From a Recruiter’s Viewpoint Vol. 8

In this Issue:
Beware the Danger of Counteroffers

Counteroffer Acceptance: Road to Career Ruin

Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Surprisingly, the very best companies rarely make counteroffers. They believe they treat their employees fairly and wish them well if a better opportunity exists elsewhere.

When you resign, you effectively have just fired your boss. Of course, they seem sorry. You are about to leave on your timing, not theirs. There is work to be done, which they were counting on you to complete.

If you receive a counteroffer, take a moment for a reality check. As tempting as they may be, acceptance may cause career suicide.

  1. There have to be strong reasons for leaving a job before most employees will consider taking a new one. Have those reasons disappeared? Will staying somehow solve them?
  2. If the counteroffer includes salary or a job enhancement, what is the source? Are you simply getting your raise or promotion in advance? Why didn’t you get it sooner? What happens with your next merit review/raise?
  3. You are likely to have seen significant opportunities at your new company – or you would not have accepted their offer of employment. These do not disappear because you received a counteroffer.
  4. Statistics are not in your favor. The National Business Employment Weekly reports that 80% of the people who accept counteroffers are gone within one year.

Your interests are secondary to your boss’ career and your company’s profit or survival. Counteroffers are usually a stopgap measure because of timing. Employees also don’t realize that they usually burn bridges two or three levels up. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you will lose your status as a “team player” and your place in the inner circle. Counteroffer coercion is perceived as blackmail. The No.1 priority becomes finding your replacement ASAP! Fight the urge to accept a counteroffer and keep on cleaning out your desk.

How can you avoid the messy, embarrassing nature of a counteroffer!

  1. Take charge of the situation
  2. Resign in writing and hand your resignation to your boss
  3. Tell them you have carefully weighed the pros and cons and have accepted a new position
  4. Do not recite a list of grievances that will only fuel a debate
  5. Request that they respect your decision and will work with you for an amicable departure

Regardless of how you feel about your indispensability, the company will survive, they will replace you and life goes on.


Next Issue:
Tips for Better Telephone Interviews
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