I’ve accepted a new job and I’m about to give notice – what should I do if I get a counter offer from my employer? — Avi in Westchester
After you’ve run through the interview gauntlet, you get the good news: An offer is coming! Everything about the new company looks great — the money is where you were targeting, the benefits are excellent and there’s solid work-life balance.
You’re all set to accept the offer. There’s just one step left — telling your current employer it’s over.
Sometimes when you go to give notice, your current company will come back with a counter offer. They’ll ask why you’re leaving and offer more money, more opportunities and more flexibility. You’ll hear about how valuable you are and how the company has grand plans for your future.
Suddenly, your decision gets more difficult. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether to accept a counter offer:
1. Something made you consider leaving in the first place. Whether it was the lack of growth opportunities, the company culture, the compensation package or something else entirely, there was a reason you were originally interested in leaving. Will the counter offer solve this issue long term?
2. Your company knows you were prepared to leave. Even if you’ve been a great employee for years, the company now knows they don’t have your complete loyalty. Employers are hesitant to invest resources in those who may be on their way out the door. If they think you are still looking, you may see less prestigious projects come your way and less emphasis on your development.
3. The offer may come out of desperation. Your boss knows it will be a giant hassle to source, recruit and train a replacement — especially if you’re working on some critical projects. It’s much easier and cheaper for the company to keep you in place.
4. You may be burning bridges if you accept. If you’ve gone through the process and turn down an offer from the new firm, you may not be able to get one in the future.
5. Most people who take counter offers leave within a year. The common wisdom is the most people who take counter offers find themselves looking again very shortly. For a variety of reasons, they may be a short term fix, but they’re rarely a long term career solution.