Should You Count On Your Counter-Offer

Bigg Challenge:  We received an e-mail from Patrick, who was approached about a job. He met with the prospective employer and accepted their offer. Then he got an unsolicited counter offer when he told his current employer that he was resigning. He wants to know if he should accept it.

Bigg Advice: Congratulations, Patrick! Isn’t it nice to be wanted? It sounds wonderful, but the reality is that it can be quite stressful. We feel the need to preface our comments – we can give you general advice, but only you can decide which offer you should accept.

  • Why did you accept the offer from your prospective new employer?
  • It’s unclear from the e-mail why you wanted to leave. There are many possible reasons why you may have been drawn to your prospective employer’s offer. Was it money? Maybe you were unhappy at your current job – you just hadn’t started actively searching yet. Perhaps the new job seemed like a better opportunity. We’ll assume that if was a combination of these factors.

  • Why did your current employer counter?
  • We can think of two possible explanations for your employer’s counter offer. First, they may be buying time. Perhaps they’re not prepared to do a search now. The timing is bad because of current business volume. There could be any number of reasons for them to buy time. Just be aware of this. Second, they may truly value you. They really don’t want you to go. They’ve invested in you – you’re part of their future plans. It’s hard to judge intentions. Assume the best, but keep the worst in the back of your mind.

  • Get it in writing.
  • Negotiate your counter offer as if it was a brand new job. If you’ve been promised more money, it will be easy to judge whether they come through. It’s more difficult with other factors. You may want to travel less. Maybe you want more flexibility. Or you need more time off. Perhaps it’s growth opportunities that you seek. These factors are harder to deliver. So ask your current employer to put their offer in writing. Tell them that you appreciate their counter. You want to fully evaluate it. You prefer to stay with them, but you want to know that you’re making the right decision. Seeing it in writing will help you do that.

  • Maintain your relationships.
  • We don’t believe you should let your prospective employer know about the counter offer. They probably expect that anyway. However, you should make your final decision very quickly. Somebody will have a position to fill. Lingering only makes that a bigger problem. Whatever you decide, don’t burn bridges with the affected party.

Thanks for sharing your bigg challenge with us, Patrick. We hope our bigg advice helps you!

Do you have a bigg challenge? We’d love to help. E-mail it to bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Our Bigg Quote today is by Karl Albrecht.

“Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.”

You’ve been dealt a good hand. Play your cards well. Maintain your poker face. Draw from within and then place your bet.

Next time, we ask you, “What’s your pickup line?” We’ll discuss how to grab someone’s attention with a great opening line. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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2 replies
  1. Erin
    Erin says:

    I would tell Patrick to just take the new position he accepted. I had the same situation happen to me, took my employer’s counter-offer, and then after a year my position was eliminated due to “budget cuts”. I really got burned!

    Reply
  2. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    When this happened to me, my boss fell all over himself to keep me! I was able to get the most out of this opportunity. I negotiated a raise and a bump up to assistant manager. It’s good to be honest with your current employer. Good luck Patrick!

    Reply

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