So, you’ve taken the big step – you’ve decided to find a new job or change your career path and you’ve made the smart decision to work with a recruitment agency. And then you receive the great news – you’ve been through the interview process and your potential new employer has made you an offer.
The next day, you go to your current employer, resignation letter in hand, determined to resign and move on. Then, defying all your expectations, your employer makes you a counter offer. And you feel obligated to stay or to at least consider staying. But you might be making a big career mistake.
Are counteroffers too good to be true? They just might be…
While a counter offer might seem attractive at the time (especially as it is likely to include a substantial increase), here are three big reasons a counteroffer may be more damaging to your career than you might expect:
- Counteroffers are often a panic reaction. We’re living in a tough economy and it’s difficult to find good employees. In many instances of resignation, employers panic at the thought of a good employee leaving and all the paperwork that goes along with hiring someone new so they make a counter offer. This means that what you might think of as sudden recognition is actually based on the inconvenience of a good employee leaving rather than on truly responding to your career needs or value. Giving you more, whether in time or benefits, might lead to resentment on your employer’s part at a later stage as they might feel blackmailed by having to make you a counteroffer to secure you.
- Money isn’t everything. You might accept the counter offer based on the money – if an increase in salary is what is offered, you might feel you cannot afford to leave your current employer. This is a good time to ask yourself why you chose to look for another job in the first place. Is salary the only reason? What about career prospects or working environment? Research shows that money is not the only factor when it comes to job satisfaction. If you stay with your current employer for financial considerations alone, you might be end up disappointed once the initial excitement over your higher salary has worn off. Because the truth is that circumstances rarely change in the long term
- Potential damage to your reputation. Considering a counteroffer might jeopardize your position with a future employer – they might question your integrity and whether you are serious about moving into a new organisation as you changed your mind once before. If you do accept the offer and stay in your current position after resigning, you might be putting yourself in an awkward position with colleagues and management who will know that you have decided to stay based on a counter offer. If that offer includes a promotion or other work benefits, your colleagues might wonder if you truly deserved them.