What Really Happens When You Decide to Accept a Counteroffer? Destination Disaster!

Career Strategies from Gary Markell.

Disaster Awareness

When you have started interviewing, hopefully you will get to the point of your accepting an offer to become an IBMer. When you do, you might also get a counteroffer from your current boss. If that happens, here are some valid things to think about.

I have been a recruiter for over 20 years and I have seen many people accept counteroffers. Most have ended tragically. Here are some compelling reasons to state this.

1) Water over the bridge. Once you notify your boss that you are leaving you can never have the same relationship again. Your status has just changed from loyal to problematic. Please do not think, “Oh that would not be the case for me.” As harmless as you feel it is, you have just altered that relationship forever by indicating that you have found something more favorable for you.

2) Sound decisions vs. emotion. Often it is a simple case of being caught off guard. You had not even considered that you might receive a counter. Hey, at first thought it feels good that they want to woo you back. Make intelligent decisions. Be sure to continue to think clearly and rationally and not by emotion. You made a rational, well thought out decision to start interviewing and when chosen, you determined to accept and move on to your new position. Do not let underlying emotion detour you from being steadfast and resolute in your decision.

3) “Sorry, It’s just business”. Many times the counteroffer is just to keep you in place until your current company can find a replacement. Now you clearly have some baggage. They know from experience, that once you have started down this road it will come up again and usually soon, so they try to be one step ahead of you and keep you around just long enough to replace you.

4) Stay the course. Oftentimes people will accept counteroffers out of a feeling of duty and sometimes your current employer will try to make you feel guilty about reiterating all they have done for you. That is no reason to divert moving ahead with your original plan. Keep the reasons fresh in mind as to why you started interviewing in the first place. Circumstances will rarely change in your current situation no matter what good intensions are accessed by upper management.

5) Reality will catch up to you quickly. According to the NATIONAL BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT WEEKLY from the publishers of the Wall Street Journal: “Most employees who accept counteroffers leave within 6 to 12 months, merely deferring their inevitable replacement”. A rule of thumb among recruiting authorities is between 80% and 90% of those accepting counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within 6 to 12 months in spite of good intentions.

6) Under suspicion. Every time you ask for a day off or take a long lunch for any reason, even for a doctor’s visit, your supervisors are “wondering” if you are at it again, out interviewing. That creates a social cancer within your office environment and will end in you leaving anyway one way or another. However by then, that position that you received an offer for is not available.

7) Where is your counteroffer coming from? Many times it is justified by your leadership to withhold your next raises and future bonus earnings. This philosophy is based on what they had to do to get you to stay by offering you an enhanced counteroffer. Your near future compensation is at risk. Holding back your next raises are easily justified by upper management. By the way, when your boss asks you, “How much is your new salary?”, just say, I have to keep that information confidential per my new employer’s HR department policy.

8) Negative news spreads fast. Your personal image and reputation within your industry will take a hit. The news spreads quickly. You will never get a second chance with a leading company once you take the time to interview, get an offer and then come back to say, “I am very sorry, but my current company offered me a new deal to say with them.”

Summation? When you have valid reasons to leave and you start interviewing, never look back and never even consider counteroffers. Do not let yourself be deceived. It is a destination to disaster if you cave in.

The postings on this site are those of the author and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

About Gary Markell

Gary MarkellMr. Gary Markell is a senior recruiter with IBM working within GBS, Global Business Services division. With over 20 years experience starting his recruiting career in 1993, Mr. Markell has been a full life cycle recruiter, Account Manager, Director of financial Services Recruiting, and in his past owned his own recruiting agency for over 6 years. He has over 15 years working in Information Systems recruiting, and 3 plus years in banking recruitment. He has also limited experience recruiting in Retail, Life Sciences, and Pharmaceutical domains. Through MRI, Management Recruiters International, Mr. Markell became a CSAM, Certified Senior Account Manager. He has served as trainer, mentor many times. Father of eight, he resides in Southeast Michigan with his wife Cristita and three youngest children, C.J., Anna and Timothy. Mr. Markell is active in church, as part of the choir and worship team, and has served in mission work in his past.

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