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What to do when faced with a counter offer

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Securing a new position is a stressful enough time, but after all your hard work interviewing and getting an offer, another obstacle can sometimes appear – a counter offer from your current employer when you hand in your notice. While it may be seen as flattering that they don’t want to lose you, and a pay rise is always attractive, it’s important to keep your focus on what brought you to this stage and remember a few key points:

  • Remind yourself why you started to look for a new job in the first place – the answer is very rarely about a simple salary increase. Was it a lack of career progression or motivation? Was it limitations within your role or the chance to work with different clients or a new sector? Remember, more money won’t change the environment or your line manager… 
  • Ask yourself why the offer has only appeared once you’ve handed in your notice. Surely if they valued you that much, it should have been on the table or mentioned regardless? What will be the impact of taking that salary bump now – is it coming out of next year’s pay rise or bonus? It’s worth remembering too that employers counter offer about 50% of resignations because hiring and training is expensive.
  • Consider the fact that very few counter offers are successful long term. Research claims that 80% of employees who accept them move anyway within six months and 90% leave within a year. Also, much of the goodwill, trust and loyalty you had built up with your employer vanished when you resigned, so chances are that they are buying some more time with you to be able to plan better for your inevitable exit down the line.

As a recruiter, the counter offer is obviously infuriating, so this is also a good moment to look back at a previous blog where we addressed our top three tips on how to minimise the chances of a counter offer happening!

  1. Discuss the candidate’s main reasons for leaving – if they are purely financial, the candidate is more likely to be swayed by a counter offer
  2. Bring up the counter offer scenario during the interview process, prepping the candidate about they might best handle it.
  3. Increase contact with the candidate through the end stages of the hiring process, having the candidate meet future team members and feel like they are already transitioning.