Most executives who accept counter
offers are no longer with that employer 12 to 18 months later.
If you accept a counter offer,
you will be placed on the slow track at your company.
You’ve been offered
a job, and decide to resign. Your boss blanches.
“Erma, I know I’ve
been slow in dealing with you. The board has been driving me
the last six months, and that tender offer we made to buy Muckraker’s
kept me without sleep for the nine months before that. But
intended to deal with your salary for quite some time, and to advance
your title from Director to VP/Development. I don’t know what we’d do
without you. What will it take to keep you here?”
You’ve known and loved Alphonse for the eight years that you’ve worked
there. You know his wife and his kids.
Alphonse has always been a busy guy. He always has one catastrophe or
another that has kept him way behind. If you think about it
objectively, you know full well that if you hadn’t told him you were
leaving, you’d be getting 6% salary increases each year for the next
You may feel complimented, but you should feel
insulted when offered a counter offer. If you are worth
instead of the $215,000 they’ve been paying you, why weren’t they
already paying you $275,000? Did you become more valuable
overnight, as if the
gold market had magically skyrocketed, and you’re a bar of
thinking that you had to hold a gun to your boss’s head to get him to
give you a raise, there are a couple of other points to ponder about a
organization's problems won’t go away. Money
probably wasn’t the only reason you were thinking about leaving. The
organizational peccadiloes that drove you bananas will still be
there if you stay, regardless of the promises they make that they’re
going to reorganize your division, get you more help, finally give
you the ad budget you need or put Hortense in her place and make her
keep her nose out of your department.
you accept a counter
offer, you will be ever suspect. Some people
naively think that if
they make it public that they could go elsewhere, either by resigning
and then accepting a counter offer or by making it public that a search
firm called them about a job, they will strengthen their value in the
eyes of their employer. The opposite is true. Almost always,
closed doors, the big brass will be saying, “Well, maybe we can
Erma to head up that division if she’s still around.” Or,
“Let’s give that position to Lance; if we put Erma in there, no telling
how long she’ll stay.”
The disloyalty will cloud your image and haunt you. You
will no longer be held in high esteem, and they are far more likely to
fire you over a little disagreement down the road. Or they’ll put a
plan in place to groom or recruit your successor, and when the new
guy is ready, they’ll send you packing.
I’ve seen a couple of
surveys on this issue. One showed that 80% of executives who
counter offers were gone after 12 months. Another showed that
gone within 18 months.
My experience is worse. I don’t know if
I’ve seen anyone accept a counter offer who stayed with their old
company for any length of time. And at least half of them left because
they got fired by the boss who groveled to keep them there the year
one of my clients makes an offer to a candidate, I always prepare the
candidate for a counter offer. “I’m not going to tell you to accept our
offer,” I’ll tell her. “I can’t tell you what to do with your life.
However, if you’re as good as we think you are, don’t be surprised if
you get a counter offer. Don’t even consider taking it. Make up your
mind whether you’ll take our job, or not, without talking it over with
your current employer. If you decide not to take our offer, don’t
breathe a word about our offer to them. If you do decide to take this
job, stick with your decision. If they make a counter offer
accept, expect your reputation to be forever tainted there.”
now, I’m giving the same advice to you.
If you’re someone’s boss, as you must be if you’re earning $100,000 or
more, don’t make counter offers. As painful as it may seem at the time,
let the person go. She won’t stay much longer, anyway.