So you receive a counter offer from your employer. What now?

by Nikki in Blog

DatePosted on June 21, 2016 at 09:36 AM
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It’s a fairly common occurrence for employees to receive a counter offer from their incumbent employers soon after submitting their resignation, and they do this for usually two reasons:

1)    They recognise your value to the firm and are willing to increase your salary to reflect this (finally!)
2)    They think paying you a bit more so that you’d stay is less troublesome (or more cost effective) than having to go through the entire recruitment process and training someone up.

Suddenly finding yourself being bought back is flattering, but do these take priority over the reasons you wanted to leave in the first place?  (photo credit: Eric Prouzet)Receiving a counter offer can feel very flattering. But there are important issues to consider:

  • Why did I have to resign in order for my employer to recognise my worth?
  • By changing your mind and staying on with your existing employer, will they continue to entrust you with important projects, when you’ve spoken to other companies about job opportunities?
  • By increasing your salary for the same position, will they start to expect even more from you? 
  • Will you be burning your bridges with the other company that gave you an offer?

Very rarely do we, as employees, resign without first considering alternative actions. It’s normally not a 'spur of the moment' choice. Personally, in my previous role, the thought of changing jobs was in my mind for over 12 months’ before I actually took the plunge. During those 12 months, I assessed my job and career path, looked at what I wasn’t happy with, and tried to make changes. In the end, I felt I gave it my best shot and effected change from within, but ultimately I still felt unsatisfied so I resigned.

"Receiving a counter offer can feel very flattering"

Earlier in my career, I was on the receiving end of a counteroffer myself, and was asked – “Michael, can I do anything to make you stay?” This was an opportunity for me to request ANYTHING. A 50% pay rise. 30 days annual leave. A promotion and more resources dedicated to me. But I remembered why I wanted to leave in the first place, and it wasn’t purely about money, and it never rarely is. I stuck to my guns and stood firm, and have never looked back.

Employees who have accepted counter offers rarely have happy endings in that company. Sure, there are certainly exceptions to the rule, but for the most part and due to the aforementioned issues, they rarely end up how they first envisaged. 9 out of my last 10 candidates that had turned down an offer in order to stay on with their current firm, have subsequently contacted me again within 6 months to look for another job – and this time, it isn’t about money.

So, when you do receive a counter off, stick to your guns and a simple “no thank you” will suffice so that you can get back on track and look towards forging a future with your new employer. 




About the Author


Nikki is Star Anise's resident writer and curator of content on all things careers, coaching and recruitment related at the Star Anise Knowledge Hub. 

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