Should You Take the Counteroffer? (Three Things Job Seekers Should Know)

Written by Camille Rock on September 15, 2022

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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.

But wait.

Your boss isn’t letting you go that easily. Seemingly out of nowhere, your boss presents a counteroffer and is trying to convince you to stay.

This may come unexpectedly for you, and now you have to make the quick decision to either entertain the counteroffer or to decline it for the new opportunity.

Should you take the counteroffer?

This scenario is a reality for many candidates in today’s competitive job market. Counteroffers are becoming increasingly common, and candidates are facing this decision now more than ever before.

But a counteroffer might not be all that it seems.

Connect with a Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting recruiter to navigate your job search and find the right opportunity for you.

Three Things to Consider About Counteroffers

If you’re a candidate who is considering accepting your current employer’s counteroffer, here are some things to be aware of before you do.

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1. Counteroffers don’t guarantee change.

Regardless of what the specific reason was, there was a reason you started exploring other employment options. Soon, those reasons may come up again. In fact, we see that most employees who accept counteroffers 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 counteroffer and decide to stay.

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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 counteroffer, your employer may not be quite as optimistic about the future.

If you decide to accept the counteroffer and stay with your current employer, your supervisors may now consider you a flight risk.

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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 counteroffer 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 job market is so competitive, 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.

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Companies are having an increasingly difficult time finding talented candidates, and when a role is filled, they want to keep it that way!

Training new employees takes time, money and resources from your organization. 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 Counteroffer

Don’t let the counteroffer conversation blindside you. Begin preparing yourself for this possibility upon your resignation.

The best way to respond to a counteroffer is to: 1) be prepared to hear one, and 2) consider all of your options (and their consequences) before you turn in your notice.

Before turning in your resignation, ask yourself:

  • “What would it take for me to stay?”
  • “Would accepting a counteroffer have unintended consequences?”
  • “Would the reason I was looking for a new job be resolved?”
  • “Will things be different?”

So, should you take the counteroffer? It depends on what you have decided is best for you and for your career. Keep in mind why you were looking to make a change in the first place. And remember, your resignation notice is an announcement, not a conversation.

Connect with a Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting recruiter to navigate your job search and find the right opportunity for you.

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This article was originally published on January 15, 2020 and most recently updated on September 15, 2022.

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