How Do You Handle Counteroffers

Excerpt from Counteroffer Defense by Jordan Greenberg

Executive recruiters possess a uniquely valuable perspective regarding employment offers. We “sit” in-between hirers and potential employees as an objective counsel for both sides. It is essential to inform and educate our candidates about the pitfalls of reconsidering the offer that they had already sworn to accept.

Many candidates get “buyer’s remorse” somewhere along the line. It is natural to feel less than 100% confident about a new opportunity and it may seem less stressful to stay put, especially at a higher salary since 99% of the time this is the substance of the counteroffer. However, accepting a counteroffer may be the biggest career mistake you will ever make. There have been several articles published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times citing statistics pointing to the lack of success and retention companies and employees have with one another after a counteroffer is accepted.

The main reason that post-counteroffer relationships fail is that the bond has been broken. The employer will always be uncertain and suspect that the employee will listen to another recruiter somewhere down the road offering another position. The employer may act very aggressively, often with revenge in their hearts, towards employees who have already seriously considered leaving the company. The employee will always be wondering if they chose the right path.

Counteroffer Truths

1. Where is the money for the counteroffer coming from? Is it your next raise, early? All companies have strict wage and salary guidelines, which must be followed.

2. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.

3. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal and who was not.

4. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your coworkers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer-group acceptance.

5. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

6. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a lower starting salary.

7. When times get tough, your employer will begin to cut back with you.

8. Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride: knowing that you were bought.

9. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer. Why did you start looking to begin with?

10. Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of your voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year is extremely high.