Why Did You Accept that Counter Offer??

By Elias Cobb; Quantix National Recruiting Manager


Let’s describe a scenario here, one I have seen played out hundreds of times. You’re disgruntled with your job (a CareerBuilder survey in 2014 states that only 59% of employees are satisfied with their job – so almost half of the workforce in the US is not satisfied). You put your resume out, discreetly of course, on a job board or two, or you start applying for select jobs on your favorite job board. Much to your delight, several companies express interest in you! You are selected for a few interviews, and given an offer. Also to your delight, the offer is for the amount of money you asked for! It’s a significant raise from your current position, and the duties match up with what you would like to be doing. You accept the offer, and the next day, walk into your current manager’s office to tender your resignation.

To your surprise, instead of simply accepting your resignation, she asks you why you are resigning. You lay it all out: 1) The new job pays quite a bit more; 2) The new job offers increased responsibilities, and growth potential; 3) The new job has all the right skills and duties associated with it. Your manager asks why you never mentioned your need for more money and increased responsibilities before? She asks you to wait a day, and let her see what she can do. You agree…and lo and behold, the next day, your manager comes back and says, “We can match your new salary if you stay. Plus, we will plan for you to move into a role of increasing responsibility.” What should you do?

Image Credit: Image Source / Getty Images

Image Credit: Image Source / Getty Images

Well, my recommendation, as well as virtually anyone in the employment field, would be to take the new job and politely decline the counter offer. Yes, change is scary, and you’ll be the “new guy” at your new company. And you may love your current co-workers. So why shouldn’t you take the counter and stay put? After all, they met your salary demands, and promised to move you into a role with more responsibility.

  1. Your current company didn’t give you more money until you threatened to quit. Do you want to have to find a new job offer every time you want a raise?
  2. Your current company didn’t see fit to give you more responsibility until you threatened to quit. If they thought you were deserving, why did they wait until you tried to leave?
  3. Your current company “promised” to make changes in some way to make your job better. I think we all know what happens, quite often, to promises.
  4. You are now the person “who was ready to walk away.” Your manager will always question your loyalty, and you’ve now marked yourself with a big fat X on your back.
  5. You may be burning a bridge with the new employer / new manager. I know this might be a lesser issue, but if you liked that company and manager enough through the interview process to accept their offer, you may want to consider the fact that you may leave them with a bad taste in their mouth about you.
  6. Time after time, the same issues that caused you to look for a new job the first time crop back up. Generally speaking, we see that within 6 months, folks who accept a counter offer are back on the market.

It’s a rare case indeed where someone accepts a counter offer and stays on, happily ever after. My recommendation is to remember the reasons you started looking for a new job, and move on to bigger and better things.

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