8 things you need to know about a Counteroffer

1) What is it?

A counteroffer is an attempt by your current employer to prevent you from following through on your plans of accepting an offer for a new role. This is done by revealing terms of a new improved offering should you stay with your current employer, either through more money or improved benefits and working conditions. Hey, sometimes all three! Their aim is to convince you to stick with the devil you know.

2) When is it made?

Usually it is a response to you handing in your resignation letter. Your employer may attempt to reveal that the new deal was something that was in the pipeline and your resignation has brought it forward. This is standard fare, but unfortunately probably not true.

3) Why is it made?

Despite how flattering it may seem a counteroffer is rarely made because your employer has suddenly realised you were the glue holding the business together. Employers know that replacing you is costly in both time and money.

When a valuable employee leaves they take knowledge and understanding with them that cannot easily be replaced. It is better from the employer’s point of view to hold onto you, at least until a time when they can plan to prepare for your departure.

4) How is it made?

Your line manager or their superior will usually take you aside. The aim is to flatter you, to show that you are an important part of the team and integral to their plans. It usually takes place in secret from your colleagues to create the feeling that you are one of the gang.

It may be done in such a way as to tug at your heartstrings with regard to how much you are needed and valued. Needless to say this can make it a very uncomfortable and confusing situation to be placed in.

5) What is your employer really thinking?

Unfortunately the counteroffer is not about you. Your manager is simply attempting to manage you and the situation to their advantage. They will be thinking about how your departure will impact on them, and their objectives for the department. They will have considered the problems of attempting to plug the gap your departure will create, and they will probably not be looking forward to it.

6) What happens if you accept the counteroffer?

Even if you accept, your relationship will probably have changed. After all. you were willing to leave. You are not necessarily someone that they can count upon. You may well be considered a risk and there is a real danger you may not feature in their future plans.

In the long run, once you are kept on, will you get the changes you have been promised now that your offer and the impetus to leave has gone away?

7) Why didn’t they make this offer before?

In truth no one really gets what they are worth to a company, or it wouldn’t be worth employing anybody. The counteroffer is made because you have forced your employers hand; at this point in time they cannot afford to lose you, so they are willing to go that little bit further than usual.

8) What you must consider

How certain are you that the promises you are being made will definitely be carried out? Are they able to provide you with a new contract and a timetable for these changes? Will this new deal affect your future negotiating ability? What will the atmosphere be like if you stay?

Consider your reasons for leaving; what has now changed that makes this the right role for you?

There you have it. We’ve looked at how the counteroffer might take place and the motives your employer may have for delivering one. Counteroffers can put you in a tricky situation if you are not totally clear about what you want and why, or if you allow yourself to be influenced by your emotions and the flattery most of us feel when we are told we are important.

Now you understand how it works you have the ability to take charge for yourself and make an informed decision about what is truly best for you.

Return from Counteroffers to Job Interview Follow up