Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

3 Things You (Really) Need to Consider Before Accepting a Counter Offer

By Mark Wilkinson | Mar 8, 2017 | Candidate Tips

3 Things You (Really) Need to Consider Before Accepting a Counter OfferSo, you get offered a new job (congratulations)!

And then your current boss gives you a counter offer (double congratulations)!

It feels great doesn’t it? You’re a valuable asset that two companies are essentially fighting over.

So what should you do?!

First things first, let’s get this out of the way…

“Woah, woah, woah” I hear you say; “you’re a recruitment consultant, you’re biased.”

And you are right.

The single most frustrating moment of a recruiter’s job is the moment a candidate accepts a counter offer, after weeks of hard work getting them the job in the first place.

But that doesn’t mean that the advice I’m going to give you is biased.

And I am by no means saying “don’t take the counter offer.” I’ve just seen too many candidates jump into a decision, without considering the consequences and would like you to be as prepared and ready and you can be.

So throughout this blog, I’d like you to remember this stat:

50% of candidates that accept counter offers are active again within 60 days.

UK Recruiter

From my experience, I believe it’s much more than that, but I didn’t want to make up a stat!

Why people accept counter offers.

It would be incredibly tempting to accept a counter offer for a number of reasons:

  • You wouldn’t have to move and settle in to a new company.
  • You wouldn’t have to make new friends.
  • You’d be getting more money, to do essentially the same job. (Or would you?*)

Basically it comes down to effort. It takes a lot of effort to move jobs and that upheaval can be really stressful! If we can stick with what we know, then why not?

That’s why so many people do accept that counter offer – and to be fair, it’s a pretty good reason.

But there are three things you must consider first…

1. Your happiness.

So why exactly were you looking for a new job in the first place?

There must have been something that triggered your decision. Perhaps:

  • You’re bored?
  • You don’t really get on with the team or your manager that well?
  • The commute is a nightmare?

Whatever your reasons, keep these in mind when you’re considering a counter offer.

Will the extra money outweigh your doubts? Will you still be unhappy? Can you cope?

If the problem isn’t money-related, then it’s unlikely to just go away.

Recruiter Pro Tip

If the only reason you’re even looking for a new job is so that you can leverage a higher salary at your current workplace, then it’s worth considering why you feel you have to go to such extremes, to get the money you want (and I assume that you deserve).

If you have to essentially scare your employer into paying you more, it speaks volumes about your relationship.

Life’s too short to hate your job and money certainly won’t make up for that.

2. Your professional relationships.

I’m sure you’ve already given this a little bit of thought. But just in case, you should always have a think about how this decision will affect…

Your current employer

The moment you told your current employer that you were thinking of leaving there were probably a variety of things that went through their head.

  • They may have felt shocked.
  • They may have panicked a little bit.
  • They may have even felt betrayed.

Worst case scenario, they may have felt angry and resentful.

Unfortunately and I’m really not saying that this is fair at all, some bosses will hold a grudge and despite offering you a higher salary to get you to stay, their attitude may quickly change.

I’ve heard of more than one employee feeling “pushed out” in the months following a counter offer.

It’s not pretty.

Of course, not all employers will behave this way. You just need to decide which way you think your manager will go.

What are they like? How do they react when other people leave? How did they take it when you handed in your notice?

If you think that they’re a good manager and that they wouldn’t let this affect your working relationship, then great. If not, you should seriously reconsider your decision.

NB: you should also consider other senior staff will take the news. Sure, your line manager may behave professionally and understand, but the senior management team or even CEO might not.

Your potential employer

This is kind of obvious.

If you accept that counter offer (especially if you’ve said that you would never do such a thing) you’re definitely burning bridges with that company.

And who knows when you might want to work with or for them in the future?

Your recruitment consultant

I know; why should you give a damn about a recruitment consultant?

Well, I guess it depends on the kind of relationship you have with them if I’m honest. I know that if you find a great consultant who’s willing to champion you, they’re likely to stick by you in the future.

If you take the counter offer, they may not be comfortable with putting you forward for any job roles again in the future.

And considering that many companies use agencies and don’t accept direct applications, you may be sabotaging your chances of getting put forward in the future!

Like I said, these are all just things to consider.

3. Your career.

Finally, it’s important to think about the bigger picture when it comes to your career.

Your boss, probably out of desperation, has offered you more money. This could mean a variety of things so it’s worth clarifying the details…

Will you get more responsibility?

  • If you will; is that what you’re looking for?
  • If you won’t; will it make it difficult for you to move on in the future? Does staying put in the same role at the same company for years make you look unambitious?

And if you do take the counter offer, is your boss likely to hold you back in the future? Perhaps because they are resentful or perhaps they don’t have the budget to pay you any more than that?

NB: these considerations are all very similar to those you should be making when you accept any job offer. To find out more – click here.

Summary

I’m not trying to tell you what to do when it comes to taking a counter offer. What I’m trying to get across is the importance of considering both sides of the argument.

Because honestly, I know how easy it is to just accept one. I’ve done it and I regretted it.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check out these articles too…

If you’d like to read more upfront and honest tips like these, then subscribe to this blog.

Good luck.

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- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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