Why I turned down a great job offer paying $275,000?

The recession is over. The unemployment rate has dropped below 5%. Employers are offering fantastic incentives for joining their company — free healthy snacks, unlimited vacation time, Divi bike memberships, and 100% paid health plans. The job market is shrinking and employers are having a difficult time attracting good talent.

Company Review

Why would a perspective employee turn down a job with this type of employer?

Its simple — a company review. What?

Yes. As a consumer, what is the first thing you do if your looking for a restaurant? Google it. Check out Yelp. Look at Zagat. Why? You want to  know if the food is good, atmosphere is comfortable, are they children friendly, and possibly, how expensive is the restaurant?

The same approach applies when seeking a new job. Read the company review on Glassdoor? Glassdoor is a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management. They also have varies sections for job seekers, salaries, interviewing, and company benefits.

Getting Started

Before I started the interviewing process, I looked up the company review. It had great benefits, pay above average, but the company reviews were below average. The negative reviews covered a year time span. There were 25 reviews. All from different business units. The common thread micro-management and “boys” club. I was not too concerned with micro-management.

Position

The team I would be managing were seasoned sales contributors. The attrition rate was high. According to Glassdoor, the reviews were from employees with less than one year.

The hiring manager indicated they were seeking fresh blood with the capability of driving change.

I asked her what she thought was the problem with the high turnover? She said, the veteran sales team has been in place for over ten years.

What is the problem? They will not listen to anyone. I thought to myself — terminate for insubordination.

Why won’t they listen to any authoritative figure? She said, “they are like family. If any team member gets terminated, they all will leave. They are productive, efficient, knowledgeable, collaborative, and they meet their quota”.

I said, tell me an employer who would not die to have a team like yours.

Job Offer

A week later, I was offered the Director of Sales job.

I asked the hiring manager if I could speak to one or two of the veteran sales people before coming onboard. She agreed. I learned that there is a “boys” club. If anyone interfered or disturbed the flow, they would be outcasted. Additionally, the “boys” club was intertwined with an executive leader. They were a protected class within the company. I also learned there were 3 sales managers hired over the course of 3 years who resigned.

Accept/Reject

I respectfully declined the offer.

The moral of the story is two fold.

#1) Websites like Glassdoor provides a wealth of information. The reviews are fairly accurate — some of you would probably argue against my statement. The same applies for restaurant reviews, hotel reviews, health clubs or even doctor reviews.  The truth lyes somewhere in between. Most of us base our decision on reviews. We read magazines like Consumer Reports to decide which new or used vehicle to buy.

I should have stopped the interviewing process before it got started. The first indicator was the lack of responses from the employer on Glassdoor. A simple piece of software called reputation management would have simplified the process for the employer to respond to the comments.

#2) Trying to restructure a sales organization requires executive buy-in with 100% cooperation. I felt trying to put structure into this team was going to be a losing battle even before I had a chance to get started. I can’t imagine the three other sales manager were not competent leaders.

I hope this company hires a management consulting firm to evaluate this business to shake up the leadership team. This reminds me of a friend of mine who works for a fairly large family business. The complexity of implementing change becomes challenging when one does not like conflict or want to upset the family dynamics.

I wish this company well.