How to know if it’s time to pull out of the application process?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published On: 19 Aug 2020

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Applying for one single job can take a lot of time. There is the initial application, which will either mean you submitting your CV and cover letter or taking the time to complete an application form that the employer requested. Then, if you have been selected for interviewing, you will move onto the next rounds. Depending on what the job is and what sector, the interview stage can be made up of one, two or even more interview rounds. Then, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want the job if it is offered to you. The application process can be a long one and you shouldn’t feel tied down once you have sent in your CV. You are not obligated to make it to the end of the process if at any point you feel like it’s not right for you. It’s important to do your research and ask as many questions as possible to get a good feel for the job. If, from an early stage you realise that the job is not for you, don’t feel bad about pulling out of the application process all together. So, what signs should you look out for?

If you realise the salary is too low

You need to feel like you are being paid fairly for your time. If you have applied for a role and it doesn’t state, the base salary or simply says ‘competitive salary’ keep this in mind for when you get to the interview stage of your application. You can then do your research, see how much you are likely to get paid and if it falls short of your expectations once they give you a number, don’t feel obligated to stay. If it’s not right for you, simply let the interviewer know, thank them for their time and you can move on to the next opportunity. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable talking about money and should never accept something you’re not happy with.

If the interview process seems unusually slow and/or unorganised

The way an employer carries out interviews can say a lot about them. If you have applied for a job where the employer doesn’t keep you in the loop about what’s happening, then is it really worth wasting your time? Sometimes, the whole job process can take quite a bit of time. But it is their job to let you know what is happening, what you can expect from second interviews and how long you are going to have to wait through the application.

Organisation is very important. If they are unorganised during this stage, it’s likely that they are unorganised in other aspects of the business. You have to ask yourself if this is a company that you want to be working for? If you’re kept waiting, it might be time for you to drop out of the running.

If they can’t answer your questions or their answers don’t line up with your expectations

The whole point of having an interview is for them to get to know you and for you to find out more about the business and what they can offer you in return for your work. It’s important to prepare some questions before the interview and make sure that you are asking any that are important to you. However, sometimes we don’t always get the response we are wanting. If the interviewer either can’t answer your question or you are simply not happy with their answer, should you carry on with the application process?

You want to be happy in the job you have and if the employer can’t provide that then it might not be worth accepting the job, if they offer it to you. This might be another indication for you to end your application with this company.


If you don’t get a good feeling about the interview space/work building

For some job seekers, an important part of interviewing for a job is getting the opportunity to visit where you will be working. In some cases, this might not be possible, but being able to see where you would be working everyday can be a make or break experience. What does the place look like? Do the other employees look happy to be there? And what does it feel like inside the building?

You need to be comfortable at work, otherwise you won’t be able to work to your full potential. So, if you get a bad vibe from the building, ask yourself if you would want to go there every day. If not, this might not be the job opportunity you have been looking for.

If you find bad employee reviews online

Online reviews of a company can be very insightful, whether they are positive or negative. It’s a big red flag if you find a disproportionate number of negative employee reviews online! If you find the odd few then they might have had a bad experience, but is it worth giving up your opportunity? However, if you find multiple bad reviews that seem to all have the same consistent negative points, then you might want to reconsider your application.

Ultimately, you should pull out of any job application at any time you feel is right. You have not made any commitments to the employer and shouldn’t feel bad about doing so. Your reasoning might be similar to some of the points above, or you might have simply changed your mind or been offered a job elsewhere. Whatever the reason, make sure you aren’t sticking it through an application process when you really don’t want to be in the running any longer. Do what is best for you and your job search in the long run.