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Why You Should Think Twice About Accepting That Counter Offer

Source | LinkedIn : By David Hannan

You just received word from your recruiter that the $125,000 hedge fund Executive Assistant opportunity you’ve spent the last three weeks interviewing for is extending an offer.  You accept without hesitation and head home to draft that final thank you note to their CEO.

Several days later your recruiter sends word that your background cleared; it’s here, it’s finally here: time to tender your resignation.

After delicately and respectfully offering your thanks for the opportunity to support your current boss, they knee-jerk “but I don’t want to lose you, what would it take for you to stay?!”

They’re going to counter the other offer to keep you from leaving and it happens more often than you’d think.  

I see this scenario play out one time out of every ten, and understanding the pitfalls of accepting a counter are crucial:

  • They now know you were interviewing behind their backs.  Kiss goodbye to the trust and integrity you earned over the past few years.  Those exciting personal projects and event planning won’t go to you any longer, instead you’ll go back to T&E’s, scheduling, filing, and phones: the mundane. You’ll be back on the market and looking again within the year.
  • Most firms that counter and, have those offers accepted, are doing so to keep you on board just long enough to find a replacement for you, all the while behind your back. You’ve been a integral part of the team for years and have handled critical time-sensitive projects.  They’ll keep you around to keep those projects ticking over until such time they find someone else to take your place.  That $10K bump you accepted to stay is for the short-term; it’s a small price to pay to keep you until you leave, but now it’s on their terms, not yours.
  • The extra money attached to your counter offer is something that can — and oftentimes will be — used to their advantage when it’s bonus/review season. They may argue that the $10K raise you accepted is in lieu of a year-end bonus or performance-based raise in salary.  They have you in a corner and you’ve got no bargaining power left.  They no longer consider you as the once-dedicated Executive Assistant.

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