The minefield of a counter offer

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Why NOT to take it!!!

A COUNTER OFFER, what does this actually mean? Simple; an offer made in response to another. And to be honest, it is every recruiter and prospective employer’s nightmare, I should know it happened today.

This isn’t a guilt trip to all of those counter offer takers out there, but it is a reality check. Yes, so I may have spent the day fuming, trying to talk one of my consultants off the ledge and apologising profusely to the client, but it is a reality of recruitment that occasionally happens.

We put a lot of effort into the recruitment cycle and it doesn’t stop at offer stage.

What do we do? As recruiters who pride ourselves on customer service we meet the candidates, we speak to candidates every week throughout their notice period, discuss the intricacies of their new contract, manage and coach them around the resignation process and taking them out for a slap up meal to congratulate them on their new role. So yes, when a candidate accepts a counter offer I do weep silently into my keyboard when the bad new arrives.


I can understand the lure of accepting a £2,000 per year pay rise with a company you are comfortable with, you know Bob in Accounts, Mary in Admin and are best friends with the MD’s brother BUT these are not a reasons to stay – if anything they are reasons to leave…. Why? Because there was a significant motivation to look in the first place; to spend 6 hours of your life interviewing, whilst also frantically preparing PowerPoint presentations, in between trying to do your day job.

People leave companies for very different and varying reasons whether it be money, progression, you don’t like your Manager, the commute, work/life balance, the size of company etc….. The list goes on but the motivations are all there.

Here is a scary but VERY real statistic for you:

Statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm the fact that over 80% of those people who elected to accept a counteroffer are not with their company six months later.

What is the issue with a counter offer I hear you cry?

  • Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions, is less than ideal. Getting something because you’ve basically put a gun to their head is a ludicrous way to think you’ll ever be happy!
  • When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal and who wasn't. Where you think you’ll stand?
  • Will the issues motivating you to move initially ever change – it’s not always about money and a flashy new job title.

And please, if you are using an offer to get a pay rise or a promotion, for all the hard working recruiters and employers out there who think they have found that needle in a haystack hire – don’t be that guy/gal.

My next blog will be about resignation preparation and the secret to a successful resignation.

If you need any advice before then, call me on 02392 228285.