How to Handle a Counter Offer

You’ve just had a meeting with your manager to tell them you are leaving for a new job, and whilst for some this can be a play to receive a better package, for the majority of people a counter offer can throw them off balance completely.

The single most important thing to remember when considering a counter offer is to keep a clear head. Remember the reasons why you were ready to leave as you may find yourself in the difficult position of feeling under pressure to stay or having your reasons to leave questioned.

Reasons why your currently employer might counter offer

As much as you may not want to believe it there are a number of alternative reasons that your current employer may counter offer. These range from their having  little time to recruit or train for your position to your leaving reflecting poorly on the company. On the other hand, they may actually just want you to cover the time period it takes them to recruit your replacement.

Be realistic, whilst we’d all like to think a counter offer is borne from our expertise and the business’s desire not to lose it, it’s worth looking at the bigger picture – how does your role fit within the company, what might their motivation be?

How to respond to a counter offer

For some their minds will be definitively made up and no counter offer will persuade them to stay. However, for others this may be an opportunity for them to address and resolve the issues that made them want to leave in the first place so that they end up staying.

So, how should you respond? Well, first you will need to assess your current position within the firm. For example, are you the only person with your particular skillset – making your position a tricky one to fill? Or, do you have people in your team who could step up if you left? These kind of factors need to be carefully considered before any discussions begin.

Make sure you arm yourself with relevant, current information. Speak to recruitment firms and look at job boards to gauge your real worth and use factual rather then emotional language. For many there is more than one  reason to leave a role; these may include job flexibility, progression opportunities, job security, training - discuss these as part of a wider package negotiation and if they form part of your acceptance of a counter offer ensure you have them in writing.

Consider how your position might change if you accept a counter offer

If you do decide to accept the counter offer you will need to bear in mind that although you have committed to stay with the company people may view you differently. For example, there could be a question mark over your loyalty that could affect your future promotion prospects or may affect how your peers view you. You must also question why they have now offered you an enhanced package – what has changed? And most importantly, have your reasons for resigning been addressed?

So, if you receive a counter offer on resigning, take some time to think objectively about your next move.

Thank your current employer for their offer but also be firm in your intentions to leave. Ben Duffill, a Director at The Management Recruitment Group, says “Keep in mind that you have been through a successful recruitment process at a new company in a new role – all of which prior to this counter offer were more appealing. Be careful not to be lured by purely financial compensation and look at the wider picture of your career. Which business do you feel you can add more value to? Which has better long-term prospects for you? For many the real reason for resigning still remains even after a counter offer and it may only be a matter of time before you realise this and leave.''

Established in 2007 the Management Recruitment Group is unlike many other recruiters you will come across; we are a specialist mid to senior level management recruiter - a hybrid between an executive search business and a recruitment consultancy. Our consultants, currently over 35 strong, work in specialist teams across three locations covering a broad range of sectors from Construction to Property, Estates and Facilities Management,  Real Estate and Development.

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