You’ve decided you need to make a job change and have been on the hunt. Maybe you’re looking for additional compensation, better work/life balance or that promotion went to someone else.
You’ve been offered a new opportunity, and now you’re walking into your boss’s office to put in your two-week notice. You inform him or her that you’ve received another job and that you’ve decided to take it.
Your boss isn’t letting you go that easy. Seemingly out of nowhere, your boss presents a counter offer and is trying to convince you to stay. This may come unexpectedly for you, and now you must make the quick decision to either entertain the counter offer or to decline it for the new opportunity.
Sound familiar? It does for many candidates in today’s competitive job market.
With the national unemployment rate at an all time low, counter offers are becoming increasingly common, and candidates are facing this decision now more than ever before.
But, a counter offer might not be all that it seems. If you’re a candidate who is considering accepting your current employer’s counter offer, here are some things to be aware of before you do.
1. Counter offers don’t guarantee change.
Regardless of what the specific reason was, there was a reason you started exploring your options, and soon, those reasons rear their ugly heads again. In fact, we see that most employees who accept counter offers leave their company within a year anyway.
Simply put: accepting more money from your employer doesn’t mean that the issues that drove you to look for a new job will suddenly be resolved. Remember that it isn’t guaranteed that anything will change about your current position, even if you accept the counter offer and decide to stay.
It also shouldn’t take the threat of leaving for your employer to give you a raise, flexibility or the affirmation you’ve been asking for.
2. You could be positioning yourself for risk.
Now that you’ve expressed interest in leaving (and everyone’s feelings have been brought to the table), the discussion may leave a bad taste in the company’s mouth. While you may get exactly what you want in your counter offer, your employer may not be quite as optimistic about the future.
If you decide to accept the counter offer and stay with your current employer, your supervisors may now consider you a flight risk. If cuts need to be made in the future, you could be the first to go. Or if your employer isn’t certain that you’ll stick around, you may be overlooked for projects or promotions.
Remember that even if a counter offer has restored your sense of loyalty and enthusiasm, it isn’t certain that your employer will feel the same way when all is said and done.
3. Your company may care more about saving the expense of your replacement than retaining you.
There are a few reasons your current company may be doing whatever it takes to make you stay—and they’re not all as flattering as you may think.
Because the unemployment rate is low, many of the qualified candidates who your company would seek out to replace you already have a job, and they’re not actively seeking to make a change. Companies are having an increasingly difficult time finding talented candidates, and when a role is filled, they want to keep it that way!
Recruiting fees are expensive, and training new employees takes time. Basically, it’s easier for your employer to offer you more money to stay than it is to go through the trouble of finding and training your replacement.
Preparing to Hear a Counter Offer
Don’t let the counter offer conversation blindside you. Begin preparing yourself for this possibility upon your resignation.
The best way to respond to a counter offer is to: 1) be prepared to hear one, and 2) consider all of your options (and their consequences) before you turn in your notice.
- “What would it take for me to stay?”
- “Would accepting a counter offer have unintended consequences?”
- “Would the reason I was looking for a new job be resolved?”
- “Will things be different?”
Keep in mind why you were looking to make a change in the first place.
And remember, your notice is an announcement, not a conversation.