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Counter Offers… Pro’s and Cons

IT Recruitment

I imagine that everyone has come across a counter offer at one point or another? Potentially a candidate of yours has been counter offered, you might have received one when you last moved, or maybe you’ve been the manager clutching at straws offering one? Essentially, a counter-offer is a last-ditch, goal-saving tackle to prevent an employee from leaving. This might be offering a higher salary, it could be a promotion to a more senior position, it could (and this is my favourite) be a promise to resolve the toxic atmosphere within the office…

I’m sure you can guess why I’m doing a blog about Counter-Offers? Yep, a candidate who loved the new role, loved the new company, sacrificed the lot, and was convinced to stay following a 3-hour conversation with HR. They were offered a considerably higher salary than the one I had got them…

This article isn’t about me being bitter over this situation, believe me, I am extremely bitter about it! No, this article is about examining the reasons that might convince a person to stay in a job they were planning on leaving.

  1. Money

Probably the most simplistic of the reasons. If you are happy in your role but are leaving to get a pay rise that is completely fair enough. But surely if that is the case then you should only explore leaving as the last resort? Before leaving, why not exhaust all your other options? Have a chat with HR, talk to your boss about when your next review might be, explain your case for a higher wage. If the answer is a resounding “NO” then you know your future lies elsewhere. I find it rather takes the shine off a counter offer when they are offering you what you asked for 2 weeks ago. However, cash is cash, and at the end of the day we all have bills to pay.

  1. Promotion

Getting a little bit more complicated now, an offer of a promotion when you have asked to leave is rare. It's basically equivalent to telling your partner you want to see other people and being proposed to… Often a promotion might come with more authority, it might come with a higher salary, sometimes it comes with some more input into business decisions. Either way, it’s a better role than what you were doing before, and therefore does represent a genuine improvement in your circumstances. That’s why they are so hard to say no to. From an employee’s perspective these are a real treat, but if you are a hiring manager in this position, you’ve f***ed it. Chances are, the person you were trying to keep on will still be on the lookout and all you’ve done is give a disloyal employee more power within the business…

  1. “Resolving the toxic atmosphere in the business”

As I mentioned before, this is my favourite one to hear! Imagine waiting for someone to leave before making a conscious effort to resolve the cultural issues in the business? “Everyone seems thoroughly pissed off working here, but no-ones left yet, so let's just leave it alone”. For me, if you buy this as an employee then you deserve the lies that you’ve just bought. I suppose that since I’m not bitter, and if I’m trying to be unbiased, then there is a slim chance, that… nope, can’t do it… don’t think I’ve ever heard this one work out for either party when it’s been accepted.

Often these reasons come as a package deal, some of them are delivered, some of them are not. I guess that’s the risk you’re taking when you accept a counter-offer. But remember, sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

PS, if anyone has ever accepted a counter-offer based on 3, please let me know in the comments and let me know how it worked out.