5 Steps to Take Before You Accept or Reject a Counter-Offer

August 14


Receiving a job offer from another company is both exciting and flattering. In most cases, the process of resigning from your current position and starting a new job is clearly defined. But what happens if you receive a counter offer from your existing employer? Suddenly the waters become murky and your clear-cut path becomes a fork in the road. Below are five important steps to take before you decide whether to accept or reject a counter offer. Here’s how to make the most of this window of opportunity.

Consider the benefits of accepting the counter-offer

Many people who end up accepting a counter-offer are simply unable to resist the advantages of staying with their current employer. While circumstances will differ with each case, there are typically three key benefits of accepting a counter-offer from your current employer:

  • Increased compensation — Most counter-offers involve an attractive increase in pay.
  • Familiarity — You do not have to endure the stress of adjusting to new surroundings and procedures.
  • Flattery — Most people who receive counter offers receive affirmations of their value to the company.


Review the consequences of accepting a counter-offer

While a salary increase and the ability to remain in familiar surroundings may seem tempting, you must consider the possible negative effects of accepting a counter offer. They include the following:

  • Perceived disloyalty — Consideration of other jobs may be interpreted as a lack of loyalty by superiors.
  • Different treatment — Peers may interact differently with you after hearing that you planned to leave.
  • Increased potential for replacement — Your employer may offer to increase your rate of pay to keep you on board and begin searching for a more affordable replacement for you.


Remember why you explored another job in the first place

As you weigh the pro’s and con’s of accepting a counter offer from your current employer, you must not ignore the factors that initially prompted you to seek other employment options. Common factors that prompt employees to consider an employment change are as follows:

  • Feeling undervalued: Employees do not feel that their contributions and opinions are important.
  • Limited opportunities for growth: There are limited opportunities for advancement within the company or career growth.
  • Being overworked: Employees feel that their job does not promote a healthy work-life balance.
  • Dissatisfaction with the company work culture: There is a lack of leadership or poorly defined goals.
  • A poor relationship with managers or colleagues: Employees do not receive the support they need to thrive.


Don’t second guess yourself

Some employees are so surprised and flattered by their current employer’s sudden attention and promise that they begin to second guess their initial decision to explore other employment options. Avoid the tendency to completely ignore your decision-making process. Remember that you would never have sought a new job in the first place if you were truly fulfilled in your current job. If you find that you are still struggling with your decision, you may wish to discuss your options with a trusted mentor, friend, or career counsellor.


Always use diplomacy when you respond

Whether you decide to accept your counter offer or follow through with your initial desire to leave your current employer, you should make sure that you respond properly to both offers. If you decide to leave your current job, make sure that you present a formal resignation letter and give your employer sufficient notice of your departure. If you choose to accept the counter offer that you receive, be sure to do the following:

  • Tell your employer that you sincerely appreciate their offer.
  • Verbalise your commitment to your employer moving forward.
  • Illustrate your dedication to your employer by volunteering to handle a special project.


Final Considerations

Deciding whether to accept a counter offer is a process that requires a practical and systematic approach. You need to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of accepting the counter offer while remembering to consider the factors that prompted you to look for another job in the first place. By following the steps above, you can help ensure that you make the best career decision for you.

If you are are looking for the next challenge in your career, contact one of our consultants for a confidential discussion on +3531 661 0444 or see a full list of our opportunities here

About the Author

Cliona Lyons

Cliona Lyons

Senior Consultant Accounting in Financial Services

clyons@lincoln.ie+353 1 661 0444

Cliona Lyons is a Senior Consultant on our Financial Services team. She has over 9 years experience working in Financial Services incorporating banking, restructuring, recovery and advisory before making the transition into recruitment. Cliona is QFA and CFP qualified and holds a Masters in Financial Services.

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