I’ve been given a job offer for a 4-month position as a developer. I’d really like to try a developer position as most of my other positions have been IT centric. However, I’m thinking of declining the job offer because 1) the office is a family’s house 2) I would be working closely with someone I didn’t get a good sense about.

1) I went to the address given to me for the interview and the office is on the main floor of a family’s house. The owner had bought the business 2 years ago and the business is 12 years old. I found out that the owner had other businesses with employees who work from his house. His business partner is his wife.

2) I would only be working with one other person and I would be working very closely with him. I met him at the interview and while I’m sure he’s a good employee and a reasonable person, I just didn’t click with him. During the interview he seemed to 1-up me each time I told a story in response to a question; for example when I was talking about trouble shooting a server and finding the motherboard was defective he said “and to take it a step lower, it’s probably a heating problem caused by faulty soldering where the controller sends an invalid signal to the CPU. Also I asked what people normally do for lunch (as isn’t close to any shops or restaurants) and he said “I like to eat at my desk”. I feel my reasons for not liking him or not very valid. In all of the self-development and self-help books I’ve red they’ve said don’t take a job just to build up the resume and I that’s what I’m trying to avoid here.

Any advice? Why would an office be from someone’s house? I need to call the manager tomorrow with my decision, if I do decide to decline how can I phrase that? I may say “the work environment seems too isolated to me”.

UPDATE: I called and got the voice mail and said "Hi. Thank-you for the job offer. I've given it some though and decided to decline. Hopefully the other people interviewed can take the job. Bye-bye"

  • 3
    "Why would an office be from someone’s house?" I worked at a place like this and it was mainly because it was such a small company (My boss, his wife and myself) and it was just more cost effective. They also had a dog and didn't want to leave it alone in the house all day. Eventually we moved into a small rented office for growth and networking reasons.
    – Alpar
    Mar 12, 2015 at 11:27
  • 4
    Lots of businesses start in a house, or more famously, a garage. It is not hard to get accustomed to an unusual work environment like that but the palpable unease you feel about the coworker is what really should trigger second thoughts. Of course you're not obligated to give a specific reason for declining.
    – teego1967
    Mar 12, 2015 at 11:54
  • Is there something the owner can do to make it more comfortable for you? E.g. ok, so it's in a house and that's not too good for you. But if you have a room that's specifically purposed as an office for example, as mentioned you can decline if you want, but assuming you want the position and want to make an impact on the environment, you wont succeed if you don't ask
    – Brandin
    Mar 12, 2015 at 13:08
  • @Brandin I did ask about working from home and working flexible hours and the manager said no because I'd be working so closely with the 1 guy Mar 13, 2015 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


Any advice? Why would an office be from someone’s house? I need to call the manager tomorrow with my decision, if I do decide to decline how can I phrase that?

Just say: Thank you very much for the offer, but I've decided to decline.

You're simply choosing not to work for this guy; there's no reason that you have to explain all your reasons for your decision. There will be other opportunities for you, and other candidates that this guy can try to hire.

If the guy presses you for a reason, and if you don't feel comfortable not providing an explanation, you can always offer something that's honest but vague, like:

  • I don't feel comfortable in that work environment.
  • I'm looking for something in a more traditional office setting.
  • I'd like to work with a larger team.
  • I prefer a more urban environment.
  • It seems like a fine job, but it's just not for me.

Don't let anyone pressure you into taking a job that you're not comfortable with.

  • 4
    +1 for "Don't let anyone pressure you...". Declining is a few minutes of discomfort, working closely with someone you don't get along with can be hours and hours of discomfort.
    – Myles
    Mar 12, 2015 at 16:32

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