Here at Excel Recruitment, we’re seeing counter offers becoming more and more common as companies have to try harder to attract and retain top talent. CEO Barry Whelan tells us why the counter-offer can often create more problems than it can solve….

I first wrote about counter offers for Shelflife magazine in 2012, but the current economic climate means it is well and truly a candidate’s market and counter-offers are becoming increasingly common. It takes a lot of time and money for a company to find and replace valuable staff and employers are becoming even more reluctant to let quality employees go. While most think of ‘counter-offers’ as matching or improving on an offered package, savvy employers will do their homework on the why behind an employee making a move and will try to ‘counter’ this reason for leaving.

As recruiters, we make it our mission to understand why a person wants a change. It takes time and effort for a person to do up their CV, research the market and come into meet us and in my experience it’s rarely just the number on their payslip that’s motivating them. Getting to the root of their reason for leaving is vital information when searching for a new job for them.

So, is accepting a counter-offer ever a good idea? My team and I have found that over the years, the answer is overwhelmingly No. Here are a few reasons why you should think twice before accepting a counter-offer from the employer you were determined to leave in the first place.

1.You had a good reason to leave, that probably hasn’t changed

Like I said earlier, it takes a lot of effort to start looking for jobs and you likely had a very good reason for wanting to leave. Unless it was solely pay, it’s highly unlikely this reason has changed. There’s a high probability that you’ll be looking for a new role again in no time at all, and this time you may not be in as good a position to find a new job.


2.They’ll question your loyalty

By telling your employer you’ve either been offered or accepted another position, you’re essentially saying you’ve been unhappy. So even if your company does counter, how can they trust that you won’t eventually stray again?

The bond of trust has been broken, you will leave the company at some stage, but perhaps now you have shown your cards it will be on their terms, not yours. When you are no longer perceived as part of the long-term future, you may find yourself passed up for promotion

3.You’ll burn bridges

Another company has invested their time, money and faith in you through the selection process and decided that you’re the right person for their role so losing you to a counter-offer isn’t something they will take lightly. By accepting a counter offer you will have burnt a bridge with the company looking to employ you. Some companies view this very dimly and if you find your circumstances changing they will not entertain your application again

4.You could hurt your future progression

There’s a chance your employer has given you a counter offer made up of a promotion or the pay rise that was coming your way anyway. By accepting their offer, you’re sending the message that your now satisfied with x amount and could be inadvertently moving any chance of progressing through the business even further down the line.