
Simply put: because the offers weren’t a good match!
I’m not saying that there is such a thing as a perfect job. I am saying that sometimes it’s wiser (though more difficult) to turn down an opportunity to search (or wait) for a better one. Here are three reasons why that might be the case.
1. The opportunity is not in your ideal practice area.
Some argue that so long as you gain transferrable skills (particularly for a new-call), then it shouldn’t matter what practice area the position is in. And I generally agree with that approach but not when that job is going to be so much of a distraction that it takes you away from what you really want for too long.
For one of my clients, turning down an offer meant he could focus on searching for a position in the area that he wants instead of having a long commute, on top of a long work-day, each day in an area that he knows he doesn’t want to practice in.
Creating the time and energy to conduct a proper job search is so important and should never be underestimated when considering a less-than-ideal job opportunity. Indeed, I have worked with many lawyers who have found themselves in that less-than-ideal role for longer than they had planned, and end up working harder to try and navigate back into their ideal practice area.
2. The opportunity is in your ideal practice area, but the proposed mentor doesn’t have time to be a mentor nor the expertise.
While there is a lot of self-directed study in the practice of law, for a new-call, having a mentor who is dedicated to your professional development is even more important.
One of my clients was given the opportunity to work in his ideal practice area, but discovered that the prospective employer spends more time practicing in another area. While my client was flattered that this person was going to trust him with a book of business, as a new-call, my client also recognized that the level of mentorship (or lack thereof) would not allow him to feel confident in the quality of legal services he wants to offer as a lawyer.
3. You get a horrible feeling about the person you’d be working with.
One of my clients was offered a position from someone who would not stop talking about themselves at the interview. It was a surprise to my client that the interviewer even knew who my client was! Needless to say, my client was not interested in learning what it would be like to work with that person, particularly after they exhibited other egotistical tendencies.
What are some reasons why you’ve turned down a job offer?
There’s no need to wait to work with me if you’re looking for your first job as a lawyer! My online course is now available to the public and has already been helping new-calls accelerate their job search: www.hireback.ca!