IT Staffing and Recruiting Blog

Want a target on your forehead? Accept a counter offer

By in Job Search Tips, Recruiting Tips

Accepting a counter offer from your boss after you resign puts a target on your forehead

This could happen to you at your company retreat after you accept a counter offer.

Congratulations. You accepted a counter offer. Now you have a target on your forehead and your big red flag on your resume.

Taking a counter offer is almost NEVER in your best interest. It’s a gut reaction by your current employer that almost never works out in favour of the employee in the long run.

With the economy slowly starting to get back on track, we are seeing a bigger influx in job openings. If you were to ask an IT recruiter today, they would tell you that it’s a “candidate’s market”. Top job candidates are starting to receive not just one job offer, but numerous job offers.

You’re not a hot property. You’re a valuable employee with a reputation to protect. A candidate’s market is great for people like you that have the skills that are in demand by employers. The danger is when people become overconfident and start treating their career as if they are a hot property on the real estate market.

Just because your skills are in demand today, doesn’t mean that they will be tomorrow. Especially if you develop a reputation of being untrustworthy. It’s exciting to have multiple offers flying your way, but beware of the dangers of over-estimating your worth.

Once you have given your notice to your employer, you need to leave! Why? Accepting a counter offer means you are breaking multiple commitments which puts a big red flag over your resume. Plus it puts a target on your forehead. Because after you have resigned and then changed your mind, your current employer is planning to replace you as soon as possible.

Why accepting a counter offer is bad for your career

You are burning bridges. By accepting a counter offer you are damaging your relationship with at least two companies that value your skills enough to hire you. You are burning bridges that you might need down the road when you put yourself back on the job market. The company you stay with is going to put you “on the bubble”. Now that they know you are not happy about in your current role, they will let you go the first chance they get.

Things are not likely to improve at your current company. Most people who accept a counter offer will end up leaving the company within 6 months to a year. The issues that made you look for a new job are usually never resolved. Whether that is your salary, company culture, your manager or your commute. All of these factors will probably start to bother you again as soon as the realization kicks in that the $5000 raise you got doesn’t actually make that big of a dent in my bi-weekly pay stubs. Just remember that money should not always be the driving force in making decisions like this. You have now put yourself at the bottom of the totem pole.

Now your boss knows you are unhappy in your position and that you want something new. The next time there are cutbacks, you are going to be the one that they are going to look at.

Were you in line for a promotion? Count yourself out for that as well. Why would they want to promote someone who is looking to leave?

Another reason they might make you a counter offer is to have time to now look for your replacement. They are now looking for someone who has the same experience then you but at a cheaper price. Do not overestimate your value to the organization. Unless you are Superman, you can be replaced.

By accepting a counter offer would anything really have changed? It probably wasn’t only the money that made you look for a new job in the first place. My advice is to stick with your original plan. Just remember that by accepting that counter offer you have now burned a bridge with a company that believed in you and thought that you were going to be a great asset to their team. And your current employer isn’t too thrilled about you either.

Do you agree that accepting a counter offer is a bad idea? Please let me know in the comments.

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    2 Comments

  1. Hi Neil,

    Definitely agree with your article. I found out first hand what long memories hiring companies have. About 8 years ago I was offered a job and turned around accepted a counter-offer from my employer. 10 months later I was let go from that role, and about 6 months ago I had a telephone interview with the same company that offered me a job and they remembered I had previously accepted a counter-offer and told me they were no longer interested in me as a candidate. I wouldn’t have thought that their “memory” about what happened 8 years prior would come into play. I’d never repeat that situation again.

    Pete

    October 29, 2012

  2. Hi Pete,

    Thanks for sharing your story and I am sure that you learned your lesson on taking a counteroffer. By people reading the article and reading your comment, it does happen and you CAN get burned.

    Thanks again,

    Neil

    Neil Wiseblott

    October 30, 2012

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