You are here

Handling Resigning and Counter Offers

7 Feb 2019
Lindsey Boxall

Handling Resigning and Counter Offers


You’ve accepted a job offer, you’ve negotiated the salary and now you have to resign resign from your current job. Here’s how to do it:

Tell the boss

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare a letter. Then you should ask to meet with your boss - tell them of your intention to resign and hand over the letter.

Prepare what you’re going to say beforehand and try and anticipate your boss’s reaction. Hopefully you'll know them well enough to gauge how they'll react to news like this.

  • Be positive about your time at work; be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given and for the support you've received from your boss.
  • Remain calm, professional and polite and, no matter how tempting it is, resist any urge to get personal.

Once you’ve let your boss know verbally, you should hand over a typed letter of resignation:

  • At the very least, your letter should include the position you are resigning from and the date you intend to leave.
  • Your letter should include the phrase "this is my final decision and I am looking for the earliest possible exit".
  • Whilst constructive criticism is acceptable, don’t get personal or you’ll risk your reference and your reputation. You may be given the opportunity for constructive criticism in an exit interview, but again keep it professional.


Counter Offers - Counter Productive?

In the last couple of years counter offers or buy backs have become the norm in certain industry sectors, such as Construction, Legal, Financial Services and Manufacturing & Technology where talent is at a premium.

Flattering? Perhaps, but why has your current employer waited until you've decided to leave to reward your work when the new prospective employer has already done so without seeing your talents in the workplace?

Is it really the easy option to stay where you are? On the face of it yes; you know the job, the company, have built relationships and networks. Starting over again and being the new kid on the block is not easy. Change never is, but it is infinitely more rewarding if you're moving on to the right opportunity. 

If you accept a counter offer, will much have really changed in your day to day workling life? It could, potentially, have negative affects on your long-term career prospects in that place of work. Depending on how the situation was handled, your loyalty may be brought into question if at some point in the future hard decisions have to be made. For example, during downsizing or redundancies.

Many organisations will use a variety of methods to keep you:

  • More money
  • Promotion/future promotion
  • Personal development opportunities
  • New reporting lines
  • Emotional blackmail/pressure - "what about the team/project/tender?"
  • Disparaging the new company or job

There are a number of pitfalls that you should be aware of, if you were worth a certain salary yesterday, why are you suddenly worth a new, higher salary to them now that you've tried to resign?

Throughout all of this there is, of course, the new employer and the task of turning down the offer already accepted.  This particular position could have taken months to fill and the time and cost of sourcing the right candidate with the right skills and experience could be immeasurable. A rejection at a really late stage may never be forgotten or forgiven - Scotland is a very small place, especially in certain industries,

Think counter offers through carefully; think of your career in terms of the next couple of years rather than the short term and, above all, remain professional.

Naturally we have a vested interest in seeing our candidates through to starting successfully with a new client, but perhaps the most compelling argument against taking a counter-offer is the evidence and experience we've picked up over the years. We've learned that after six months or so the original reasons the person came on the market in the first place usually remain, or indeed are exacerbated, and the candidate hops back on the job market having maybe already missed out on a fantastic opportunity.

If you're ready for a new opportunity, or if you're thinking of recruiting for your company, please get in touch and one of our consultants will get back to you as quickly as possible.


Lindsey Boxall
Share this article
Advanced Search