Career Suicide: Why You Should Never Accept A Counter Offer

You’ve been offered a new role at another company, only to be surprised (and let’s face it, a little flattered) by a counter-offer from your present employer.

You are even considering saying yes. Let’s hang fire first and look at the longer-term implications of saying yes; there are a few- with many providing a less than rosy outcome.




1. You’ll have lingering doubts.

Let’s take the simplistic notion that you’re leaving only because the salary is too low. Even in this uncomplicated scenario, accepting a generous counter-offer can still leave you with some niggling doubts, such as ‘If they can afford it, why didn’t they pay me that all along? This is particularly the case if you’ve asked for a salary increment before and been denied. The figure they’re offering may show that they value you now, but why didn’t they make this offer before?

If, as is more likely, you’re quitting for varied reasons that aren’t all about money, maybe a lack of career progression, or a problem with the company culture, then no amount of money will dispel these doubts long-term.


2. They’ll have lingering doubts.

It’s not just you who’ll be wondering if you made the right decision to stay. As a HR professional, you know full well that once an employee has resigned then retracted their resignation, they’ve just marked themselves out as a potential risk employee, and from then on they’re under scrutiny to see that they’re delivering top quality work, and their loyalty and commitment is sometimes called into question.


Even worse, the person often isn’t offered the same level of trust for a while, and may not given the best projects. Do you really want to be in that position? In short, a working relationship is often tainted after a resignation— no matter what’s said on the surface, or the size of the check they wave at you to stay.
3. You’ll miss an opportunity.

You have gone to all the trouble to find another job- one that you’re presumably excited about. You’ve put yourself through the interview process and you’ve built up a rapport with this new company, to the extent where they’re excited about you coming onboard. Why not carry on with this new relationship you’ve built, when things are going so well.
You don’t want to accept the counteroffer, only to wake up in a few weeks thinking

‘I wonder how much I’d enjoy that other job. The people seemed really nice and I was excited about the opportunity.’




4. You may be self-sabotaging.

Often fear holds us back. You know the job you’re in back-to- front, whereas going to a challenging role full of new systems and new people can give us a bad case of the collywobbles. It’s therefore very easy to back down when one of the reasons for leaving is removed or reduced (i.e. salary dissatisfaction), because then you get to stay in your comfort zone. Many people also find it difficult to say no to their bosses- particularly if you respect them and don’t want to hurt their feelings by rejecting a flattering counter-offer. If you’re thinking that staying is an easier option, that’s a sign that fear might be getting in your way.



5. The job might not be yours for long.

One risk is that by resigning in the first place, you’ve metaphorically raised your hand to be the first person to be let go in times of downsizing or budget cuts. You may be offered a very attractive package to stay, but at the end of the next big project you might be managed out.




Before you get all excited about the size of the counter-offer, taking it to mean they think that you’re indispensable, take a cool-headed minute to assess how much it would cost in time and effort to hire and re-train someone into your role.  Then look back at that counter-offer figure.

Does it still seem like that much? While I don’t mean to rain on your parade, chances are that they’re offering that counteroffer to save themselves money time and inconvenience. This is not a criticism, this is business after all. Therefore, don’t get carried away reading something into the offer that may not necessarily be there.

If you are looking for support with your search for a new role, feel free to get in touch at @recruithuman or on 01709 717212

Subscribe for more content

Career Suicide: Why You Should Never Accept A Counter Offer