Should You Ever Accept a Counter Offer?

You’ve been approached by a recruiter with an exceptional opportunity for a new role with a start up software company, an offer too good not to run with.  You go through the process and agree terms with your new employer to be.  Now it’s time to let your existing employer know that you are leaving for a new position elsewhere. Then comes your counter offer…what do you do next?

Great employers don’t want to lose talent – especially to their competitors, so when you tell them you’re leaving they likely try and persuade you to stay by giving you a counter offer. This will most likely consist of more money, a promise of a promotion or any other benefits that they can think of!

Its all too easy to fall into the trap of accepting these counter offers. It’s flattering to know your current employer wants you to stay with them and that your boss is willing to pull out some stops to make you stay. Its easy to accept because you already know the company, the people in it and the way things work, it’s safe – so if you’re so good at your job and the company don’t want to lose you why hasn’t this offer been presented before?

Better pay, conditions and promotions may seem like a safer more sensible option, but you need to remind yourself why you were open to new opportunities in the first place. As well of course as why you have decided to join the new firm.

Will anything really change if you stay with your current employer? Do you have your counter offer in writing? If you’re seriously considering accepting your counter offer, make sure you do have the offer in writing – The last thing you want is to decline your new offer for a counter offer that doesn’t really exist – this happens all too often!

Why shouldn’t you take the counter offer?

Remind yourself why you went ahead with the opportunity in the first place.  Were you unsatisfied in any way? There must have been some real issues for you to have explored new opportunities. Remember that a new position is about more than money – its about satisfaction, motivation, success, enjoyment and career enhancement – don’t let money cloud your judgement.

The likelihood of any of those variables changing by accepting a counter offer in the same company you already work for is minimal.  You don’t want to pass up an opportunity that might not come around again…. Especially not if you’re wishing you took the offer 6 months down the line which happens in more than 80% of cases.

For us the answer is no… don’t ever take the counter offer.  Make sure you are certain about the new role BEFORE resigning – ask if circumstances can change but if they don’t make changes when you ask, don’t accept them after you have shown your hand!