Counter offers never work

15 June 2018 Mark Abbott

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It’s a question I put to candidates in my first meeting. Have you entertained a counter offer in the past and do you intend to consider one now?

Working with a candidate who is looking for a pay rise is counterproductive to everyone involved. My time is wasted, that of my client and in the long run the candidate’s reputation is tarnished. You might get a pay rise in the short term, but I can assure you this is not the best outcome.

The thinking behind the counter offer is flawed. Paying someone to stay is offensive. As an employer, if you haven’t worked out the value of your staff and paid them properly instead of waiting for them to resign in order to give them what they are worth then you’re going to lose your staff. On the flip side, if they get offered an obscene amount of money – let them go.

From the candidate’s perspective, accepting a counter offer is dangerous. The trust has been broken. If it’s redundancy time who do you think will be looked at first? Think ahead and consider all of the reasons you want to leave and ask yourself if they'll still be around in 12months. In my experience, the reasons for leaving in the first place will remain. Leaving is not just about a salary. It’s always a mix of reasons.

The key thing here is communication and fronting up. If you want more money – go to your employer and ask for it before you start looking for another job. Don’t mess everyone around by getting another role as leverage for your next pay rise. I can guarantee you for every counter offer my candidates have accepted, the majority end up in another role within 12 months having possibly lost the role they wanted in the first place.

My advice - be sure you want to leave. Be committed to the move. Don’t leave room in the back of your mind for a counter offer, but if you do get one, be flattered and leave it at that.