5 reasons why you should never accept a counteroffer


There’s no sweeter feeling in life than when you receive an e-mail from an employer titled Offer of Employment. It’s usually a welcome relief and reward for all your job search effort. But what you might not have been banking on was the response of your existing employer, who, upon hearing of your outside offer of employment, decides to make you a tantalizing counteroffer to try and keep you. You suddenly find yourself in a difficult dilemma. So, what should you do?

In our experience, it’s typically a big mistake to accept a counteroffer, and to make our point, we have set our 5 key reasons why you should never accept a counteroffer:

1. You’ll most likely end up leaving anyway

Apparently, 8 out of 10 employees who accept counteroffers leave their firms within 12 months, and 42% leave within 3 months. For whatever reason, staff who stay after accepting counteroffers end up leaving anyway within a short period of time. After all, an increase in salary or a couple of extra perks doesn’t exactly solve the dissatisfaction you were feeling that caused you to look for a new job in the first place. Ultimately, by accepting a counteroffer, you’re mostly likely just delaying the inevitable; only 20% of employees who accept counteroffers stay with the company longer than 12 months.

2. It can damage your relationships with existing colleagues

The fact that you have accepted a counter-offer to stay put in a job that your colleagues are otherwise happy in might not sit too well with them. Your colleagues may be resentful and see you as having received special treatment and/or they could see you as disloyal. This could harm your relationship with some staff, and you could find yourself being frozen out, which would be worrying as surveys show that friendships at work are crucial to your well-being at work.

3. It can harm your promotion prospects

Accepting a counteroffer is a double edged sword. On the one hand you secure a great deal, but, on the other hand, as word gets round that you were looking elsewhere your commitment and loyalty can be questioned. For instance, if you put in a request for time off, others might wonder if you’re interviewing for jobs again, even when you’re not. Or if you happen to voice a legitimate concern or choose to challenge a process, they may worry you’re still unhappy in your role. Some managers may even be reluctant to put you forward for promotion opportunities for fear that you’ll try to leave again soon and any effort to develop you will be all for naught. Ultimately, it will take you a long time to earn back their trust, and in the meantime, your career may stagnate slightly.

4. The underlying problem that caused you to resign may still remain

Research shows that many employees quit for non-financial reasons such as a bad boss or lack of career development. And since many counteroffers focus on financial grandstanding – that is, giving you an irresistible financial offer – it’s easy to be bedazzled into forgetting about your underlying grievances. This is all well and good for now, but when the euphoric effects of the counteroffer wear off in a few months – instead replaced with the cheap feeling of being “bought” – you’ll be left facing the same problems that caused you to consider leaving in the first place.

5. You could be seen as unreliable in the market-place

If you have gone through several stages of interviews and pulled out after accepting a counteroffer, it’s only reasonable to expect some frustration on the part of the employer and/or recruiter who have invested a lot of time in you. You could be seen as unreliable and they may be less likely to consider you in the future.

Counteroffers, while flattering, often act as a short-term patch, sealing over the cracks but not addressing the problem. And if you accept a counteroffer and stay put, chances are that in a few months time you’ll be looking to leave again. That’s why we recommend that you never accept a counteroffer, and always walk to the light at the end of the tunnel toward your new job.

Cutting Edge Recruiting Solutions is an award-winning recruiting and consulting firm that specializes in providing the best possible job seeking experience. We know what it takes for you to be successful and our experienced recruiters look forward to sharing that knowledge with you.

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