Never, Ever Fall For The Counteroffer

So, you finally made the decision to move on. It could have been for any one of a million reasons, but you made it. You wrote your resume, found a recruiter that you liked, and started your search. After a few interviews, you receive an offer. You accept, and agree to a start date 2 weeks down the road.

Now all that’s left to do is to write your resignation letter and deliver it to your manager. You’re floating. You knock on your manager’s door and ask him if he has a few minutes. You hand him the letter and politely tell him that you are resigning. He asks you what he can do to get you to stay. You hesitate. He asks you for details of your offer and suggests that he may be able to meet or exceed it. You pause for a moment, and begin asking some questions.

From the moment that you hesitated, you blew it. The only correct thing to do was to immediately say that while you enjoyed working for the company, that the decision is final.

Now here’s the list of reasons why you should never, ever fall for the counteroffer:

  1. Remember, there was a reason or reasons why you started looking in the first place. What in the counteroffer changes any of that?
  2. Your resignation letter was effectively an ultimatum to the company – pay up or I’m leaving. So now that they’ve paid up, they can begin looking for your replacement on their terms.
  3. Good luck with your next promotion within the company. In all likelihood, they will hold the counteroffer over your head for years to come (if you even last that long).
  4. I hope that you realize that you have just wasted a whole bunch of people’s time – from recruiters, to hiring managers, to HR, to administration staff, to your references, to the other candidates for the job. Not to mention the costs that your prospective employer went through performing background checks and employment verification. If you accept the counteroffer, you have probably burned a bridge with both the recruiter and the employer. Don’t expect either of them to welcome you into their offices ever again.
  5. You’ve just demonstrated to everyone involved that you did not think things through very thoroughly – that you are immature and inexperienced. That you are unreliable.

Remember, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a moment to tarnish it. So, before you even begin looking for a new job, make sure that you are fully committed to moving on, and that there is no way that you would accept a counteroffer.

For a good employer will be happy for you when they learn about your career move, and may even consider bringing you back at a position of higher responsibility sometime down the road.