The Counteroffer: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

We all know the stress that goes along with searching for, and hopefully landing, a new job. But what can be more stressful is when your boss asks you to reconsider and extends a counteroffer after you’ve made and announced your decision to leave.

officeAt first glance, the job dilemma doesn’t sound too bad. It’s a nice ego boost to have people competing for your talent and skills. But before you decide to stay with your employer or move on to a new opportunity, seriously think through and consider your options.

In today’s competitive job market, counteroffers are becoming more common as companies strive to keep their valuable talent. However, in many cases the counteroffer benefits the company more than the employee. Accepting a counteroffer can seem appealing if it means a higher salary and more benefits at your current firm; however, statistics from the National Employment Association show that 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within six months. What’s more, pay increases often don’t fix the other pre-existing issues that led you to look for another job initially, meaning many candidates that do accept counteroffers resume their job search relatively quickly.

Though the decision whether to stay or go is a personal one, there are common risks that you must be aware of before accepting an employer’s counteroffer. There are many factors to consider.

First and foremost examine why you began searching for a new position. Usually the reason you want to leave a current position in the first place is a good one. Be clear with your current employer and communicate your reasons for leaving. If you had previously spent time trying to resolve issues that were within your control but there are still issues that remain, these issues are more than likely not fixable. Now you’ve found a new job that is a better match for your career goals. Don’t let the allure of a counteroffer cloud your judgement and cause you to make a bad decision that will affect your career in the longrun. Think about what else would change if you stayed (besides more money). If your company’s counteroffer significantly addresses and resolves the issues that got you to look elsewhere, by all means consider it. But do so with your eyes wide open.

Next you have to consider the ramifications of accepting a counteroffer. Depending upon the relationship you have with your manager, and the corporate culture at your present company, accepting a counter offer could change how you are viewed. There is the possibility of being seen as disloyal. These feelings could pass in time, but it is also possible for you to be targeted for replacement (or passed over for promotion, important projects, etc.) at a time when it is more convenient for your current employer.

One word of advice: Be prepared before you resign for the possibility of a counteroffer and know what your response will be. Considering a counteroffer on the spot when it is made can lead to a poor decision because you may not have the time necessary to consider all the issues you need to.

In the end, it’s not just about assessing the potential pitfalls of a counteroffer, but about considering the value of new opportunities. If you stay in your current role with the additional perks that have been offered to you, will it offer you the same long-term personal career development as moving on to a new opportunity? Your current employer may have offered you more money to stay but that may not be a benefit that will pay off in the long run as far as growth and advancement. Your new employer will most likely be offering you the new role that can get you on the career path you want. Keep a professional attitude so that you can make an objective decision.

After weighing all the factors involving a new opportunity or a counteroffer, you will need to make a decision. And ultimately, you need to do what is in your best short and long-term interests. If you are a candidate looking for a new opportunity, let us help you find it!