The argument against accepting a counter offer

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You have found a new job, and put in your resignation, but your manager tells you that you are important and a key asset to the firm and provides you with an excellent counter offer.  As a job seeker, having two job offers is definitely not a bad situation to be in, but what should you do now?

  • Stick to your guns:  First of all, do not accept the counter offer.  When you make a decision to resign your job, you should be prepared for the company to ask that you stay, which plays on your emotions.  It is important for job seekers to remain objective and put emotions aside; this is business, not personal.

  • What’s in it for them:  In addition to appreciating your work and contributions, your company needs to take on the task of finding and training your replacement. So while it’s flattering to get the positive attention and perks of a counter offer, remember you are leaving for many reasons and your departure is a bigger headache for the company than it is for you.

  • It’s hard to unring that bell:  Let them know you appreciate the thought, but you have made up your mind to move on.  When you allow the company to talk about your future possibilities after you resign, you will be leading them on. Counter offers rarely work for the employees or employers, so it’s best to show your appreciation, but kindly let your manager know your decision is final.

  • Watch out for the sexy offer:  While money used to be the go-to big counter offer, currently big high-profile projects are what companies are offering to keep people at their job.  Companies will go the extra step to find out what the job candidate wants for a project/job role, benefits such as working remote / flexible hours or leadership role / technology growth.  Individuals need to review these counteroffers objectively, look beyond the company which was not giving you what you wanted before you decided to leave, don’t fall for the emotional pressure or the ‘gift basket of goodies’.

  • Remember why you were looking in the first place:  Job seekers need to remember why they began the job search.  They need to ask themselves: “Why didn’t these offers come before I had a foot out the door?  What will change if I decide to stay?  Will these things come to fruition?  Are these empty promises?  Is it just a band-aid approach?  Is the company just buying itself time to figure something out?”

  • Are you going to be obligated to the company?: If a job seeker accepts the counter offer and forces a company’s hand, they may then question every time you take a day off or a vacation.  If you weren’t fulfilled by your job before, a new project or extra money is great (short term), but in the long-run, it is probably better to go with your gut feeling and take that new job.

Doug Shade, Principal Consultant at WinterWyman

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