Evaluating a Counter-Offer: Should You Stay or Go?

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Evaluating a Counter-Offer: Should You Stay or Go?

It may be impossible to find objective advice for how to respond to a counter-offer to stay at your current job.

Your current company wants you to stay.

The new offer is exactly what you’ve asked for during the interview process.

What do you do?

And, as importantly, what are the risks (or opportunities) in making the choice about whether to stay or go?

We coach candidates and hiring managers through these dicey situations frequently –

The Counter-Offer – The Candidate’s Perspective

It feels good to receive a counter-offer from the company you work for – validation for the years of service you’ve provided and an overdue reward for the daily expertise you bring to your position.

And, while the counter-offer might provide more salary, a bigger title and a quick ego boost, does it address the concerns that compelled you to begin your new job search in the first place?

The reality is that often a counter-offer is a quick fix and not a long-term remedy for resolving any issues that compelled a candidate to look for a new job.

If the counter-offer is not enough to convince you to stay put, it is important to be gracious in when declining it.  Above all, you want to leave your current employer without burning bridges.

The Counter-Offer – The Hiring Company’s Perspective

Most hiring managers get nervous when they catch wind of a competing offer from the targeted candidate’s current employer.

It’s easy to think about why they’d be nervous: the counter-offer keeps the status quo for the candidate, it may offer them a raise they’ve been previously denied, or the offer might address an issue that is important to the candidate.

All that said, we coach hiring managers to take a reserved approach, by:

  • Addressing the possibility of a counter-offer as they present their offer.

After verbally offering the candidate the job and discussing the title and salary, we suggest throwing in a question about their current employer’s potential reaction.  Something like: Assuming our offer works, how will your boss respond?  Will they be surprised? 

  • Offer advice on how the candidate should approach resigning.

Hiring managers can help their candidate through the stress of up-ending the status quo through consultations about how to resign.  Provide some helpful hints on how much notice to provide or how to react if their current employer throws them a curve ball.

  • Don’t disappear – stay in touch.

All hiring managers should allow the candidate time while keeping an open dialogue.  If the candidate’s indecision creates a timing issue for the hiring manager, all parties should be clearly aware of their expectations for a final decision.

The bottom line – error on the side of exuding balance while fighting the urge to freak out.

Each person in the process has competing interests.  Candidates want the best opportunity they can find at a salary where they feel valued.  Hiring managers, in turn, are looking to fill positions with the best candidates that fit into their budget under the time frame they’ve been given.

With these competing goals and tight deadlines, balanced advice for navigating the process is tough to come by – particularly at its conclusion when your current employer tries desperately to convince you to stay.

What to do is more than simply trusting your gut.  Making such a pressure-packed decision requires taking a step back to re-evaluate what is important and the factors that led you here.

We can tell you a few things –

  1. Counter-offers from current employers typically do not address the underlying reasons you looked for a new job in the first place.
  2. 80% of employees that accept counter-offers leave their position in 6 months (that figure jumps to 90% over the next 18 months).
  3. Even after accepting their counter-offer, your current employer may begin to question your long-term loyalty.

So, should you accept the counter-offer and stay, or jump to the new opportunity?

Opinions could go either way based on who you ask.

The data, though, says to go.

Looking for a new opportunity or more qualified candidates?  Contact Goliath today!

By | 2018-10-24T13:41:32+00:00 October 23rd, 2018|Blog|0 Comments