The Counteroffer Conundrum

When you are fortunate enough to have gotten an offer to leave your current job, sometimes you find yourself having to make a tough decision—to stay, or to go. In my business as an executive recruiter in the hospitality/casino/hotel/restaurant industry, it is a common situation.

Sometimes we are offering a job to an executive who is looking to move to the next opportunity. Other times it’s a tough decision for a “passive candidate,” not actively thinking about making a change.

A large part of my job as an executive recruiter is to introduce a candidate to one of our client’s, by laying out the details, and negotiating the deal to the benefit of both parties.

The Counteroffer

If we have identified a candidate for our client—someone who isn’t actively looking—it may seem like an opportunity to negotiate a better deal with their current employer. Even if you were looking to make a move, you might find yourself having second thoughts once you’ve given your notice, and willing to consider a counteroffer.

Getting a counteroffer from your employer, might not work out exactly as you expected.

It feels good to be wanted, and you may have personal reasons to stay. If your current employer improves your compensation package, gives you a better title, or moves you within the organization, you may feel compelled to accept the offer.

But getting a counteroffer from your employer, might not work out exactly as you expected.

What to Consider Before You Decide

My 40-plus years in the hospitality industry have taught me a few hard lessons. Let me share a couple with you.

Let’s say you have accepted an offer to go to a new employer. You’ve given your two-week’s notice and now your current employer is ready to negotiate. But why?

When you accepted the offer from an outside company, you identified yourself as a flight risk.

No doubt if an executive recruiter has identified and approached you, and the potential employer is ready to make an offer, you have value. Has your current employer had a revelation about your value, or is a counteroffer just a knee-jerk reaction to not having to find and train your replacement?

When you accepted the offer from an outside company, you identified yourself as a flight risk.

Why Were You Wanting to Leave in the First Place?

If your offer came from an active search, it’s a little easier to answer the counteroffer conundrum. You may have solid reasons for wanting to move on and a counteroffer won’t make any difference.

However, if you are willing to consider a counteroffer, ask yourself, “What has really changed since you agreed to consider the new job offer? What conditions are likely to change (or stay the same) if you go back to your current employer to renegotiate? Is staying just a short-term solution?”

Accepting, Then Rejecting an Offer

This is the worst move you can make.

You have now possibly set a match to your current bridge, and completely burned down the other.

You have now possibly set a match to your current bridge, and completely burned down the other. You have wasted the time of the executive recruiter and stressed out your current employer. Your loyalty will be questioned and trust built could be shaken. Worst case, you give the appearance you can’t make a decision.

Other Considerations

No one can make the decision, but you. If the offer is a relocation that requires you to uproot your family, that’s a huge consideration. On the other hand, if you can negotiate a reasonable way to commute, or split your time at home and your new job, that’s certainly worth serious thought.

The relationship you have with your executive recruiter allows you to discuss your concerns and get input on any decisions you might have to make—including to stay where you are for more money, or move up the ladder.

In the business of recruiting, we are successful in not only finding the right person for the job, but a candidate that will embrace the new opportunity and ultimately be happy with the decision. Employers want the whole package: a great hire, with potential for longevity and success.

If you have been thinking about making a change, get in touch with Bentley Price Associates. We are always looking for candidates who bring value to our clients.

Dennis Rizzo

3 thoughts on “The Counteroffer Conundrum

  • February 8, 2018 at 9:19 am
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    Very true and very wise!

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 9:20 am
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    Excellent article dennis and I can say your and your group are number one in my book

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 11:12 am
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    This is so true, your only worth more once you decide to leave. they will be looking for your replacement very soon afterwards.

    Reply

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