If you resign your job, and your existing employer offers you a better package or a different job to stay; this is called a Counter-Offer. If you are thinking about accepting a counter offer to stay in a job when you’ve already resigned, or you’re thinking of using a potential employer’s job offer to get your current company to pay you more money read on.
We have over 400 cumulative years of experience at Wynne Consulting and we are regularly faced with these situations.
In the vast majority of situations, using another job offer as a bargaining chip to get more money may be tempting, but it usually ends badly. If you want a salary increase/promotion, then negotiate it on your own merits; or prepare to move jobs.
Whenever we broach this subject, we always get feedback along the lines of “You’re a recruiter, it’s in your personal interests to dissuade candidates from accepting counter-offers as you will lose your fee”. This maybe the case with other recruiters, but for us this is not the case and is missing the point.
If we approach you, and you are happy with your job then you will reject our approach and we move on. Over 60% of the individuals we approach aren’t interested. We get these rejections every day of the week and we move on, no problems.
If however you are unhappy with your job and you go for interview; and then accept a job offer – you have made a conscious decision to leave your existing job.
Wynne Consulting have no issues with anyone rejecting the chance to interview for a job. If it’s not right for you – then it’s not right; but our advice is stay in control of your situation and don’t be swayed by others. In most cases, the counter offer doesn’t address the core reasons that you wanted to change jobs, so stick to your convictions. Employers interview you with the best intentions, and even if you reject a job offer there are no hard feelings. The issue with accepting a counter-offer is in most cases the new employer has been informed of your intention to accept their offer; so to then reverse the decision is damaging to all concerned. Reneging on an accepted offer can commonly burn your bridges with a company; so if it’s a major player in your market be very careful.
To give you some visibility on how the process works, here are the 5 most common issues around accepting a counter-offer:
- Employers often make counter offers in a moment of panic. (“We can’t lose him/her right now! We have a major project they are involved in for the next 3 months.”) But after the initial relief passes, you will find your relationship with your employer, and your standing with the company has fundamentally changed. You’ve shown disloyalty to the business & you’re no longer trusted by the company. It’s quite possible that you’ll be at the top of the list if your company needs to make cutbacks in the future.
- Your company may simply want time to search for a replacement, figuring that it’s only a matter of time until you start looking around again for a new job. You might turn down your other job offer and accept your employer’s counter offer only to find yourself pushed out soon afterward. We find around 80% of people who accept counter offers have left the company within 12 months. The overwhelming reason is that the counter-offer did not address the core reasons that they wanted to leave in the first place.
- There’s a reason you were prepared to look at other jobs in the first place. While more money is always a motivator, usually there are also other factors that drove you to look; dislike of your boss, boredom with the work, stagnated company, lack of recognition, unrealistic deadlines. Whatever it might have been, those factors aren’t going to change overnight and they will start to bother you soon quickly.
- Even if you get more money out of your company now, think about what it took to get it. You needed to have one foot out the door to get a salary increase. Think how you would have reacted if you were the manager and your employee did that to you.
- If you do accept a counter-offer; in many instances you will “burn your bridges” with the company that you accepted the job with initially (which you reneged on). We’ve come across various scenarios where the company you shunned buys would company further down the line, or the hiring manager you snubbed turns up as your new boss in 18 months time. If it’s a company you’d like to work with, you might be shutting a door you’d rather keep open.
Finally – if you are thinking of accepting a counter-offer – bear in mind the following:
- You either take the offer or don’t. Don’t change your mind.
- If you are unhappy with your present company – resolve this before you put a “gun to their head” to force change using a threat to leave.
- Verbal promises made at counter-offer stage are often made in panic to try and keep you – and are not delivered. So – get anything that an employer “promises” down in writing.