How to handle a counter-offer

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Resigning from your job might not be as easy as you expected. What happens if you’ve accepted your dream role but when you go to quit, your employer shows you a tempting offer instead of a farewell handshake?

Remember why you wanted to leave


It’s important to remember why you planned to leave in the first place. Ask yourself why your employer is suddenly showing their appreciation for you. Is it only because keeping you on is less hassle than searching for your replacement?
In our experience, most people who accept counter-offers find themselves looking for a new job two to six months later because their situation was the same and the reason/s that lead them to look for a new job initially still hadn’t been resolved.

Be aware of trust issues


At the end of the day, if you stay, you’re more than likely going to be perceived as disloyal to management for looking elsewhere for a job. If you do decide to accept the counter-offer and stay with your current company you will need to work hard to regain your employer’s faith and a good deal of effort will be required to recreate the trust within your company. Unfortunately, they may no longer see you as loyal to the company and you may be in line to lose your job if the company was to restructure.

Most people who accept counter-offers find themselves looking for a new job two to six months later because their situation was the same and the reason/s that lead them to look for a new job initially still hadn’t been resolved.

Don’t Burn Bridges


If you do decide to refuse a counter offer, don’t burn bridges. Tell your employer you’ve made the difficult decision to take another job, and that you came to it after much thought. This is not the time to say that you felt undervalued and that you had a dreadful time at the company.
Your boss may have lots of influence on references in the future. Tell your manager that you’ve enjoyed your time at the company and have gained invaluable experience.


What happens when you take a counter offer?


  • The raise you receive with a counter offer is often higher than your raise would have been. What happens next is that your company might not give you another raise in a while because you’re still earning above what you are really worth.
  • They lose trust in you and future promotions might slip you by, because they are not sure when you might hand in your next resignation. This implies that you might not be selected for any promotions ever.
  • A year from then you will still not have grown in your experience and you are earning an exuberant amount, which makes you unattractive to prospective employers. So your experience does not match your worth. Your company has out priced you in the market.
  • Statistics have shown that the larger parts of employees who have taken counter offers are back in the market after only three months. This puts those candidates in a difficult situation. Their salaries are above the market value and this causes their options to diminish.
  • Also, your boss already knows that you want to leave and they don’t expect you to stay much longer, so while you are doing the work they need to get done and saying goodbye to excellent job opportunities because you have dollar signs in your eyes, your boss is sitting and going through resume’s, conducting interviews and selecting the person who will replace you in the long run.
  • By taking a counter offer, you are placing yourself out of the market, buying your company time to replace you and giving up on good growth opportunities elsewhere.

Talk to your recruitment consultant

Knowing how to handle counter offers can be difficult, so if you’re unsure contact us for more advice.

For more career advice please contact:

Jannie Slabbert – Specialist Recruitment Manager
jannie@letsrecruit.co.za
+27 (0) 44 692 0010

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