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Why You Should Think Twice About Accepting a Counter Offer

By Kinexus on 16 August 2016

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As a recruitment consultant, it’s not usually in my favour for someone to accept a counter offer. In my experience though, it is almost never in any professionals favour to accept a counter offer.

To build a long and successful career, establishing and maintaining a positive, credible reputation is crucial. This is even more vital when you work in niche industries such as Rail or Defence where it’s a case of everyone knows everyone. So, why should you think twice about accepting a counter offer?

Recently I was approached by a Rail Engineer who was having difficulty finding a new job. Whilst very experienced with a strong technical background his problem was his reputation had been damaged in the industry due to accepting a counter offer. Four months prior, he had declined two employment offers to accept a counter offer from his current employer.

These inadvertent decisions burnt his bridges with both his recent employer and the two other organisations he declined months earlier. He soon realised that the managers he had interviewed with had spread the word in the industry to be careful of liaising with him as he now gained the reputation of being a time waster. Through no real fault of his own he had damaged his personal brand.

Key lessons to be learned:

  • Accepting a counter offer can damage your reputation and credibility with prospective employers.
  • The reasons that you want to leave never really goes away.
  • Threatening to resign often causes relationships with managers and colleagues to deteriorate as your loyalty comes into question creating an uncomfortable environment.
  • Your actions may result in you missing out on future career advancement or promotion.

Studies have shown over 80% of employees leave an organisation within 6 months of accepting a counter offer.

Reasons companies often make counter offers:

  • It costs less to give you a pay rise than recruit and train a new employee and it usually will be incorporated into your next raise regardless.
  • Projects and team morale suffers when employees leave.
  • Companies don’t want to lose their skilled employees with confidential information particularly to competitors.
  • Companies and managers want to maintain low staff turnover.
  • It gives companies time to hire your cheaper replacement.

Most well-managed companies have policies to not make counter offers as they have remuneration strategies to ensure they pay their staff what they are worth. Do you really want to work for a company that you have to threaten to quit in order to get what you deserve?

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