If you've handed in your resignation to your current employer, in order to move on to pastures new, the business may try to tempt you to stay with a counter offer. Various benefits can be offered, such as an increase in salary, a promotion or change in job role, or perhaps additional company benefits. Even smaller perks could make you start to reconsider moving on – maybe more involvement in projects that interest you, or additional responsibilities that will result in you formally progressing in time. But should you accept these counter offers, or stand your ground?
There is generally a good reason for applying for a new job. Perhaps you've become disillusioned with your current role, and are looking for better career prospects and professional growth. Or maybe you are happy enough in your job, but have found a better opportunity elsewhere. This new role could allow you to play more to your strengths, get a step up in your career, or even change direction completely.
No matter what the reason, you were convinced at the time that it was the best thing to do. You will have put in a lot of work during the application process, touching up your CV, writing a fantastic covering letter, not to mention performing well in the interview itself. Preparing for an interview is often extremely challenging, and when you get to the interview, you'll be faced with even more stress and anxiety! So if you've applied all that effort into getting a new job, and are fortunate enough to be given the position, why would you turn it down? No matter what the counter offer, there's almost never a good reason to stay where you are.
If you are hesitating to turn down a counter offer, because it sounds like everything you're looking for, it's best to consider the long term ramifications. Think about it from your employer's point of view – you've handed in your resignation, so your loyalty to the business is now in question. Your boss will probably start looking for your replacement regardless of whether you end up staying, and your colleagues may treat you differently if they know that you were trying to leave the business.
If your counter offer didn't include a promotion, the fact that you did not remain loyal to the company may also hurt your chances of progression in future. And if you were offered a pay rise or more senior role, it may be worth thinking about why you weren't given such opportunities before you resigned. Were you simply overlooked, or was there a more serious reason as to why you were not offered what you deserve up until now?
It's essential that you are honest with yourself about the reason you were looking to leave. Then consider whether this has changed after the counter offer. If the only thing driving you to get a new job was a pay rise, or the flexibility to do remote working, and your current employer accepts these requests, you could take the offer. But in most cases, there are a number of factors at play, and they won't all be addressed to your satisfaction if you remain in your current job.
A counter offer often comes as a surprise, but don't let it steer you off your current path. It's easy to get comfortable in your job, so seize the new opportunity you've just been given, and see where it takes you. It might be scary to change employers, as you'll have to get to know a whole new team, but they believed in you enough to hire you, so you're bound to succeed if you put your mind to it!
So if you are faced with a counter offer, thank your employer for the opportunity, but stand your ground. Remain polite – you don't want to burn any bridges, even if you already have a glowing reference, and reiterate your intention to leave.
Applying for a new job can be tough. Even if you make the process more streamlined by using a recruitment agency, it can take some time to find the perfect position and be hired for the role. So when you're given a counter offer, no matter how tempting, it's almost always best to turn it down.
And if you do take the counter offer, your resignation won't be forgotten. You'll have to regain the trust of your employer, and demonstrate your continued loyalty to the business. In a lot of cases, you'll have to go above and beyond to prove yourself, both to your boss and your colleagues. With this in mind, a new job will definitely be less stressful!