JSD Consulting

Counteroffers

When you resign your employer will be disappointed. A boss and a company who are proactive, professional and secure in themselves will simply accept your resignation; thank you for your contribution and wish you well in your future career.

Employers who are insecure and reactive tend to make some form of counter. Counteroffers are typically made as some form of flattery, e.g.:

  • "You're too valuable. We need you."
  • "You can't desert the team/your friends and leave them hanging."
  • "We were just about to give you a promotion/raise, and it was confidential until now."
  • "What did they offer? Why are you leaving? What do you need in order to stay?"
  • "Why would you want to work for that company?"
  • "The President/CEO wants to meet with you before you make your final decision."
  • Counteroffers usually take the form of: more money; a promotion/more responsibility; a modified reporting structure; promises or future considerations; disparaging remarks about the new company or job; guilt trips.

7 Reasons to Hold your Nerve

  1. Since we all prefer to think we're No 1; it's natural to want to believe these manipulative appeals
    Beware!!! Accepting a counteroffer is often the wrong choice. THINK ABOUT IT; if you were worth "X" yesterday, why are they suddenly willing to pay you "X + n” today, when you weren't expecting an increase soon?
  2. Consider how you've felt when someone resigned from your staff
    The reality is that employers don't like to be "FIRED". Your boss is probably concerned that he'll look bad, his career may suffer. Bosses are judged in part, by their ability to retain staff. Your leaving may jeopardise an important project, increase workload for others or even upset holiday timetables. It's never a good time for someone to leave. It may prove time consuming and costly to replace you. It's much cheaper to keep you, even at a slightly higher salary. And it would be better to fire you later, in the company's time frame.
  3. Accepting a counteroffer can have many negative consequences
    Consider: Where did the additional money or responsibility you would get come from? Was your next increase or promotion - just given early? Does your increase mean that there is less money available in the next salary round for your team? Will you be limited in the future? Will you have to threaten to leave in order to get your next increase? Might a cheaper replacement be sought out?
  4. You've demonstrated your unhappiness or lack of blind loyalty, and will be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain an increase
    You won't ever be considered a team player again. Many employers may hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-force "hit list".
  5. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same
    You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance.
  6. Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company
    After the dust settles from this upheaval, you'll be in the same old rut. A rule of thumb among recruiters is that more than 80% of those who accept counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within 6 to 12 months and half of those who accept counteroffers reinitiate their job searches within 90 days.
  7. When you make your decision, look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed
    Which opportunity holds the most real potential? Probably the new one or you wouldn't have accepted it in the first place.

A Final Word on Counteroffers

The rebuttal to the above advice that “a search firm has a vested interest in telling a candidate not to consider a counteroffer because they will lose all the time invested in the search and will have to start over.”

The majority of searches that JSD Consulting undertakes are on a retained basis. Our motivation for warning about the dangers of counteroffers is based on candidate and Client experience.

The acceptance of a counter offer produces losses all round.

  • The jilted company loses time and money.
  • Other good candidates who would have jumped at the opportunity have moved on.
  • The headhunter has lost time and perhaps some credibility with his Client.
  • The candidate accepting the counter offer has lost reputation with the jilted company, headhunter and perhaps further afield in the industry, and even within his own company.

Great companies and their managers don’t make counteroffers. They know these are the response of weak, insecure management and leadership.