In recent years, due to the talent pool shortage, counteroffers have practically become the norm. It’s almost like a part of the accepted divorce proceedings, and allows the boss to save face with his boss, and it sometimes has to take its course.

But while a counter offer can be tempting, take care not to fall into the trap or be blindsided to your own detriment. Career changes are tough enough as it is, and anxieties about leaving a comfortable job, friends and location and having to reprove yourself again in an unknown opportunity can cloud the best of logic. But just because the new position is a little scary doesn’t mean it’s not a positive move.

Since counteroffer gestures can create confusion and “buyer’s remorse”, you should understand what’s being cast upon you.

Counteroffers are typically made in conjunction with some form of flattery.

  • You’re too valuable, and we need you.
  • You can’t desert the team/your friends and leave them hanging.
  • We were just about to give you a promotion/raise, and it was confidential until now.
  • What did they offer, why are you leaving, and what do you need to stay?
  • Why would you want to work for that company?
  • The “big boss” wants to meet with you before you make your final decision.

Counters usually take the form of:

  • more money
  • a promotion/more responsibility
  • a modified reporting structure
  • promises or future considerations,
  • disparaging remarks about the new company or job
  • Guilt trips.

Of course, it’s natural to want to believe these manipulative appeals, but beware! Accepting a counteroffer often is the wrong choice to make.

Accepting a counteroffer can have numerous negative consequences. Consider:

  • Where did the additional money or responsibility you’d get come from? Was it your next raise or promotion-just given early? Will you be limited in the future? Will you have to threaten to quit to get your next raise? Might a (cheaper) replacement be sought out?
  • You’ve demonstrated your unhappiness (or lack of blind loyalty), and will be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain a raise. You won’t ever be considered a team player again. Many employers will hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-force "hit list." As one executive who requested anonymity says, "Like an adulterous affair that’s been discovered, the broken trust is never fully recovered."
  • Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company. After the dust settles from this upheaval, you’ll be in the same old rut. A rule of thumb among recruiters is that more than 80% of those accepting counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to 12 months anyway. Half of those who do succumb re initiate their job searches within 90 days, recruiters say.

Finally, when making your decision, look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed. Which opportunity holds the most real potential? Probably the new one, or you wouldn’t have started the process or accepted the offer in the first place!!!!