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Should You Take A Counteroffer?

Should you take a counteroffer? Or are you feeling regret?

Our Managing Partner, Tim DeMers explains the often overlooked or "hush, hush" conversation that recruiting consultants don't like talking about!

Leader Insights

Leader Insights - Should You Take A Counteroffer?
By: Tim DeMers, Managing Partner and CEO - Frederick Andrews

The counteroffer conversation is not an easy one. We have hired a number of recruiting professionals who never even discuss the counteroffer with their candidates; out of fear that their candidates might get one or accept one. They treat it like it's a taboo conversation. The truth is, it's not taboo, and if you are considering a counteroffer, leveraging your current role, or seeing who gives you the "best offer", you are not alone and I recommend you read this article before you make a decision. We can start with this, over 90% of the people who accept a counteroffer from their current employer, end up leaving that employer, within six-months of accepting it. But, why? The answer is simple, even if you were a passive candidate (not looking for a change), there was a reason that you agreed to have a conversation with another organization that made you an offer. And often, an increased salary or a new title does not change the reason you entertained a new opportunity in the first place. It is the proverbial "band-aid on a bullet wound". It will make you feel great for the time being, but over time, the reasons that made you look at a new opportunity in the first place, creep back in. The second runner-up for why people are gone in six-months has to do with the fact that their current company replaces them with someone that they deem more "loyal or trustworthy", etc. Let's dig in...

First recommendation:

Do not accept a position from a prospective employer, if you are open to accepting a counteroffer from your current employer. Not only do you add questions about your loyalty to your current employer, but, if you accept a potential employer's offer and then decide to accept a counteroffer, you are running the risk of ruining your reputation in the market, as they now question your integrity!


Over the years we have heard a lot of different tactics in presenting a counter offer. "But you are like family to us!"; "You were next in line for the promotion!"; "We took you straight out of college and gave you a chance!"; "How can you leave us now?"... "OK, what do we have to do to make this right and have you reconsider?"

Let's start with this: RESIGNATIONS ARE NOT FUN! And let's be honest, they are even less fun when you get offered a compelling counteroffer. No matter what the reason is, it's always an awkward conversation and 99% of the time you are resigning from someone you actually like. 

Chances are if you have given your current and/or former employer a resignation letter/call/face-to-face meeting, etc., you have heard one or more of the comments above. In a day and age where good talent is in such high demand, companies will say or do almost anything they can to keep you.

So here's the question.
Should you take a counter offer?
The answer is:
It depends on what you want!


The psychology of a counteroffer is really more about "guilt" and "false obligation" than it is about actually wanting to stay at the same company. We often forget what a counteroffer is; a counteroffer is a 'knee-jerk' response to an unexpected scenario.


When considering a counteroffer, we always advise our candidates that there a number of ramifications in doing so, but, the most immediate are the following three: 

  1. It is human nature for your current employer to question your loyalty to the company, role, and them. When a counteroffer comes out, it is a forced action; often due to the fact that they need your position to be filled. In life, "forced actions" do not normally end well, and always have repercussions. In many cases, we have seen it affect your chances for the next promotion. Once loyalty is broken, it is hard to get it back. So, if you get a promotion in the counteroffer, understand that may be the last one you get in a while, because employers do not like feeling like they are being forced to give a better salary, title, bonus, etc. 

  2. Potentially your 'Integrity' and 'Word' are now in question.When you accept an offer from a new company, then rescind that acceptance to accept a counteroffer, the potential employer will remember this scenario and it could be looked at as a character flaw, if they were asked about your integrity from others in the industry.

  3. Your replacement is most likely being recruited. The minute you gave notice and then accepted the counteroffer, your current employer starts their internal clocks' on replacing you. Your employer needs you in that position, until they don't. Once there is a question about your stability with the organization, your employer now knows they need to find someone who will stay, often that means replacing you.

Taking a counteroffer is a personal choice. It is not something to take lightly, and it is important to consider all ramifications before accepting one. If you are considering a counteroffer, we recommend that you weigh the pros and cons before moving forward with it.


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