Why You Should Never Accept a Counter Offer
As a recruiter, I have been involved in negotiating hundreds of job offers. Most are pretty smooth, with the candidate being aware of the position’s salary range in advance. This is because I always make sure that this information is given at the very start of my very first call with a candidate, so there are no surprises later on if/when we get to that stage. I also go over, in depth, the reasons why they are considering leaving their current company and looking at the role we are discussing. And I make note of them because sometimes, I need to refer back to those reasons during the offer negotiation process, when the candidate receives the dreaded Counter Offer.
A counter offer, in simplest terms, is a company trying to save an employee from leaving when they give notice by offering them more money, or a promotion to stay. Companies do this because it is extremely costly not only to lose an employee, but to hire, onboard, and train a new one. But the problem is not only that now the company knows that you interviewed elsewhere and considered leaving, but all of the reasons that you considered leaving in the first place still exist!
Some of the reasons to NOT accept a counter offer include:
· The reasons you considered leaving your company in the first place are still there. For most people, it isn’t just money. Heavy workload, work/life balance, stagnated growth, feeling under-appreciated, and poor leadership are some of the other factors that get people looking for new positions. If you give notice and the company offers you more money to stay and you accept, you are not necessarily creating change in the areas you were unhappy with, and even though your salary may be higher, you will quickly find out that nothing else has changed.
· Almost leaving damages trust and relationships. So, you accept a counter offer and all will be good, right? Well, not so much. You are now someone who will be looked at differently. After all, you are the one who was willing to leave! Can you still be trusted? Are you still looking to leave? And maybe they made the counter to keep you just long enough to replace you down the line with someone more loyal. And how will this affect your ability to be considered for promotions? Are they going to risk promoting someone they no longer trust, and are concerned will leave to chase the next shiny new opportunity?
· Most people who accept counter offers end up leaving anyway. Studies have shown that 90% of people who accepted counter offers leave the company within a year, and that 50% are already looking for new jobs again within the first 3 months. Accepting a counter offer is a short-term solution at best.
· You are missing potential growth opportunities at the new company. I find that the vast majority of candidates I place in new jobs are growing their careers by doing so. Most are getting a promotion to a higher-level title, salary, and responsibility. Are you getting that by taking a counter offer and staying at your current company? Nope. People look for new positions for many reasons, but nobody does it to take a step backward. The time you spend staying in your current role for a few months, until eventually leaving anyway, could be spent learning and growing in a new one. Makes sense, no?
All in all, when it comes to accepting a counter offer from your current company when you give notice, these points should all be considered. Food for thought at the very least.
Have questions about finding a new job, or starting a new search? Reach out to me and let’s chat. I know I can help send you in the right direction. firstname.lastname@example.org.