Ok, here’s the scenario.

You’ve just gone through the long process of interviewing for a company you’re excited to work for. You’ve beaten off the competition and been offered the job, along with a package that’s better than the one you’re on. Delighted, you walk into your current manager’s office – letter of resignation in hand. You explain to them your intention to resign and thank them for the opportunities you’ve been given, and….

They offer you more money to stay.

Now what? This is a scenario that plays out all the time in career changes. Sure more money is great, but is it the right move to accept it?

The answer is no. You should never accept a counter offer; here are the reasons why…

Your Loyalty Will Be QuestionedWhy You Should Never Accept A Counter Offer

You take the counter offer but now you’ve highlighted yourself as the employee who wanted to leave the company, who can’t be relied upon for their loyalty and who will, more than likely, be overlooked for future promotions or advancements in the company.

In your manager’s eyes, you’re in it for the money. Your career progression will have suffered a serious knock.

The Extra Money Will Be Lost Anyway

I have seen time and time again as a recruiter, that the extra money it took you to stay comes at the expense of next year’s salary review. You’re effectively getting your raise a little earlier than you would have done and sacrificing the amount of time it takes to reach the next stage.

This might not be an issue where a company doesn’t have regular salary reviews (not a great company to be working for), but you really need to ask yourself – “Should it take me threatening to leave before they see my value?”

Burning Bridges

Remember the company that spent all that time meeting with you, interviewing you and turning others down so they could offer you the job? Well in most cases, they’ve had to go straight back to the beginning to start the hiring process from scratch.

This leaves a bad taste in a hiring managers, and indeed company’s, mouth. They expect, as you would, that candidates that make it to the final stage are fully invested in leaving their current company and want to work with them. Being made to feel like a pawn in your salary negotiations is not going to go down well at all.

On top of this, if you used the services of a recruiter, you can pretty much kiss that relationship goodbye. They don’t always get the best rep, but they’ve invested a lot of time in you – selling your profile, arranging interview times, and arguing as to why you’re the person for the job. If you’re not serious about leaving the job you’re in, they won’t be serious about trying to find you a job the next time.

Chances Are, You’ll Be Gone Within a Year Anyway

Research shows 85% of people who accept a counter offer are gone in six months, and 90% of people who accept are gone in twelve months – voluntary or not.

The situation just changes. Your work environment shifts dramatically. You’ll feel guilty, you’ll feel like your managers are suspicious of you, they’ll question your loyalty. Your job will turn into one you no longer enjoy working in – is that worth the extra money?

Remember the Reasons You Wanted To Leave in the First Place

This is an essential thing to keep in mind for anyone who is looking to make a move in their careers.

Before you even start the process you should identify your reasons for leaving, and make an effort to address these in your current job. If that fails, that’s when you should be looking at switching jobs. Here’s some of the biggest reasons why people want to move, what you should have done to address them in your current company and how to react to them if a counter offer is made.

1) You wanted more money

Scenario: You felt you weren’t being paid enough for your skill set so you arranged a meeting with your manager to discuss this. In the meeting your manager lets you know that there’s no room in the budget and perhaps there will be room next year.

Reason For Leaving: To you this isn’t good enough and that’s understandable. Employees should have a schedule and targets set so they know exactly when to expect raises, what the pay scales are and the levels they need to reach to get these.

Counter Offer: When resigning, your manager remarks that they’ve managed to free up some money after all. Why did it take the threat of you leaving to be taken seriously?

2) No Career Progression

Scenario: You’ve been stuck in the same position for a number of years and you don’t see a way forward. You arrange a meeting with your manager to talk about moving forward in the company, but your manager tells you there’s no positions available and can’t see when one will open up.

Reason for Leaving: There’s no potential advancement coming up soon and you feel you’re ready for the next level.

Counter Offer: Your manager says that they actually have plans for you to lead a project coming on board soon they’re just finalising the details. Again, why wait until now to tell you? If you’re not taken seriously in your initial meetings then it’s hard to believe that you will be going forward.

Final Thoughts

Everyone is different, but through my years of being a recruiter I have not seen a counter offer work out or been in touch with that same candidate a few months down the line, when they were back looking again.

The key to any career move is to make sure you have your reasons for wanting to leave set in stone, to know that you’ve done everything you can to address these in your current position and to be fully enthusiastic about a new company in the final stages of interview.

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