How to Handle a Counteroffer

For some, accepting or rejecting a counteroffer is an easy decision. But if you’ve made it to this blog post, our guess is that you have one particular question going through your head; should I stay or should I go?

Luckily for you, this is a situation we guide candidates through all the time! Especially as counteroffers are becoming more and more common as the labour market gets more competitive.

Deciding whether to stay in a job is a complex and personal decision that depends on various factors. They can come in the form of extra cash, responsibility, flexibility or just moving your seat away from the office gossip! Whilst we can't make the decision for you, we can provide some considerations to help you make an informed choice:

How did you get here?

Your first consideration should be why you were looking for (or at least open to) a new employer in the first place. If the answer is a simple one and the counteroffer addresses your reasons for leaving (e.g. more money, more flexibility) then staying put could be a good option. That said, if this is the case then we would strongly recommend talking to your boss to address that issue before you even step foot into an interview process.

Read more: How to tell if you are ready for a career move

Is the counteroffer more than just money?

If there are multiple, more complex issues than a simple salary hike, then you need to evaluate whether your employer is really addressing those concerns in their counteroffer. Whatever the pay rise may be, the other issues will still exist, and you are likely to find yourself in the same unhappy situation just a few weeks or months down the line. Is the current business a good cultural fit for you? Do you feel supported and valued? And, overall, does your working life satisfy you? If the answer is no, chances are you shouldn’t accept the counteroffer.

What can the new job offer you?

You’ve weighed up why you wanted to leave and whether the counteroffer addresses those issues. But does the new place address your issues either? Perhaps the new, potential role is going to give you a chance to progress your career and develop new and existing skills, or work in a new industry. Whilst change can be intimidating, ultimately the broader skillset and experience will only add to your CV. Does staying offer that same chance – and which role will help achieve your long-term goals? Why haven’t you been able to recognise these opportunities in your current employer?

Read more: Boxes to tick before accepting a job

How are things between you and your current employer?

Handing your notice in can be one of the most confrontational things you can do at work. Once the emotions have calmed, it is worth considering whether the relationship between you and your boss has been irrevocably damaged. If there’s a chance you’d consider a counteroffer, you should be thinking about that as you hand in your notice, to make sure you do it in a way that causes as little antagonism as possible.

Read more: How to leave your current role

Is there anyone you can ask for advice?

You don’t have to make the decision alone. It can be useful to discuss your thoughts with family, friends, and trusted mentors. A good recruitment consultant will add balance to your thoughts, and do not be afraid to talk to your prospective new employers about any potential questions about the new role.

Ultimately though, it is your decision.

More time to ponder isn’t always beneficial and can add to the confusion. Once given a counteroffer, set a hard deadline for the decision. You have already decided to go to apply for a new role, interview and then accept the role in the first place – so there have been plenty of decisions made in favour of the new role already. Unless the counter can fully address all of your original misgivings, or truly outweigh the excitement you have felt for the new role, then you most likely already know your decision.

Above all, once you have made your final decision, stick to it.

Should you need any career advice on your next move, call our expert team today on 01709 723 248.

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