Let’s Talk Resignations & Counter Offers.

Dear Platinum Recruiting,

What is the best way to approach your current employer about accepting an offer with another company and how do you best handle what could come up when you resign, such as a counter offer?

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Dear Jon Doe,

Time for some tough love: If your mind is made up, it doesn’t matter what comes at you during the resignation. You simply resign. It’s not a comfortable conversation but you know it’s the next step.If you are uncertain with how you might respond to a counter offer I would suggest you aren’t quite sure about the new opportunity you accepted.

So where does that leave us? Resigning the right way starts with making the decision to leave for the right reasons. I believe that if you are truly excited about a new opportunity, for the right reasons, your resignation should be straightforward. You shouldn’t be interested in a counter offer. If you’re thinking of leaving simply because of the money, you should discuss this with your current employer sooner. More on that further down.

When looking at a resignation in this manner, the emphasis shifts to your decision to accept an offer to leave. Are you leaving for the right reasons? Are you excited? Are you doing the right thing?

We helped over 100 people find new opportunities in 2016. Changing jobs is a huge decision! It’s often a team decision with a significant other.  We do not take it lightly. Having been part of thousands of resignations as a firm, we’ve seen everything! This unique perspective creates a responsibility to share lessons learned and simplify the decision-making process for people we work with.

Last year I offered a 3-Step process to break down a decision regarding an offer. Detailed blog: Should I Accept?

  1. Do you want the job? Forget the details, don’t worry about benefits or salary. Do you want the job? Do you want the details to work out?
  2. If yes, what will your resume look like in 3-5 years? Your next job is not your last. Picture your resume 3 to 5 years out if you accept this job. Will you be more marketable? Closer to your goals? How does it look compared to if you stay where you are?
  3. Like what you see in step 2? Congratulations. Now it’s time to figure out the details. Details don’t matter unless you say yes to step 1 and like what you see in step 2.

If you feel good about your decision after this 3-Step process, there’s only one thing left to do: Resign.

Prepare a resignation letter (Sample Resignation Letter) and sit down with your boss in person to discuss. Preparing a resignation letter doesn’t mean the conversation needs to be super rigid or formal.

However, preparing a the letter shows you’ve put a lot of thought into this and your decision is final. It sets the tone for the conversation.

Of course, all of this should be done in a respectful and thoughtful way. They’ve hopefully done a lot for you. Conversely, you’ve hopefully done a lot for them! It’s a two-way street. Employers should be thankful and appreciative as well.

Remember, as you approach resignation, your decision should be made. If you’re fishing for a counter offer or hoping something will work out with your current employer, you’re doing it wrong.

If you love everything about your job but think you deserve to be making more, talk to someone earlier in the process. Asking for a raise isn’t comfortable for a lot of people. Think about this:

The further your career progresses the more important it will be that you can have difficult and/or uncomfortable conversations.

Your employer will appreciate you communicating with them prior to walking in with an offer letter from another company. If they can provide the raise you’re looking for or create a plan to get there, great. If not, at least they know where you stand.

If you are presented with a counter-offer, whether you were looking for one or not, please read these 10 things you should strongly consider before accepting a counter offer: Beware of the Counter Offer!

I often hear “Well, I’m good friends with my boss” or “They’ve done so much for me” and “it’s only fair that I give them a chance to make something work before I officially resign.”


Fair would be approaching this person you respect much earlier in the process if your goal was to stay but make more money.

Walking in with an offer letter and holding that over their head at the 11th hour is the opposite of fair. That’s more of a threat than being fair and creates a high pressure situation.

If you truly value the relationship with your boss, and you prefer to keep that job, they’ll appreciate you taking a more proactive approach and not getting backed into a corner.

Lastly, keep in mind your bosses have careers too. They’ve changed jobs. They’ve had to resign. They’ve had staff leave.

Maybe you haven’t had this conversation many times but they probably have. In my experience bosses are far more understanding and supportive than you anticipate going into the conversation. Sure, they’ll miss you and your contributions. But most people’s current jobs aren’t their last. People want to be challenged, learn new things, have new experiences.

If your boss gives you a hard time or makes you feel guilty for leaving, it will confirm your decision to move on and work for someone else!

In summary, your decision should be made when you approach resignation. I’m not minimizing this event. It’s a big decision to change jobs. But, when you accept an offer for the right reasons, it will feel like the next step in the process.

I hope this helps! What would you add to the conversation? If you think this might be helpful to others, please share where you found the post: Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Thank you!

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