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Counteroffers: To accept or not to accept; that is the question

The Headhunters, LLC > News & Blogs > Blog > Counteroffers: To accept or not to accept; that is the question
counteroffers negotiation

By Jennifer Barnett
What’s the process to getting counteroffers, anyway? Let me tell you… it’s a time consuming and stressful road. Before you even get to counteroffers, you have to get an offer from another company. That means you’ve gone through the effort of updating an attractive resume, applying to countless jobs, and taking time away from work to interview (which most likely eats into your PTO), just to find out you could get the same results with your current employer.

Before you put in the work of job hunting, ask yourself these four questions:

1. Why am I looking to make a career change?

counteroffers negotiation

There are several reasons why people decide they need a change. Some need growth; whether that’s money, career progression, more responsibilities or additional training. Others want flexibility, work-life balance, a better commute, or a better fitting culture. The list goes on! Identify your key drivers.

2. Is it a me problem or a company problem?

We all have bad days. It’s important to note that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Ask yourself if you can personally make some tweaks to influence the desired outcome or if you need help from the company. If your company can address your needs, would you prefer to stay?

3. Have I discussed my career goals and concerns with my boss?

counteroffers negotiation

If you need help accomplishing your goals then this is a great time to request a sit down with your boss. All too often, people leave without giving their employer a shot at helping them reach their goals. Request a formal sit down, give them a heads up that you want to discuss your goals, and get a timeline for a follow up. They most likely won’t have all the answers for you on the spot, but their willingness to engage in the conversation will say a lot.

4. Are you satisfied with the response?

If you’re happy with the response, fantastic! Counteroffers dilemma averted.

If not, it’s time to get your resume updated. Having the conversation up front allows you to know the outcome of a counteroffer scenario without going through the rigmarole of seeking new employment.

 

Easier Said Than Done

Fast-forward to the point where you’ve got an amazing new job offer presented by a company you have thoroughly vetted. You’ve worked hard to get to this point, the money is good, the people are great. Things are looking rosy.  Now the dreaded “break-up” conversation with your boss is coming. When it comes down to it, breaking up with your company can be difficult and even emotional. We spend a lot of time with our colleagues. If you’ve had the conversation with your boss prior to this point it should be bittersweet. A “hate to see you go, but happy for your new endeavor” scenario. Other times it’s not so easy.

When panic ensues

Let’s face it, there’s never a “great” time to leave your employer. There’s always a deadline or a project or a busy season. This can create a panicked Band-Aid response by employers and it usually comes with a large price tag or promises that can’t be carried through. Again, if you’ve had the conversation up front you know the parameters of what your company was willing to work within. If they go outside of those parameters in a counteroffer then it’s a Band-Aid solution. Odds are that “price tag” isn’t in the budget. If it was, why didn’t they value you enough in the first place? What does a Band-Aid solution mean long term for you?

Risky business

risky business

Accepting a counteroffer can be risky. Here are some statistics that will help fend off the urge to accept a potential temporary fix and put sticker shock at bay. According to national surveys of employees that accept counteroffers, 50%-80% voluntarily leave their employer within six months of accepting the counteroffer because of promises not kept. The majority of the balance of employees that accept counteroffers leave their employers within twelve months of accepting their counteroffer (terminated, downsized, fired, laid off).

In closing

Ultimately, know your worth. Remember why you were looking for a new job in the first place. Ask for what you want, and if you get it from your current employer, enjoy. If you don’t, it’s not worth holding your employer hostage with a counteroffer.