Counter-offers and multiple job offers: What you need to know

Considering a career change is completely natural, especially if you’ve been in a role for a long time. So, you’ve considered your options, applied for new roles, attended interviews and secured a job offer – congratulations!

But when you tell your current employer you’re planning to leave, they surprise you with a counter-offer. Now you’re left with the age-old question – should you stay, or should you go?

Getting a counter-offer, or multiple job offers, is a great ego boost. After all, it shows that you and your skills are valuable and desired assets, and both your current employer and potential future employer want to secure your services.

However, it’s important to think beyond the flattery and carefully consider what’s most beneficial for you and your career – both in the long- and short-term. Given the current competitive job market, it’s not surprising to receive counter offers or multiple job offers. As strange as it may sound, this decision can – and should – be a difficult one to make.

One reason is that, according to Harvard Business Review, nearly 40% of senior executives and HR leaders agreed that accepting a counter-offer from a current employer will adversely affect your career. And Forbes points out that statistics suggest the average person who accepts a counter-offer is gone from their job within six months anyway.

These stats highlight why, before you make a decision, it’s essential to evaluate the situation carefully and thoughtfully.

Here are four thoughts on what to consider when it comes to counter-offers and multiple job offers.

1. Identifying and responding to counter-offers

Counter-offers can create confusion and buyer’s remorse. After letting your employer know that you’re planning on leaving, you might hear one or all of the following things from your boss:

counter-offer rationale

  • “You’re too valuable. We need you.”
  • “You can’t desert the team/ your friends and leave them hanging.”
  • “We were just about to give you a promotion/ raise, and it was confidential until now.”
  • “What did they offer? Why are you leaving? What do you need to make you stay?”

They might even make disparaging remarks about your potential new role, or company, and include plenty of guilt trips along the way. They’ll then follow these up with a seemingly good offer.

Counter-offers usually come in the form of more money, a promotion or added responsibility to your current role, a modified reporting structure, or promises of future considerations. While a counter-offer may seem promising on the face of it, it’s important to put your guard up, then stop and think carefully.

2. Reasons you might receive a counter-offer

The truth is employers don’t like to be ‘fired’ by their employees. Your manager is likely concerned that they’ll look bad and their career may suffer. After all, managers are judged, in part, by their ability to retain staff.

There may be other reasons at play; you may hold an important role in a project, and your leaving might jeopardise it, your colleagues may face an increase in their workload, or leave schedules may be mucked up for the team.

Recruitment can be a time consuming and costly process for employers. It’s much cheaper for them to keep you, even if it means offering a bit more money.

One question to ask yourself is if you were worth X yesterday, why are they suddenly willing to pay you X+n today when you weren’t expecting a raise anytime soon? Also, consider how you felt previously when someone else resigned from your team and how your employer reacted.

3. How to deal with multiple job offers

If you’re working with a recruiter, you need to be honest with them (and yourself) about what you’re looking for in your next role. Recruiters can see and plot patterns of behaviour where candidates end up going with a role they’re not completely happy with.

Remember, recruiters have your best interests at heart, and they want to find you a role that ticks all the boxes. If you receive multiple job offers, your recruiter will work closely with you to help work out which role is best suited for you and your career – particularly in the longer term. Similarly, if you receive a counter-offer, your recruiter can help you navigate the pros and cons.

4. Be clear on what you’re looking for

Introspection is very important when you’re trying to decide on which offer to accept. You might want to go back to the drawing board and think through all the reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place. Change is a big decision to make and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Accepting a counter-offer from your present employer because they’re offering more money may seem like a sweet deal now, but will you continue to feel demotivated and dissatisfied in a few months? What is it about the new company that motivated you to consider their offer to begin with? Do they offer a better work-life balance, perhaps, or an opportunity to further your career?

Be sure to take the time to think about your career goals and where you’d like to be in the next five years, and which offer is more likely take you there. If you’re working with a recruiter, have a chat with them about your thoughts – they can help guide you through the process and give valuable advice backed by extensive experience.

Let’s wrap up

Here are the key points again…Considering a counter-offer infographic

  • First, look out for a counter-offer from your current employer and consider carefully why they’re putting one on the table when you’re leaving.
  • Secondly, put yourself in their shoes to understand their motivation in making a counter-offer.
  • Then, get expert advice from your recruiter to help decide the best role for you, long-term. We here at Techspace are happy to talk through your options with you. We are technology recruitment specialists and have your best interests at heart.
  • Finally, take time to think through what you want in your next role and how your current and potential future employers fit with this.

About the author

Tyler Hunt is a Client Manager – Technology and Digital at Techspace. He is passionate about generating new business and developing a deep level of understanding, trust and credibility with his portfolio of clients.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn or send him an email.

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