Should You Ever Accept A Counter Offer?

Ashlene McFadden

The usual rules of engagement certainly have not applied to 2020. We’ve had lockdowns, recruitment freezes and market fluctuations but one thing is for sure, there are still many opportunities within the Accountancy & Finance market.

Yes, it is possible to get a job offer and a new career in the middle of a global pandemic.

And, when you’re looking for a new job or on the verge of accepting an offer from a potential new employer, there is every chance that your current employer might make you a counter offer. It will usually involve matching or attempting to better the offer that your potential new employer has made, in terms of wages, responsibility or title.

If your heart is set on leaving, then there’s no reason why any counter offer (no matter how good) could sway you to stay. After all, something must have made you consider leaving in the first place …

Any counter offers should always be handled politely and from an objective perspective. Focus on what is best for you and your career – and that doesn’t always mean more money.

Here are my top tips for how to handle a counter offer:

Your relationship with your employer

Now that you’ve presented your boss with the offer from a competitor, they know that you have been job hunting. Do you think that will change their perspective of you? Of course, it shouldn’t, but it may sting them a little to think that you have been looking elsewhere. You may have to work at mending your relationship, should you accept their counter.

Will anything really change?

Think beyond the salary. What was it about your current role that motivated you to look elsewhere? Will any of that change if you accept the counter? Ask yourself why it takes you potentially leaving your current employer for you to be offered you these things? If nothing is likely to evolve if you stay, you really have to consider why that might be.

Bear in mind, industry stats show that 50% of candidates will be counter offered, 80% of people who accept a counter offer will leave within 6 months and 90 % within 1 year indicating continued dissatisfaction in their role.

Will you be motivated?

You were already looking elsewhere – for whatever reason. Maybe it was just to get your name out in your market or maybe it was because there were real problems in your current position. So, if you accept a counter offer from your current employer, will you be motivated to go the extra mile for them from now on? Especially now that you know that other employers are interested. Will remaining in your comfort zone provide job satisfaction or do you need a change to bring growth and transformation?

Be objective

Consider everything that is on offer. If it helps, write a list of the exact package that each employer has proposed and include things like the company culture and working environment. It’s really important to think things through as objectively as possible – ask a trusted colleague, friend or partner to help. Or, further still, speak to your recruiter.

Don’t burn your bridges

It is also essential that, throughout the process, you are open and honest with your recruiter. You don’t want to burn any bridges with the employer that has made you a new offer or your existing one. You should remain polite and respectful throughout – you never know when you may come across your peers in future.

If you would like to speak to me about career development across Payroll, PQ and senior transactional roles in the Scottish Accountancy & Finance market, I’d be delighted to have a confidential chat with you about your CV and current opportunities.

Click here to drop me an email and get in touch.

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