Counter Offer? Flattering, But No Thanks!

What is a Counter Offer?

Someone gets an offer from another company, accepts that offer, resigns with current employer, current employer then provides a “counter offer” trying to get that person to stay.

It is as hard as it’s been in years to find good talent. When someone resigns, many companies resort to counter offers to buy more time.

I am not one of those recruiters that will tell you to absolutely never under any circumstances accept a counter offer. Like any rule, there are exceptions.

However, be careful what you sign up for.

10 things to consider if you get a counter offer:

  1. Why did you consider a new opportunity in the first place? Factors often include a better career opportunity, new and/or better experience, gets someone closer to their career goals, perhaps better commute or better hours. There are usually a variety of reasons someone considers a new opportunity. More money with the current employer doesn’t solve any of these.
  2. Why did they wait until after you resigned to offer more money, perks or promotions?
  3. Is the counter offer genuine interest in keeping you or are they selfishly concerned with their own situation? Their team is now short-staffed, it can take a while to find a replacement, who is going to do this work. Some companies go as far as making employees feel guilty for resigning. Given all the lay offs we are seeing in 2023, companies are doing what they feel like they need to do. Employees should do the same.
  4. If business slows down, will they remember that you resigned when making tough decisions about who to keep and who to let go?
  5. Where is the increased money coming from? Your next raise? Or, will it even be paid…
  6. Is the raise coming in writing? I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve gotten a month after someone accepted a counter offer and nothing has changed.
  7. If you accept a counter offer and then in a year (if you are still there) are neck in neck with a co-worker for a promotion, do you think your resignation will come into play?
  8. There is a good chance your boss takes calls from recruiters. Will he/she think twice if a great opportunity comes along? Loyalty is a great attribute. Don’t let it be a detriment.
  9. Counter Offers are short-term fixes for both sides. It won’t fix why you were looking to leave in the first place. It gives an employer time to consider replacements. It keeps a boss from being temporarily short-staffed. It’s a band-aid. Statistics show you will likely be resigning again within the year if you aren’t replaced sooner.
  10. Lastly, the best companies don’t actually make counter offers. They are happy for you and wish you good luck.

Counter offers can be flattering. I get that. Keep these 10 things in mind if you’re presented with one.

Hiring a new employee?

This topic is important to you as well. A lot can happen between accepted offer and the first day on the job.

Keep in touch with your new employee. Get them out to lunch. Keep them engaged and excited about joining your team.

In fact, check this out: New-Hire Checklist!

6 Replies to “Counter Offer? Flattering, But No Thanks!“

  1. These are really good, Jon. There are times in my past where this advive would definitely have given me more confidence and leverage.

Leave a Reply