Why You Should Never Accept That Counteroffer

When you decide to quit your job, you’re probably going to have some second thoughts. And so will your employer.

After the initial shock of your imminent departure wears off, your current bosses may realize that you’re a valuable part of the team. They might decide that they don’t have the time or resources to conduct a search, or that in the current economic climate it will be very difficult to replace you.

Whatever the reason, they’re likely to come up with what’s known as a counteroffer — a package designed to entice you to stay. They may make you an offer of better compensation (a salary increase or stock options), increased benefits (such as more vacation time) or more flexibility (letting you work from home a certain number of days a week). A promotion, a title change, or increased responsibility might be on the table. It can run the gamut — anything that they can think of to get you to stay, even for a short time.

At this point, you might be feeling pretty good about the place. You might romanticize your time there, remembering the good times and wondering whether the reasons you gave notice were the right ones. You start to second guess your reasons for leaving in the first place.

At Averity, we’ve seen this scenario play out frequently. We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s never a good idea to accept the counteroffer. Here are some of the major reasons why:

It won’t solve your problems with the job. There was a reason you decided to leave, remember? Chances are it wasn’t just about the salary. You didn’t see a chance for a promotion, or your skills weren’t being used, or your input didn’t seem to be valued. Most of all, you probably didn’t think the job was taking your career where you thought it should go. All those things are going to creep up again.

You’re likely to leave anyway. Study after study comes up with the same results: Employees who accept counteroffers don’t stick around for long. LinkedIn reports that 80% of those who accept a counteroffer are looking for a job after three months. They’re not just absentmindedly scrolling through job posts — they’re sending out resumes or working with a recruiter. About half of those who take a counteroffer end up departing within a year.

You won’t be seen as loyal. Because you announced your intention to leave, your employer will question whether you’re in it for the long haul. (Harvard Business Review reports that 80% of executives say that employees who accept a counteroffer have a diminished reputation in the company.) Your supervisors think of you as disloyal. Colleagues look at you differently. Giving your notice, even if you change your mind, forever alters your work environment. If any budget cuts happen in the future, you’re likely to be on the block sooner than others. Also, if an opportunity arises for an interesting project that everyone wants to work on, you will likely be the last to be considered, since you will be seen as a “flight risk”.

You won’t move up the ladder. If you felt that your career was stalled before, wait until you take that counteroffer. Since they wonder whether you’ll leave in six months or a year, your supervisors aren’t going to consider you for a promotion. Here’s a good exercise: Think about the highest possible position you can realistically reach at your current company. Then consider the jobs you’re qualified for at other companies. If these put you farther along your career path, you’re making the right decision to leave.

So what should you do if you get a counteroffer? Be friendly, but firm. Thank your employer profusely, but explain that you’re ready to move on. Resist the urge to offer any critiques of your team or your supervisor, even if you’re asked to do so. And don’t badmouth the company with coworkers. Things like that have a way of getting back to the boss.

Leaving a company won’t necessarily reflect poorly on you, but 84% of HR executives say that leaving on bad terms will adversely affect your career. There’s a chance that you’ll work at this company again in the future, or that you’ll work alongside some of the same colleagues elsewhere. At the very least you’ll want to reach out to someone as a reference. Do the best you can to not burn bridges.

It’s never an easy choice to leave your current employer and move on to a job at a new firm. But once you make that difficult decision, stick to it. At the end of the day you’ll find yourself happier and have fewer regrets.

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Nothing but a positive experience working with Averity and Samantha Hoffenberg in particular. Professional, attentive and extremely supportive every step of the way. Samantha actually took the time to really understand my background - no cut and paste here. Shortly thereafter I was matched with three opportunities that really fit my skillset and where I was at in my career. Prepping for interviews was concise and relevant and I was kept informed every step of the way. No guessing where I was at in the interview process. No waste-of-time body count interviews. It was obvious Samantha had solid, long-lasting relationships with the firms I interviewed with as the feedback was always informative. This is one recruiter I can and do actually recommend and the first person I will be calling if the need ever arises again.

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Chris Descrescenzo and the team at Averity are phenomenal. 5 stars are simply not enough! I've worked with quite a few recruiters in the past but Chris Descrescenzo and the Averity team are exceptional. I just landed an incredible job opportunity after a single interview. Especially in this tenuous economic climate, I truly appreciated the steps and care Chris took. He was incredibly generous with his time, and made sure the position was a good match. Then, he sent me incredible prep notes which were invaluable. He followed up with me every step of the way and was always there to talk through every possible question. I have never had a more successful interview process. Hands down. I could write a novella about his knowledge, kindness and professionalism. But simply put: He is the best. Thank you!

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I had a stellar experience working with Stephanie Grosso at Averity. She's got this great combo of positivity and efficiency, and she helped me land a job less than a month after we first spoke. I felt super supported at every step of the multi-stage interview process, and she's always been available with great advice whenever I needed it. Definitely a high-quality recruitment experience.

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I just had an extremely positive experience working with the DevOps placement team Alex, Daniel, and Chad. They were all consummate professionals who kept my schedule full with relevant interviews. They also helped prep me and were constantly checking in to make sure we were doing everything we could to find the next opportunity. There is potentially a lot of stress that comes with a career transition, but the folks at Averity really know how to help you focus on next steps and moving forward one day at a time. I couldn't recommend them any higher.

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I had a great experience working with Averity. The team was continually attentive, and very effective at presenting me with the right opportunities and advocating for me throughout the offer stage. I'd highly recommend them!

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I worked with Chris De Crescenzo from Averity, he reached out to me with a role that was right in line with my skills at the time. The role was a great fit for me with an awesome company, and he kept me up-to-date and informed at each turn of the interview process. In almost no time I was at the final interview step and Chris walked me through the on-boarding process and how to go from there. He was a pleasure to work with and professional, ensuring I was prepared at each step of the way so that I was primed for success. It was great working with Averity and especially him!

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