When is it right to accept a counter offer? Matt Harris provides an insight.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

In the current climate with the often discussed “war for talent” and an increasing skills shortage in many disciplines, we are seeing a steady rise in the number of counter offers. I will go through some of the observations and circumstances to think about when contemplating that tempting offer.

Push and pull factors

In my opinion it is the job of the specialist recruiter at the start of a relationship to establish those motivators – the “push and pull” factors that indicate why a candidate is ready for a move. This is such a big decision that can impact not just the day-to-day working life, but also the outside world – travel, stress, finances, time with partners and family, hobbies, social life etc. As a result it’s important that each factor is considered in the reason for moving from the outset, but also when you are about to accept an offer.

Many people will be in that flattering position of having your employer, your boss or even the big boss, hauled in once you resign to tell you how precious you are to the business and that it’s a travesty you are leaving. Here are some thoughts that go through a hiring manager’s mind:

  • If l let them go now, it will impact team morale – they’re such a popular member of the team
  • I wasn’t expecting that, it will take me ages to train someone else
  • Who would pick up their workload? I have enough to do
  • What does that say about me and my ability to hold on to staff?
  • What terrible timing – deadlines looming, holidays coming up
  • How much will it cost me to find a replacement?


What to ask yourself before a counter offer

The key here is that it is all about the employer, and often little responsibility is taken for why this situation has occurred in the first place. So what should you be thinking if that tempting offer of a pay rise and/or promotion is put in front of you?

  • Why now? Why does it take an outside offer to prompt the business into action? What will change to ensure you are considered next time rather than having to take action?
  • Once you have shown your hand you will always be considered a risk/disloyal. What about future prospects, how will they be affected?
  • Are promises being made and documented? If it’s better working circumstances, promises of future outcomes, what is that dependent on (for example, ‘in 6 months I will make you a team leader’)?
  • Have your frustrations truly been dealt with or have cracks been papered over? They will resurface if not dealt with at the source


Is it worth the risk?

From industry wide as well as our own findings at Consilium Recruit, around 80% of people who accept a counter offer move on within 9 months. Is that a risk worth taking? The market is only now recovering from several years where opportunities were lacking – now is the time to put yourself first, be a little more demanding and ensure you make the correct career choices based on your original wishlist.

Matt Harris is as Associate Director with Consilium Recruit.

Matt Harris

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