Will you or won’t you?

Before you start looking for a new job, you need to determine if you will accept or reject a counter offer after resigning from your current position.

Most people have no clue how they’ll deal with this scenario which can create a big problem and potentially harm their career over the long haul.

In fact, many industry experts go as far to say that accepting a counter offer is a “career killer”.  Ouch.

Counter offers are not something you should take lightly.  I highly recommend you decide how you’re going to handle this inevitability.

What does a counter offer look like?

Counter offers are presented after an employee has submitted their notice of resignation.

It’s often a salary bump but can also include incentives like a promotion, more paid vacation time, improved benefits, among other things.

The purpose of it is to dissuade the employee from quitting their job, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that which I get into a bit later.

Should you reject or accept a counter offer?

It depends. There are pros and cons to accepting or rejecting a counter offer.

That being said, I feel it’s generally better to NOT accept a counter offer for a bunch of reasons that I’ve outlined further along in this blog.

There may be the odd instance when it’s okay to take a counter offer, but that’s something that needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis to decide if it’s really a smart move over the long-term.

What is a counter offer really?

In my opinion, counter offers are really just thinly disguised bribes. Like any bribe, It doesn’t look good on the company who presents it nor for the person who accepts it.

I mean, think about it for a second – why should it take quitting your job to get something that you feel you deserved in the first place?  Especially if you had tried everything in your power to improve your work situation to no avail.

It’s kinda like a dysfunctional relationship where one person has to threaten the other person with a break-up in order to get the kind of relationship they want.  It’s sad, really.  ☹

Experts say the odds aren’t good

It’s a widely held belief in the career industry that counter offers don’t work out in most cases.

According to Harvard Business Review, people who accept a counter offer end up not staying in the job for long, with as many as 80 percent leaving or getting fired within on one year!

In fact, those who stay reportedly start looking for another job within a mere six weeks.

What this says to me is the reasons for quitting only come back to bite you in the ass sooner than later.

Top 10 reasons for NOT accepting a counter offer

#1:  More money or some other incentive probably won’t fix the problem, assuming there’s a good reason why you want to leave your job.

#2:  It shouldn’t take the threat of resignation to persuade the employer to finally give you what they should have in the first place. Think about that for a second.

#3:  It’s often a knee-jerk reaction to keep you in the job. The employer is in panic mode and needs to come up with a band-aid solution. It doesn’t mean they think you’re irreplaceable.

#4:  It’s easier and cheaper to pay you off until the hiring manager figures out a solution – like replacing you. Since you indicated you weren’t happy, they now have a good reason to let you go.

#5:  Your loyalty is now in question. Trust is broken.  Even if your employer decides to keep you in the job, you might no longer be considered for promotions, special assignments, etc. You will also be the first person to be let go when there are cutbacks.

#6:  You now look like you can be “bribed”. Your actions could be seen as “slimy” by others.  Your ability to be bought so easily might hurt your self-esteem.

#7:  It usually doesn’t work over the long term. According to stats, most jobseekers who accepted a counter offer quit or were fired in less than one year.

#8:  You burn some bridges. First with the new employer whose offer you rejected for a counter offer.  Second, the agency recruiter is now pissed because you rejected the job you said you wanted. Both of them will likely not want to deal with you in the future.

#9:  It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. You spent all that time looking for the right opportunity, found it, and accepted it, only to reject it for the company you said you were prepared to leave. WTF??????

#10: It can cost you in dollars down the road. The money for your salary bump (or whatever the bribe is) has to come from somewhere. You likely won’t see any pay raise or any other incentive any time soon (or ever) so that counter offer better rock your freakin’ world!

Reasons to consider a counter offer

I’ll have to get back to you on that! 😊

Counter offers stir the pot

Counter offers can stir up a lot of emotions. It’s not easy to walk away from more money or a familiar situation especially if you actually like your employer.

Let’s face it – it’s scary to take a leap of faith into the unknown by accepting an offer from a new employer – even if it’s exactly what you say you are looking for.

While there is a risk in leaving your current situation for something new, the risk might be greater if you accept a counter offer for the reasons I mention.  The last thing you want is to waffle and then go through a counter offer fiasco.

You’re either in or you’re out

Before you start a job search, answer this question:

How committed are you to leaving your current employer if you are presented with an opportunity from a new employer that meets your expectations?

It’s better and cleaner to be 100% committed.

If you can’t be 100% committed, then it’s probably best not to start the job search.

Get clear on why you are leaving your current job and what you are leaving for. 

Clarity is really important in all areas of life, particularly if you want to make a change. I hope this helps!

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I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.

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