5 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Accept a Counter Offer

So you’ve spent the last several weeks going through the hiring process with your potential new employer, you’ve gotten an offer and you’re delighted. You walk into your Manager’s office to hand in your notice of resignation – “I’m leaving, it’s time to move on.” But your manager asks you to stay. Things will change, he’ll make sure of it, he promises.

Sound familiar? If not, it’s something you need to be prepared for as it’s getting far more common. Surprised that I’d strongly recommend you not accept a counter offer?

Here’s why…

1) You think your manager counter offers because they finally appreciate you? Think again.

You haven’t suddenly become a more valuable employee than you were the day before, your manger simply does not want to deal with the headache and disruption of your departure. Interviewing, hiring and training are costly and time consuming. Think about what would go through a manager’s head;

This is the worst possible time for Larry to hand in his notice, it’s coming to the end of the quarter and I cannot be a man down, especially with it being holiday season.

“I already have enough on my plate to deal with, now this.”

“I don’t have time to hire someone right now, I’m going to end up working 12 hour days until we do and the team will too”

“My boss won’t be happy with me for ‘letting’ you go.

Now he’s in a bad spot, the manager needs to reposition and change tactics.

“I have to say Larry, it’s such a shame you want to move on. Myself and the other managers had big things in mind for you after this quarter. Before you make a final decision, let me see if I can bring this forward.”

“You’re going to work for them? My very close friend worked there and said it was awful.”

“I wasn’t in a position to tell you this until now, you’ve forced my hand, but we were actually planning on giving you that promotion next month. That can still go ahead as planned, and tell you what, I’ll backdate your wage increase to include this month’s pay.”

Don’t let your ego inflate.

2) Counter offers are purely a response to you leaving.

It should never have gotten this far. You’ve approached your manager and sought more money, a better work environment, a different team, more responsibility, a promotion, or more challenging work but you didn’t get it. Will you have to put a counter offer in your employer’s hands every time you expect better working conditions? You should never have to “posture up” to get what is truly deserved.

3) Accepting a counter offer can seriously damage your relationship with your Manager.

Most hiring managers I speak with are not best pleased with being put in a position of having to create a new opportunity. They can perceive it as blackmail, and now that you have displayed what might be considered an affront to loyalty, you will no longer be seen as a team player, no longer be trusted, and your reputation will suffer.

4) It will affect your prospects in the Company for a long time to come.

So you got your promotion, more money, better benefits (or whatever it was) but what about the next time there’s a round of promotions. Raises. Will you be passed over? Likely. Next time there’s a round of cutbacks and redundancies, will your head be on the chopping block? Likelier still.

5) Most importantly, things are not going to change.

The deal breakers, the things that made you consider your position in the first place – they’re still there. Maybe you’re happier. Maybe you’re able to afford that car you wanted. But the deal breakers, they’ll come back. Does a leopard change it’s spots? No. Now the only thing that’s really changed is your pay packet. You took the time to try to get what you wanted from your employer, but you managed to find it elsewhere. I talk to a lot of people, that’s my job, and most who accept a counter offer move on within twelve months. An overwhelming majority. Let me reinforce why… nothing has likely changed, other than your pay.

However, if in the end you do decide to accept counter offer, get what was promised to you in writing, with a noted deadline for when these changes are set to be actioned but if it doesn’t pan out as you were told – don’t be too surprised. Ensure you end things gracefully with the employer or agency who worked with you on your new offer. Firstly, chances are it’s a small market and you don’t want to burn your bridges. Secondly, several people put a lot of time and effort into this process and out of professional courtesy, each one has earned a personal note.

Larry McCowen

Managing Partner | Quest Recruitment