Should I accept a counter offer? That’s up to you…

I know what you’re thinking: Another article about why you shouldn’t accept counter offers from your present employer. Stick with me.

We have all heard the nonsense statistic that 80% of candidates who accept counter offers leave within 6 months of taking it. I won’t go into how this statistic has been pulled out of thin air – Mitch Sullivan covers it much better than I could.

It is tempting to accept a counter offer from your employer when you hand your notice in. Everybody wants to feel wanted and this is the ultimate flattering confirmation that you cannot be replaced. But what should you take into account before you entertain the idea of the counter offer?

Most recruitment consultants will try to scare you into turning down a counter offer by saying that your employer would never trust you again – every dentist appointment will look like a job interview to them. That is a very simplistic view of things. Trust between an employer and employee is built up over a very long time, and is not usually destroyed by one incident. If anything, a valued employee handing their notice in serves as a wake-up call to their employer.

So, if you get a counter offer, you first need to ask yourself why you’re looking for another job. If you are looking for a pay rise and the counter offer answers that then there is no reason not to accept it. If you are looking to work closer to home and your employer moves you to a closer office then take it.

But, more often than not, there are a number of factors that come into play when someone is looking for a new job. My advice to job seekers is to make a list of why you are looking for a new role. Look at your list and then prioritise which things are most important to you, and then figure out which ones your current employer would be in their power to change and which ones will be impossible. This should help you make an objective decision on whether that counter offer should be accepted.

Sometimes the heart rules the head and people accept a counter offer because they are flattered, or because they feel guilty about leaving a company, rather than because the counter offer meets all of their needs. I think this is when people are more likely to regret accepting the offer and leave within six months.

At the end of the day, whether or not you accept a counter offer shouldn’t depend on a statistic which has been entirely invented by a sector that’s looking after its own best interests. The only consideration should be what is best for your career, and that’s a decision only you can make. Don’t let anyone – be it your current employer or a recruitment consultant, sway you.

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