We've seen this happen time after time so we're asking you to think twice before accepting a counter offer.
You’ve made the choice to start looking for a new job.You’ve dusted off the resume and started to apply to rolesthat seem “interesting.” Maybe you are motivated by money, maybe professional growth. We usually find it’s a bit of both. Whatever the reason may be, something is pushing you to begin this process. And it is definitely a process; secretly running out of work to meet people, hopping in and out of conference rooms to take calls or answer emails. It becomes a second job.
So let’s fast forward to the exciting news – you’ve got an offer, maybe two, from potential firms that want you. Here’s where you have to make a tough choice. Do you want to leave your current firm? Suddenly, you might find there are many reasons you want to stay. Most of the time it’s related to being comfortable (you have great friends, your boss is flexible with your schedule, you’ve accrued a lot of vacation, you may even have stock options). Let’s face it, change is scary. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll tell them about this offer and they’ll match it and now you just got yourself a raise! So now you feel valued as an employee and you decide to stay #winning.
As recruiters, we see this happen very often. While it can be frustrating for us, we do understand it and a good recruiter should respect your decision either way. However, more than often, we find that candidates end up regretting their decision to stay. So we've decided to take some time and help educate you on what happens after you accept your company’s counter offer.
The Aftermath of the counter offer... and so it begins.
The Quick Fix
If you are going to accept a counter offer and stay, you have to be really confident that the issues you had with your job before the counter are not going to haunt you all over again, even with the increased salary. We so often hear from applicants only months after accepting a counter offer that they’re still not happy or the regret they feel for not taking one of the other offers. Furthermore, should you decide to start looking again just a few months later and leave, how will this affect your reputation with your current employer given they went out on a limb for you and gave you more money to keep you there. The other scenario we’ve seen is that your boss gives you the counter offer as a “quick fix,” but ultimately is disappointed and maybe even angry that you put him/her up against the wall. They need someone in the role, but perhaps your stunt has motivated them to start looking for your replacement.
The Elephant in the room
This is a side effect people don’t often expect or think about until the dust settles. We’ll make the comparison to a relationship. You’re dating and think it’s going well. One day, unexpectedly, your significant other tells you that they’re thinking they might want to date other people. In fact, they might even have actually found someone they like better than you. In desperation, you beg them to stay and offer them anything they want. You get the point. Are you comfortable in that relationship moving forward? Probably not. A lot of our applicants complain that they find a new sense of resentment from a manager or a new level of mistrust (ie. Are you really going to the doctor?). Sometimes it’s just plain awkward. These things can really throw off a team dynamic and make work much less enjoyable day to day.
You Snooze, You Lose
If one of those other offers was with a dream company, declining their offer could sever any potential opportunities with them in the future. If you can really picture yourself somewhere else, it might actually be time to go. This takes some soul searching, but it is important that you really think about your future and where you see yourself long-term. So many times applicants come to us trying to re-apply to firms that they turned down in the past. Often our clients reject them with a simple – “they’ve applied to us in the past.” Their mentality is that if it didn’t happen then, it won’t happen now. And if you're waiting for a new hiring manager to step in, think again. Companies now have advanced applicant tracking systems so even though people leave companies, no information is lost.
Please keep in mind these circumstances will not apply to everyone. There are plenty of applicants that LOVE their jobs and use counter offers effectively to get what they want and stay where they are. But in this vacillating economy, we’ve been seeing a lot more companies make counter offers to retain talent. Our recommendation is to already have your mind made up before you bring the offer to your current employer. So if you find yourself in this situation, hopefully this article allows you to have a more informed internal dialogue as you consider your options and make the right choice for your career.
As always, best of luck in your job search!