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The art of the counter offer, part 2 – Jump ship or jump back?

We recently ran an article discussing how the counter offer was often a part of the recruitment process in the current skills gap led market. In this article, we would like to look at the counter offer scenario again, but this time a little more from the candidates’ point of view. Although there is a little additional thought for the client at the end.

When you are considering a new role, whether you actively sought out the opportunity or not, you may find yourself in a situation where your current employer will seek to hold on to you with a counter offer.

It’s frankly a very difficult situation for the candidate, and it can be a rather stressful time. The result of the counter offer can be that there is sort of deadlock of indecision where you find yourself unsure of which way to go because, if we are being honest, it is rather flattering to be in such demand that you are between two competing offers.

Take stock

The best thing to do is probably to stand back from the situation and take stock.

  • Why were you considering it in the first place? We have been in recruitment for a long time, and I can state the following with absolute confidence ‘when someone is considering a move, there is a reason beyond money’. Look at it honestly and ask yourself why you considered a move in the first place. If those reasons are still valid, then you probably need to ask which offer solves that for you.
  • Talk it over with a critical friend. If you are not familiar with the term critical friend, it is someone who will look at the situation with your best interests at heart but who will not pull punches in the honesty department. Talk it through with them to see how they view the situation
  • Remember swings and roundabouts. If the offer is huge or unrealistic, it will bounce back on you at some point. A hasty promotion or a big increase may seem a good idea, but there is often a natural balance to these things and a few months down the line you could regret it. Money, in particular, should probably never be the main reason for the choice. I am not going to be trite and say ‘money doesn’t buy you happiness’ but after tax and other contributions how much is that offer really worth?
  • Which fits your lifestyle best? Your job is not your life; it is part of it. Ask yourself if you are risking grabbing an offer, either to stay or leave, that will have a detrimental effect on your family.
  • Give negotiation room. At least give the person offering the new job the opportunity to discuss it with you before you make your decision to stay. They will respect that you are looking for the right opportunity rather than playing a game.

The situation is that you are at a crossroads and you need to make the right turn – whichever way that may be. It is estimated that up to 70% of the employees who accept the counter offer and stay end up moving on within a year. The reason this happens is usually down to the first point above. All the things that were prompting the desire to move on will probably still be there.

One final thought…

From the point of view of the current employer or the prospective new one, the time between offer, counter offer, and final decision can be frustrating, but the best course of action is to make the process as smooth and as fast as possible. We are here to help you to replace the employee if they leave, or to advise on the best option to win the next time you get into the counter offer situation if they don’t join your team.