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Four Common Mistakes That Could Cost You A Job Offer

Four Common Mistakes That Could Cost You A Job Offer

by David Landau

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You’re feeling pretty confident; have been through the interview process (and avoided common interview mistakes) for your next Accounting job and all signs point to an incoming job offer. However, let’s not get carried away just yet. There are a still a number of circumstances that could impact you being offered your dream job. We don’t come across it often, but seeing a candidate do everything right just to fall at the last hurdle even once, is too many times for us. To avoid that fate, here are four common mistakes to watch out for if you don’t want to lose your dream Sydney Accounting job.

Taking Salary Negotiations Too Far

When you start your job search you would be well advised to research market rates carefully. If the job you are applying for is via a recruitment agency, then they should have spoken about the job’s salary and then represented you in line with your worth and expectations. This leaves everyone very clear of what salary to expect if you are ultimately offered the role.

This is where specialist recruiters like Richard Lloyd can be incredibly helpful as they have the data at their fingertips. It’s important to know the current market rates as demanding a salary that is too high will likely make you seem unaffordable or out of touch with the current market. Take a look at our Sydney Accounting Salaries report for an idea of where your role sits on the scale.

With that being said, if entering into salary negotiations via a direct application to a company, take a look at your priorities. Is it worth holding out for that extra 2% when more and more candidates are saying that salary is not the main contributing factor to their satisfaction? Be willing to compromise and meet in the middle. Not only will this provide more options, but it will help to stay focused on other important aspects. From the research we have done, salary is far from the be-all and end-all in terms of workplace happiness.

Not Taking Reference Checks Seriously

Choosing the wrong people as referees can seriously jeopardise success, which is why it’s important to list people, typically direct managers, who will enhance your application. A referee from 10 years ago is not going to be able to provide any up to date information on your performance irrespective of whether you continue to be in contact with them. Once you have chosen a referee, do them the courtesy of providing advanced warning to avoid them being called out of the blue with no time to prepare. Not doing so is pretty poor conduct, and can significantly hurt your chances. A prepared referee will be able to discuss past performance, dates of employment etc. more effectively than one who isn’t.

Prioritising references will also help to ensure everything is in order. If an employer comes across any gaping holes or conflicting information, then it could raise some red flags.

Starting to Negotiate Other Terms Late in the Process

If there are certain ‘must-have’ terms to accepting an Accounting job, they need to be mentioned early in the process. Whether it’s an upcoming holiday, a half-day every second Friday or remote working arrangements, dropping a significant request at the last minute will just serve to increase tension and could bring your integrity in to question.

On a similar note, ultimatums are never a good idea either. This is a collaborative process, which means requests and negotiations are generally fine, but there is no place for demands. Only accepting a job if certain conditions are met can indicate to the employer that you’re difficult to work with, which will cause more problems than an offer that’s below expectations. It is important that any requests are fair.

Not Being Honest

It may be a cliché, but it still rings true: honesty is the best policy. Lying about a work situation, be it current salary, reasons for leaving roles, experience or qualifications, or misrepresenting involvement in work and projects, can kill your chances. The truth is likely to come out during the reference stage, where key details are likely to be verified by the interviewer, if not earlier. Similarly, falsely increasing a previous salary in the hope of inflating negotiations will usually be fairly obvious for experienced employers who have a good understanding of the market and your 'on the job' performance will well and truly be exposed as sub-par should you be offered the job.


When it comes to Accounting job offers, remember that nothing is certain until the contract is signed. By avoiding these common mistakes and showing transparency at every step, potential employers will have no reason to doubt your integrity/ability nor any cause to discontinue the process at the final stage.

If you need further advice or are looking for support in your Sydney Accounting job search, get in touch.

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