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How and Why to Avoid Counteroffers

How—and Why—to Avoid Counteroffers 
You’ve been offered a coveted position with another company—congratulations! However, if you are good at your job, and your current company is in reasonably good shape, there is a likely chance that your employer will try to convince you to stay. It is in the company’s best interest to do this because:

  • Finding and training a replacement for you will be expensive and time consuming.
  • The company may lose money due to lost business from your work not getting done.
  • Other employees may be influenced to look for another job if they see someone else making a successful change.

The mechanisms a company may use can include:

  • More money in terms of base salary, bonus, stock, etc.
  • Promotion
  • Promises of other desirable changes to come in the future

There are at least three reasons why counteroffers can be very attractive:

  • Your emotions may already be stressed by the thought of starting a new job, leaving friends and co-workers behind and possibly relocating.
  • Change brings fear and uncertainty.
  • It can be a great ego boost when your employer asks you to stay.

If you entertain the counteroffer, you may succumb to it and reverse the objective decision you made. So what is so bad about getting more money or a big promotion with your current employer versus making a change? As tempting as it may sound, let's think about what it means:

  • You may no longer be considered trustworthy. When it comes to critical future assignments, management may not be comfortable depending on you. What effect will that have on your career?
  • Once management has solved the immediate problem of having to replace you, they may work you out of the critical path and let you go when the time is right for them. In which case you will find yourself relieved of the job you wanted to leave in the first place, but now you are unemployed with no prospects in sight. Being unemployed while looking for a job puts you in a much different situation.
  • The reasons you wanted to leave your job are not necessarily going to change because you get more money or a promotion. If those were your only reasons, consider what you had to do to get there in the first place.  If you let the counteroffer convince you to stay, the same push factors that prompted your wanting to leave will likely cause the same feelings again in the near future.

The best way to avoid making this mistake is to prevent the counteroffer from happening. If you are confident that the job you have accepted will satisfy your career objectives, then you should be able to resign clearly stating that your decision is irrevocable. (For more details on how to do this, read “How to Resign Effectively.”) Furthermore, you would appreciate it if the company would respect your final decision and not try to open up a negotiation. If the company does not respect your request and tries to facilitate a counteroffer, you have every right to demand that the company ceases the pressure tactics.

The Final Word: How FPC Can Help.
If you find that your resignation is being met with resistance, please speak to your FPC recruiter on ways to rectify this situation. Remember—making a good career decision is in your best interest. Do not let someone else force you into making the wrong one. 

Read the article, "How to Resign Effectively."

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