MANAGING A JOB COUNTEROFFER
If you are an employed job seeker,
you may receive a counteroffer from your employer once he or she learns of
your new job opportunity. If you receive a counteroffer, what should you do?
Although some employer’s may react to your resignation by extending
a matching or attractive counteroffer, most resignations result in your immediate
dismissal or in an extended series of discussions and counter measures designed
to keep you with the firm as long as possible while the employer finds your
Employers who make counteroffers typically make them out of desperation and
panic. They realize that their financial loss will be greater losing a productive
employee and paying to find a replacement, than losing the cash associated
with a counteroffer which may get you to stay.
Most career experts will advise you that it is better to reject a counteroffer
than to accept it. According to a well known study by the Fordyce Letter,
8 out of 10 candidates who accept a counteroffer from their current employer,
end up leaving anyway within the first 12 months (“Counteroffer Acceptance:
Road to Career Ruin” published by Paul Hawkinson with the Fordyce Letter).
There are many reasons why you should not accept a counteroffer. To begin
with, your resignation will likely result in a breakdown in employer trust.
Most managers never forget a resignation, and will always question your future
loyalty. Earning a promotion by resigning sends the wrong message to coworkers,
and will leave unanswered questions in everyone’s mind about whether
or not you truly earned it. You are also left wondering if you will need to
resign again the next time you seek a promotion. Finally, it’s a fact
that people and companies seldom change, and the reasons and circumstances
that motivated you to leave the firm in the first place will likely remain
If you decide to resign, it is usually best to do so in writing to create
a sense of finality and certainty for all parties involved. By showing an
unwavering commitment to your new career opportunity, you are less likely
to be dragged into a series of heated discussions that neither you nor your
employer want. By expressing any signs of uncertainty in your decision, you
offer the employer false hope of you staying, which will only encourage them
to invest themselves more deeply in a counteroffer strategy. The more time
the employer invests in trying to keep you, the harder he or she will take
it when you finally say no.
By opening the door to a counteroffer, you jeopardize your relationship with
your new employer who has proven that they recognize your talent, and are
willing to risk their future by investing in you. In addition, accepting a
new employer’s offer is a commitment that most employers expect you
to honor. By accepting an offer from a new employer and then rejecting it
to accept a counteroffer from your current employer will make the new employer
feel used. Besides being damaging to your reputation, there may also be legal
consequences to such a breach.
If there is any interest on your part to stay with your current employer,
you should first discuss with them what the internal opportunities are before
looking outside the organization. If you choose to look at outside opportunities
and accept a new job offer, stick with your commitment and avoid the counteroffer
Article published in CONSTRUCTION
EXECUTIVE REPORT – March 6, 2008
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