Counter Offers...What To Do?

Posted: 1/15/2014

By: Elias Cobb, Quantix Recruiting Manager

In the recruiting world, I see counter offers very often. We'll get a candidate an offer from one of our clients and lo and behold, once the candidate gives notice all of a sudden their current employer has the means to offer a higher salary, better position, less travel, etc. Sometimes people accept the counter offer and sometimes they don't.

In my experience, people who accept the counter offer being made are generally back looking for another job within six months or so. Typically, whatever issues caused them to look for a job in the first place crop right back again; the higher salary only really being a Band-Aid for the short-term. On the flip side, once someone has given notice, the employer now knows they have been looking for a new job. They may make the counter offer to keep the person around and not have to train a new employee, but now the employer knows that person is not necessarily committed to the company.

Image Credit: Generate Accounting

So what should you do if you get a counter offer from your current employer? Consider a few things before making up your mind:

1) If you're leaving because you feel under-paid, why should you have to threaten to quit in order to receive the raise you deserve? Do you think your company will be all that willing to give you a raise in the future?
2) If not for money, why are you REALLY leaving the position? Will those issues raise their ugly heads again within a few months?
3) Have you expressed your concerns about your current position to your employer BEFORE you started looking? You cannot expect your current employer to make any changes to your position if they don't even know you are unhappy. A good strategy is to make sure your employer is completely unwilling to work with you on the issues before you start looking to change jobs.

My best advice is to really think through the reasons you are leaving before you start looking. Evaluate the issues and decide whether or not those things will truly change or not. Counter offers are often about money and you also need to decide the importance of money in your decision. Does it outweigh the other issues involved? Once you make a decision, you need to commit to it as fully as you can, whether it is moving on or staying put.