My Experience Being Interviewed Part 5: Should I Take the Job?

The Recap

Over the last few weeks I have written about my experiences in showcasing passion in interviews and job applications, how I prepared for academic interviews, dealing with the rejection of not having enough experience, and how I coped with an interview that went completely wrong. Today I want to talk about what happens when the hiring stars align and you are offered the position – should you take it?

If you are good enough for one job offer, you are good enough for another

When I was applying for work I spoke to other academics in the department. I heard stories of “I knew someone that went straight into a full time lecturer and researcher position out of their PhD, and they were swallowed up by teaching and didn’t have the network and support in place for research”. Another piece of common anecdotal advice was people regularly admitting to turning down full time academic positions to do postdoctoral work. In short I was told no, you don’t have to take the job. If you’re good enough for one job offer, you are good enough for another.

Acknowledge your needs and wants

In today’s academic job market, it can be hard just to get to the interview stage, let alone to a stage where a job offer is made. So how do you decide to turn a job down when another may not show its face for some time? You need to balance out what you need/want vs what the institute is offering. What you want may involve things like job/financial security, or somewhere that may or may not involve uprooting, or a relaxed work environment. Can you live without some of these if necessary? What factors are an absolute must for you?

For me, at least, there was a need for a secure income. Uprooting was an option, but only in fantastic circumstances. As I went through the hiring process of different institutions I quickly got a feel for the culture of the institution, and in my own head had started preferencing where I really wanted to go vs where I would want to avoid. In the case of the interview that went wrong, I had ultimately decided that even if offered a position at that institute, I probably would have turned it down. They didn’t offer me that position, but did offer me a 6 month teaching only position, which I did indeed turn down. It was not long after turning down that position before I was offered what I can only call the job of my dreams; a permanent full time lecturer and researcher position.

The Takeaway

No, you do not have to take that job. If you are good enough to get one offer, you are good enough to get another offer. If the position or the institute is not what you like or need, do not feel that you have to say yes to the offer. It is ok to say no.

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