Things to consider before accepting a counter offer

You’ve accepted the new job offer, written your resignation letter, built up the courage to tell your boss, and then the unexpected happens…they make you a counter offer. What should you do next?
Handing in your notice is rarely a pleasant experience. Unless you REALLY hate your job, you’re going to have some areas of regret. And once you’ve built up the courage to do it, you just want to get it done, and that’s when the counter offer is made. They’re so common now that it shouldn’t be a total surprise but it is, of course, something that you need to consider.
Ideally you should have thought about this long before it gets to offer stage. I’ve talked in previous blogs about this but, before you even begin applying for lots of roles, it is a good idea to think about the type of job you would accept. Things to consider include location, responsibilities, company size and sector, salary etc. You should also think about the reasons why you are looking to move on. What will a new role need to offer to solve these problems? Would a counter offer solve them? If all you are looking for is to get a promotion or pay rise from your existing employer then it is much better to just have a chat with your manager. They might be able to offer you something without the time and effort (for everyone) of the recruitment process.
My first piece of advice is that you should never accept a counter offer on the spot. It’s a high pressure situation and you may very well end up with buyer’s remorse. You certainly don’t want to have to go back the next day and say that actually you don’t want to accept the counter offer after-all!! It’s worth bearing in mind that statistics vary (as statistics often do) but almost every survey says that upwards of 80% of people who accept a counter offer will still leave within 6 months. Say to your manager that you need to think about it and then it’s time for a little soul searching.
Then you need to think about what they might offer you. Will any of these things make you stay?

  • More money – Why hasn’t this been offered before? Will you still be entitled to any future company pay rises or are you effectively getting that early?
  • Training – Do they have a good track record of providing training? Is it training that will actually benefit your current role? If not, then it may never happen.
  • Job Title – Will a title bump actually mean any change in responsibilities or is it effectively an empty title change? Will a promotion also mean more money? How will the rest of the team feel about these changes?
  • Change in working pattern such as remote working or reduced hours – How will this affect the rest of the team and is it logistically possible? Will you still be able to do your job after those changes have been made? If a promise has been made off the cuff then, again, they may not be able to deliver.

The other thing you need to consider is; is it just a knee jerk reaction and do you have anything in writing? If you just get offered £5k or a promotion on the spot you have to ask yourself why it was so easy and is it just an empty promise? If they are too quick to make a counter offer then how considered could it possibly be? Maybe they are just trying to buy themselves time to back-fill your role.
You owe it to yourself to consider any counter offer as if it was a totally new job. Weigh-up the pros and cons of both your original offer and the counter offer. Which is the better offer that will fulfil the career aims that (hopefully) you wrote down at the start of your search? Talk to family/friends and see what they think and make sure that you take your time. You really don’t want to make a mistake and be looking for another job quickly.


Victoria Harlock

Victoria is the Office Manager here at Corriculo Ltd. After working as Recruitment Consultant for 5 years, she moved into Office Management over 11 years ago now. Victoria was one of the first members of our team and deals with all of our administration and accounts. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter