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Handling The Counter Offer

16 Nov 2013
Lindsey Boxall

Handling the counter offer

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 does your current employer wait before rewarding you 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 accept a counter offer, how much really will have changed? Your loyalty may be brought into question and if at some point in the future hard decisions have to be made in terms of staff cuts, whose name might well feature on the list? Your company loyalty will always be in question.

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 remarks about the new company or job

There are a number of pitfalls that you should be aware of, if you were worth £thousands yesterday why because you have resigned today are you worth +++£thousands? 

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 and we do all occupy and live in a "small village".

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 as a commercial business we have a vested interest in seeing our offer acceptance candidates through to starting successfully with a new client but perhaps the most compelling argument against taking a counter-offer is the evidence which we've picked up over many years which tells us that after six months or so all our research points to the fact that 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.


Lindsey Boxall
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