Insider Tips on Counteroffers

If you are currently working but also interviewing and looking for a new job opportunity chances are you may receive a counteroffer from your company once you give them your 2 week notice.  What will you tell them?  Are you prepared for this situation?  If you answered no, you are not alone.  There are so many factors involved with interviewing and findng a new job that often the concept of a counteroffer is just not on your mind.  Here are some insider tips from BridgeView IT.

In short, accepting a counteroffer can be a bad idea. It is a hot topic now since the technology job market is red hot and companies are struggling to retain top talent.  Yahoo recently wrote Why You Shouldn’t Take a Counteroffer.

It is important to understand what a counter-offer is and what it means.

Counter-offers are often made with some form of flattery:

  • “You’re too valuable, and we need you.”
  • “You can’t desert the team/your friends.”
  • “We were just about to promote/raise you, and it was confidential until now.”
  • “What did they offer, why are you leaving, and what do you need to stay?”
  • “Why would you want to work for another company?”
  • “Why didn’t you tell me you were unhappy?”
  • “How can you just throw away what you’ve built here?”
  • “The company President wants to meet with you before you make your final decision.”

Counter-offers usually take the form of:

  • Money or some other tangible benefits
  • Increased responsibilities/promises of future promotions
  • Changes in reporting structure (especially if an inter-personal conflict exists)
  • Promises for upcoming salary reviews
  • Remarks about the new company or job
  • Emotional pressure to reconsider – guilt/anger tactics

These discussions induce confusion, buyer’s remorse and cause you to second-guess your initial decision. The fear of change can surface. You are about to leave a comfortable job, friends, location, etc. for an unknown opportunity where you have to prove yourself all over again. Fear of change can influence your decision to stay. No matter how good the new opportunity is – it can sometimes seem more comfortable to submit to the pressure put on you to stay. These are common human reactions and counteroffer proposals focus on these sensitive points to change your mind. Of course, we all like to think we are irreplaceable, and it is pleasant to hear how valuable we are, but accepting a counteroffer or appeal to stay is ultimately not in your interests.

Consider this. Why are they willing to raise your salary when you were not expecting a raise for some time? The reason is that when a resignation is tendered an employer can often obtain a quick fix by throwing money at the problem. Recruiters, employment advertising, training costs all affect a department’s budget. Why spend that kind of money when some well applied pressure might turn you around and solve the problem? It is much cheaper to keep you – even at a higher salary.

Employers do not like to be fired. Employer managers are concerned that they may look bad, and this could affect their standing because they are judged by their superiors partly by their ability to retain staff. Further, your leaving might jeopardize an important project, cause a greater workload, or affect the vacation schedule. It’s never a good time for someone to quit, and it may prove very time consuming to replace you. Some employers will actually tell you that your counteroffer is usually a stopgap measure because they couldn’t afford a defection at that point in time. The pressure of having to make a counteroffer can often affect the level of future trust between the hiring manager and the employee.

It’s nothing personal. While your employer may truly consider you an asset, and may genuinely care about you as a human being, you can be sure that your interests are secondary to your company’s interests. In other words, tempting offers and comments are attempts to manipulate you into doing something that is in your employer’s best interests, and not necessarily yours.


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