Never Accept a Counter Offer

You’ve gone through the interviewing process and received a great offer-and a better opportunity with a better company.  You’ve analyzed and agonized over the decision to leave your current (good or bad) job, for what appears to be a better one, and you’ve accepted (or decided to accept) the offer.

However, upon resigning, your current boss asks you to stay and made you a counteroffer. Career changes are tough enough as it is, and anxieties about leaving a comfortable job, friends and location and having to reprove yourself again in an unknown opportunity can cloud the best logic.  But just because the new position is a little scary doesn’t mean it’s not a positive move.  Since counteroffers can create confusion and buyer’s remorse, you should understand what’s being cast upon you.

Counteroffers are typically made as some form of flattery:

  • “You’re too valuable. We need you.”
  • “You can’t desert the team/your friends and leave them hanging.”
  • “We were just about to give you a promotion/raise, and it was confidential until now.”
  • “What did they offer? Why are you leaving? and what do you need in order to stay?”
  • “Why would you want to work for that company?”
  • “The President/CEO wants to meet with you before you make your final decision.”

Counteroffers usually take the form of more money:

  • A promotion/more responsibility
  • A modified reporting structure
  • Promises or future considerations
  • Disparaging remarks about the new company or job
  • Guilt trips

Of course, since we all prefer to think we’re #1, it’s natural to want to believe these manipulative appeals, but beware!!!  Accepting a counteroffer is often the wrong choice. THINK ABOUT IT; If you were worth “X” yesterday, why are they suddenly willing to pay you “X + n ” today, when you weren’t expecting a raise any time soon?

Also consider how you’ve felt when someone resigned from your staff.  The reality is that employers don’t like to be “FIRED.”  Bosses are judged in part, by their ability to retain staff. Your leaving may jeopardize an important project, increase workload for others or even foul up vacation schedules.  It’s never a good time for someone to quit.  It may prove time consuming and costly to replace you.  It’s much cheaper to keep you, even at a slightly higher salary.  And it would be better to fire you later, in the company’s time frame.

Accepting a counteroffer can have many negative consequences.


Where did the additional money or responsibility you’d get come from? Was it your next raise or promotion – just given early? Will you be limited in the future? Will you have to threaten to quit in order to get your next raise?  Might a cheaper replacement be sought out?

You’ve demonstrated your unhappiness or lack of blind loyalty, and will be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain a raise.  You won’t ever be considered a team player again.  Many employers will hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-force “hit list”.

Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company.  After the dust settles from this upheaval, you’ll be in the same old rut. A rule of thumb among recruiters is that more than 80% of those who accept counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to 12 months.  And half of those who accept counteroffers reinitiate their job searches within 90 days.

Finally, when you make your decision, look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed.  Which opportunity holds the most real potential?  Probably the new one-or you wouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.


They’ll beg you to stay now… and give you the boot later!

10 Reasons to Never Accept a Counter-Offer:

  1. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.
  2. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.
  3. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you.
  4. Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride: you were bought.
  5. Where is the money for the counteroffer coming from? All companies have wage and salary guidelines that must be followed. Is it your next raise early?
  6. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a cheaper price.
  7. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer.
  8. Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go in one year is extremely high.
  9. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance.
  10. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?