Should You Take the Counter Offer? No.

After spending weeks searching for jobs, sending out resumes and interviewing, you finally have a new job offer, congratulations! However, when giving your two weeks’ notice, your boss approaches you with a tempting counter offer… should you take it?

As the economy improves and more companies are looking to hire, the pool of strong candidates is going to become smaller and smaller, especially for IT and Marketing jobs in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington and Richmond.

In my 10+ years of recruiting at a staffing and employment agency, I have only had one candidate ever accept a counter offer. He thought he was making the right decision at the time and they offered him everything he thought he was looking for. A new title, new job responsibilities, and even a little bit more money. Turns out, the things they “offered” never came to fruition and six months later he called me saying that he regretted not taking the other position.

This candidate did end up leaving his employer shortly thereafter and got a job he truly loved. This candidate is no different than most. National statistics indicate that 89% of individuals who accept counter offers are gone within six months and within eighteen months, 93% of those accepting counter offers leave either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Why is that? Why is it not in the best interest of your career to accept a counter offer? There are several reasons:

1- Why were you interested in the new job in the first place?

There is a reason this job enticed you. While money is a strong motivator, more often not there are other things that would really drive someone to take a new job position: location, growth potential, your boss’ management style, etc. If money was all you wanted, why not just ask for a raise? Be honest with yourself, is money really going to change the issues that brought you to interview in the first place?

2- You’ve lost your credibility and professional reputation

If you take the time to go through the entire process of interviewing, negotiating the salary, and accepting the role only to back out with a counter offer from your current employer, what is the likelihood this company would consider you in the future? You may be closing the door on a company that really interests you, and potentially other companies in their network.

3- Why is your current employer willing to offer you your dream job now?

Now that you have decided to leave, why weren’t they willing to do that before you got another offer? Why has your value suddenly sky-rocketed now that you have decided to leave the company? These are things to consider when you’re making your decision.

4- You’ve lost respect with your current employer

Here is the truth: the relationship with your current employer has forever been altered. They will always wonder if you really have a “doctor’s appointment” or if your car truly needed “repairs,” and assume you’re out interviewing. Once the trust is lost, it is hard to get it back. If the company does have to make cutbacks, who do you think will be at the top of the list? 80% of companies say that relationships with co-workers deteriorate and productivity falls among employees who agree to stay, and 70% add that counteroffers are perceived by employees as short-term cure to a long term problem.

5- Your counter offer may not last

Sometimes employers counter offer just so they can get you to stay, until they find your replacement. So who is to say in six months you would not be out of a job anyway?

Keep in mind, there are times when accepting a counter offer makes sense. However, this is an exception, not the rule. Take the time to really understand why you accepted the new job in the first place, and what if any would really change if you stayed with your current employer. Doing so will help you make an informed and unrushed decision that will truly benefit your career.



Author Name – Judy Goldman
Title – Senior Account Manager
LocationBaltimore, MD
Twitter@judybbgoldman
BylineJudy has been a recruiter for over eight years placing individuals in both contract and direct hire roles. She has a passion and love for what she does and is always trying to learn new things about the industry.
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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