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When to Turn Down a Counter Offer? (A Few Things to Consider) 


Imagine you are working for an employer for years but they never raise your salary or offer a promotion. When you discuss this matter with the HR manager, he only asks you to wait and convinces you that he will find the best solution. But as the days go by, nothing changes. 

Not wanting to just sit around and wait for a miracle, you go on a job-hunting and finally secure a job offer from a prominent company with good benefits and salary. Excited about the opportunity, you hand in a resignation letter to your current HR manager. On the next day, suddenly the HR manager said that the CEO wants to meet you. When meeting him, the CEO expresses his concern at the thought of having to let you go and offers to raise your salary and benefits to match the company that offered you a job. The CEO also gives a hint that the department head will retire soon and you’ll make a perfect successor. In other words, you get a counter offer.

See also: What Makes Recruitment Consultant Choose You Over Other Candidates?

So, is it worth to stay with your current employer when they give a counter offer? Let’s first learn why an employer gives you the counteroffer option. 

Counter offer: Behind the Mask

In a candidate-led market, the competition for talent is fierce. This becomes the number one reason why a company gives a counter offer option. However, if you calculate it correctly, a counter offer benefits employers more than employees. A report from Workable revealed that an average cost of replacing an employee is approximately US$100,000 when taking into account job advertising costs, hiring temps, and loss of productivity while getting a new recruit. The cost can be higher if an employer hires the wrong candidates. That being said, increasing your wage remains better financially for the company than letting you go. 

When to accept 

After knowing the truth, you probably want to make another offer for higher raise but it will not always work. So, if you think that you are still comfortable with your current employer, accepting the offer is okay. Besides, most people find counter offer is better than jumping to an uncertain job offer. For instance, what if you don’t like your new job? What if you don’t like the environment or the culture? What if you don’t like the boss? These creepy thoughts can always scare you. In a fine term, accept the counter offer when you are not ready to leave your comfort zone. 

When to reject 

Counteroffer can seem appealing but you should be aware, advised Robert Half, because those who accept the offer are either leaving or are let go within a year or so. It happens due to two reasons: 1) employer’s trust decreases and 2) dissatisfaction will continue. It means that counter offer will likely last for only a short period of time. 

The scenario is like this. You accept the counter offer. Employer then starts looking for a new candidate who is better and accept a lower salary. Finally, either you are being terminated or you are being treated badly due to continued delayed management and response from your current manager. In the end, if you get a new job offer, it will be better to refuse a counter offer. 

Besides, refusing a counter offer will likely open another challenge and better work experience. No one will feel 100 percent ready and there is no perfect time. You only need to step and take courage for any obstacle ahead. Likewise, changing your workplace will open new doors of opportunity, new friends, new culture, and new better management. 

Here is what to consider before rejecting. 

  1. The new company can provide what you are looking for such as promotion, expected benefits and salary, development, etc. 

  2. The employer knows your value and respects your choice. 

  3. There is flexibility in the new company. This is to ensure your work-life balance. 

  4. When you conduct your research on the new employer, you just click with them. 

How to turn down a counteroffer 

If you decide to reject the offer, make sure to do it in a polite way to avoid burning bridges. After all, your current employer might feel particularly spurned if they have gone out of their way to convince you to stay but you keep refusing. In addition, being polite and having a good attitude will help you maintain your relationship with your current employer. You never know when you will be working with them again, either as a client or employee in the future. 

You might say something like this, “I really appreciate your offer but I have made my decision and I cannot go back on my word. I know my resignation might put you at a disadvantage. So, I have prepared a thorough handover and am willing to help you with my replacement.” 

Next read: How to Decide When Having Two or More Excellent Job Offers

Next read: Preparing for an Interview? Make Sure You Have this Follow-up Checklist!