Counteroffer: A Delicate Balance
When it comes to your career, there are few moments more flattering than receiving a counteroffer.
You go out and find a job with a great salary and perhaps a loftier title, only to have your current boss return with a proposal to keep you in the company.
Still, while a counteroffer may provide an ego boost, accepting it should be avoided in most cases, according to career experts.
The potential pitfalls of accepting a counteroffer are twofold.
First, your boss may be pleased that you will continue working for your current company. But the relationship between employer and employee may be permanently damaged, says Meg Montford, chief coaching officer at Abilities Enhanced in Kansas City, Mo.
“They might match the offer to keep you, but what’s going to happen down the road?” she asks. “Once you’ve showed that you are interested in leaving, that will always be in the back of your boss’ mind.”
Moreover, in most cases, a person who accepts a counteroffer ultimately leaves their job anyway, says career expert Katherine Simmons, CEO of executive networking firm Netshare.
“Conventional wisdom from executive search says that if a candidate has accepted an offer, and then receives and accepts a counteroffer from their current employer, there is a high probability they will not last the year in their job.”
Second, accepting a counteroffer means you have to rescind your verbal agreement to work for the new company. This will likely mean the opportunity to work for that firm in the future is dramatically diminished.
“No company wants to be left with egg on their face,” explains Montford. “Once you tell the company that you have decided to stay where you are, you have pretty much sealed your fate.”
Career experts also strongly advise against using job offers as a tactic to snag a raise or promotion from your boss.
It’s far more productive – and far less risky – to speak with your boss about your goals, according to Simmons.
She suggests a direct approach: Ask your boss to establish specific goals for you. Then ask your boss if achieving those goals will result in a raise and promotion.
“Rather than saying, ‘I want more money and a better title,’ say that you need new responsibilities and new challenges,” she advises.