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5 key questions to ask yourself when considering a counter-offer

 10th Feb 2022

You've been offered a new job, but just as you hand in your notice, you're approached with a counter-offer from your current employer. And whether it’s more money, more responsibility or a promotion, deciding whether to accept or reject a counter-offer is never an easy choice. 

The common statistic is that 70%-80% of candidates who accept a counter-offer end up leaving their company within the following 12 months, so it’s important you take the time to consider whether a counter-offer is going to be the best long term choice.   

Here are five key questions to ask yourself when you receive a counter-offer: 

Why did you consider a new job in the first place?

When you’re offered a job promotion or a higher salary, it can be hard to remember why you wanted to leave a business in the first place. But even if you take a counter-offer, you may be delaying the inevitable as mentioned above.  

There are plenty of reasons why people decide it’s time to move on, perhaps you’ve stopped developing in your current role, you’re looking for more flexibility, the culture has changed, you don’t foresee any long-term progression opportunities or maybe you've been lacking motivation lately. 

It can be flattering to get a pay rise or promotion, but it’s unlikely to be a long-term solution for you unless you can feel confident that the underlying issues that made you want to leave in the first place are likely to be addressed. 

Is it genuine? 

If you’ve been feeling undervalued for a while, a counter-offer might come as a bit of a shock.

It’s important to consider whether your counter-offer is made because your employer genuinely wants to keep you in the business and retain your skills and expertise, or because it’s the more agreeable option when compared to having to find a replacement.  

Recruiting can be a long and expensive process, meaning a counter offer may only be a short-term solution for your employer. So, before you turn down your job offer make sure they’re keeping you for the right reasons.  

How will you be treated? 

Your current employer now knows you have gone in search of new opportunities, you may be viewed as less committed going forward, which of course may have some negative connotations.  

Obviously, there are a lot of businesses that won’t resent your decision to consider leaving and if it is a cause for concern, you can regain their trust and prove your dependability through hard work and commitment. 

Thinking carefully about how it might be perceived within the business is very important.  

Will you be burning bridges? 

One of the biggest concerns with a counter-offer is the fear that you will be burning bridges. Whether this is with your current company if you choose to reject their offer, or with the company that has already made you an offer.  

The important thing to remember is that transparency is best. As long as you handle the situation in a timely and professional manner hopefully neither party will have any reason to hold it against you. 

As a candidate, being in receipt of more than one offer allows you to compare but never seek to play one off against the other, this invariably does not have a positive outcome. As above, communication on all sides as you go through your decision-making process is key.  

Will accepting make you happy? 

If you've been feeling excited and ready to begin working in a new environment and a more fulfilling role, this is a very telling sign that you shouldn't accept your counter-offer. 

Whilst it's very tempting to stick to what you know, with the benefit of a bigger salary or promotion, taking the time to evaluate your options and weigh up the pros and cons will mean you don't regret your choice down the line. 

Does the counter-offer deal with the reasons you chose to take another position in the first place? The answer to this question will lead you to the right decision.  

Still searching for your perfect position? View all available opportunities here

Written by Nathalie Smyth.

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