The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

November 15, 2016

The Four P’s of Passing up a Job Offer

Securing a new job offer when you are disengaged in your current role can feel like a golden ticket to positive change. But job opportunities vary heavily in desirability, stability, and career value.

As such, the first or second offer that you receive might not be the right one. Review our list of the “Four P’s”—People, Position, Pay, and Practicality—to evaluate your next offer.


Did the people with whom you met articulate what they like about the company or did they stumble over their responses? Strong eye contact and meaningful answers are favorable, while rushed responses and skirting around the question are warning signs that employees are unhappy.

Do people stay with the organization for several years or is there poor turnover? Average employee tenure is an excellent measure of satisfaction. Slowly back away if you get the sense that the company is a revolving door.


A worthwhile position offers opportunities for career advancement and growth. Is the position a step down in responsibility or a dead end without room for upward mobility? Overlook the job if either applies. On the contrary, roles that will allow you to better exercise your strengths and that offer training and development will lead to greater success.

Is the work enjoyable and something in which you can explore your passion? That’s the way to go. If not, expect early burnout in a position that is not sustainable.


Be mindful of how the total compensation package compares to what you are currently earning. Unless you are changing industries or functions—career moves that provide less bargaining power—think twice before accepting lesser earnings.

Weaker pay might be acceptable depending on your personal situation. If the opportunity is compelling, a $10,000 decrease in salary with a performance-based bonus is worth the risk. But does that fit with your life right now? Are you supporting children? Do you have to pay off a mortgage? Are you caring for a sick relative? Supplementary expenses like these should factor into your decision-making.


How financially and organizationally stable is the company? Are acquisitions or layoffs looming or is outlook strong? If job security is questionable, you are better off staying in your current position until you can identify a safer opportunity.

Is the job too demanding to fit into your lifestyle? Does it require, for instance, out-of-state travel for 50% of the average month? Will you be expected to work 11-hour days on top of a three-hour round-trip daily commute? In some cases, the position is simply a logistically poor fit, despite its exciting, lucrative, and growth attributes.

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