Offer vs Counter Offer

Newspaper - comks9991Recently a client contacted me with the following question:

I conducted a six month job search and finally received an offer for the position I want. I followed your advice regarding how to resign my current job, and was surprised when my manager asked me what it would take to keep me. She said she’d try to get me a salary increase if I stayed. Now I’m confused. I feel pulled in both directions. What should I do?

What I needed to know was what motivated her to seek a new job. Was it because of compensation? Or was it the position itself? It could have been because of an unsatisfactory management style or capability, the firm’s financial outlook, her future prospects for promotion, and so on. Here are some issues for her to consider:

Damaged reputation

Historically, accepting counteroffers often results in career suicide. If you’ve withheld information from a recruiter or hiring manager, she may feel that you haven’t cooperated in good faith throughout the interview process, giving you a reputation for dishonesty which will not be good for your future career. The potential future employer will have a tarnished view of you, and while initially satisfied to have kept you, after a while, your current employer will remember that you’d been unhappy.

Career barrier

Your current manager may fear that you’ll be looking again soon, and not be inclined to consider you for better assignments or career advancement, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. Unhappy once again, you’ll resume your job search. Statistics indicate that most employees who accept a counter offer are gone anyway in six months or so, leaving a bitter taste of disloyalty for everyone involved.

Unresolved issues

Whatever your reasons for looking for a new job, they’ll still exist after accepting a counteroffer; unless your search was motivated solely by money.

Mauri in Orange BlouseHi my name is Mauri, and I am the President of Career Insiders, a career management and talent acquisition consulting firm. I speak frequently at conferences, job fairs, and career panels. I recently was invited to participate on a panel discussion at NCHRA’S Annual HR West Conference. I consult with career centers at universities including UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Tulane University, Mills College, and others, and contribute regularly to publications such as TheLadders RecruitBlog. I am what some might consider a professional “people person.”

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