Counter offers – stick or twist?

June 20, 2022

Let’s face it. When it comes to job offers and resignations, counter-offers happen. Gazumping with promises of more money, a promotion or new benefits can be part of the ‘game’ but it rarely ends with a win-win. So, what’s at play here? Well, it all comes down to the motivations involved, but by applying some good house rules you’ll be sure to play your cards right.

Forget the poker face

Without doubt, being honest, open and transparent is not only your best bet, it’s guaranteed to be the winning strategy overall. Putting a fake spin on the situation isn’t going to bank roll you – or your reputation – in the long run. So, whether employer or candidate, show your true hand from the get-go so that any negotiations you choose to discuss will be meaningful. That way, you’ll maintain a strong position throughout, and know you’re dealing with the reality, not the make-believe.

The deal in question

Employers. Just when you’re about to reach for the champagne, your new recruit gets offered an enhanced package to stay with their current company. Is it a bluff? Can you remain a viable option in the candidate’s considerations? How far are you prepared to go?

Candidates. You did it. You have a shiny, new job offer with good opportunities and a better salary.  Then your employer tempts you to stay with a counter-offer. What to do? Are they just trying to keep you to save the hassle of replacement? Should you up the stakes and ask for even more?

With big questions like this hanging in the air, there’s going to be degrees of tension, distrust, and sometimes even hostility from other employees. Dicey.

I’ll raise you a promotion

A higher salary, a more senior position, added perks. The stakes can get higher but the pitfalls can be deep. And your employer may not be able to deliver on their promises. As a candidate, ask yourself what you really want, and why you were prepared to leave your role and accept the new job offer in the first place. The answers that will guide you to the right decision will be in there somewhere.

As an employer, holding on to an employee who has resigned is a tricky thing. There’s a big difference between a person’s rational decision to move on and one which is based purely on money and benefits. You might question their motivation and whether you could solve the issue with a counteroffer that’s genuine and deliverable. But would that just be delaying the inevitable – has loyalty, and the respect for each other been lost?

And what about the new employer, already invested in their new hire. They have a stake in this too!

When the chips are down

Let’s throw some numbers. 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their current employer end up leaving anyway within 6 months. Indeed, 50% of candidates accepting a counter offer are active in the job market within just 60 days.

These statistics show that counter offers can be quite a gamble, involving high stakes and low returns. Which is why the best bet is to understand motives, keep positive, be courteous and move on when that’s right for you. If the grass is greener elsewhere, great. Your, and everyone else’s, integrity remains intact. If it proves not to be so green, perhaps one day paths will cross again and you can take it from there on good terms.

So, when change throws up opportunities and forces you to play your hand, do it responsibly. And if you’re really serious about improving your odds, bring Tribe Search to the table – your partner for a sure win whatever your move.


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