The Counter Offer Conundrum

You’ve made your decision, the time has come to reach outside your comfort zone and make the move to pursue a new and amazing opportunity.

You’ve done the hard work, hunted down your ideal role working for your dream employer, followed the application process, attended a series of interviews, presented to the director and generally been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and stresses and nailed career opportunity of a lifetime. One that will challenge you, offer you a better balance with your home life, offer better reward, see you involved in a greater variety of projects, fit with your childcare, offer more flexible working…….

CONGRATULATIONS……… to let work know your decision.

Handing in your notice is rarely a nice feeling and it can be easy to be blinded to your reasons for wanting to make a move in the first place. After all, you know your job, (and can do it with your eyes closed in fact!) you’ve got to know the team and have made some real friends, you’ve even got the commute down to a fine art.

It doesn’t help that gut wrenching feeling when you have discreetly ushered your boss somewhere quite to have the difficult conversation when the inevitable question arises;

“Is there anything we can do to change your mind?”

A resignation can provoke a sickening feeling in the toughest of bosses let alone the one you have built a strong bond with. In that moment they will consider how they will cover your work while they recruit, how the hell they will find another you with the right size shoes (Can I suggest you point them in our direction, I have to ask!) the time and budget that will need to be allocated to resourcing and then training. They are duty bound to try to persuade you to withdraw your notice.

Think about why you perused the opportunity in the first place. It may well be that you weren’t actively looking for a new role, (many of the candidates we work with are passive) but you DID make the decision to investigate. WHY?

If you can honestly say that money is your ONLY motivation to move and your employer is offering you’re just that to stay, well who am I to suggest anything other than doing just that. Although personally I’d probably want to know why I wasn’t being rewarded accordingly in the first place.

In our experience (and its rather considerable) salary alone is very rarely the reason if you are being really honest and kind to yourself.

Our key advice:

Think about how you resign, your tone and language and be careful not to leave a sour feeling. If you decide to stay your life could become very awkward indeed. Your attempted resignation won’t be forgotten and may leave you in an uncomfortable position in the future.

If you decide to stick to your guns it is important to be respectful and thank your employer for their offer. You could even go a step beyond and offer to be involved in resourcing your replacement. People have a habit of cropping up later in life and the manner in which you handle this will go a long way.

Go back to the drawing board – think clearly about why you decided to pursue a new opportunity if the first place, will all of these points be addressed by staying?

Take a moment to think about what you have seen in the past, has your employer come good on their promises in the past? Knowing the direction the company is taking, is that promise of a promotion realistic or just flattery? Will an early salary review actually result in a rise? When your colleague was offered flexible working did it actually come to fruition?

At times we know that leaving the relative comfort of your “job” for the unknown “opportunity” in front of you can often feel rather kamikaze. But take a moment to consider the Pro’s and Con’s of both before you make the ultimate decision.

It’s true, counter offers are bad news for recruiters so look to your friends and family for impartial advice and ask yourself some difficult questions. Take emotions out of the equation and rank both offers against your original reasons for making a move be it location, security, line manager style, company culture, long term opportunity, career development and advancement and of course the financial package.

There have been occasions when I have advised a candidate to stay put, where the opportunity being offered is just too good to say no to but in the majority of cases we have to beg the question; why weren’t these offers open to you before you resigned?

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