When handing in your resignation or confronting your line manager with an offer from another company you face having to consider taking a counter offer. Dependent on your importance to the business, their current circumstances or how hard you would be to replace the chances of a counter-offer increase.
Rather than title this post “Why taking a counter offer is a bad idea”, from being in recruitment long enough, I’ve found that many simply have the objective of getting a counter-offer all along. It is fair to say then that being faced with a counter offer puts you in one of two boats. The first is where you were planning to leave, but face a counter offer. The second is where you weren’t planning to leave but used it as leverage in order to get a counter offer.
Getting the Record Straight
Firstly, I don’t want to outright criticise someone for strategically seeking to gain leverage solely for the purpose of obtaining a counter-offer. I get it. Sometimes you are quite happy where you are but simply want a pay rise. If politely asking for it doesn’t work, then strong arming your employer might do.
That doesn’t make it morally right, but then again if your employer can suddenly afford to pay you more when you threaten to leave one could argue that the door swings both ways.
The Bit that Annoys Recruiters
Most recruiters, like us, only get paid once you are placed and stay in the job until what’s called our rebate period expires. The rebate is basically a refund period if you don’t work out. This can cover your first few months in a job. If you do not even start the job, it’s just a big waste of a recruiter’s time. Bear in mind that the recruiter has spent possibly weeks or even months trying to get the client on board. The recruiter may have fought tooth and nail to get a chance with that client. If then the first placement the recruiter finds for the client doesn’t even start, it makes the recruiter look like about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Therefore, if you are seeking a counter offer and just want leverage just apply to a company directly. After all, if you’re not planning on taking the job anyway who cares who it’s with?
The Short Sightedness of Seeking a Counter Offer
If you are seeking a counter offer don’t expect to be Mr or Mrs Popular. Not only is it frustrating and a huge waste of time for a recruiter, hiring manager and proposed new employer but it’s short sighted on your part.
Yes. You may well achieve your objective of securing a counter offer with a pay rise. But you’ve showed your cards to your current employer. After this do you think they’ll consider you for promotion? Why would they? If they promoted you that means you’ll be in an even more valuable position to the company. If someone had leverage of you now would you want to give them more leverage over you? No way. It’d be counter intuitive.
Benefits, Overtime and Incentives
If your role includes the option for overtime at say time and a half that means that whatever pay rise your employer has had to give you to counter offer you, they’d then have to pay time and a half on top of that for your overtime. Sounds great right? But unless you are indispensable to the company then they could just grant overtime to someone else who costs them less to do the same job couldn’t they? Inadvertently you could take an increase on your basic only to have it offset through a loss in overtime. How strange that this is actually a common pattern in those who take counter offers in an overtime heavy position?
As for extra benefits, the money that could have gone to those has gone into your counter offer. You might too well notice that benefits and perks start fading away.
Hard Times and Loyalty
We are due a recession at some point. Probably soon. If you’re an employer and you have to make redundancies who’s the easier names to sacrifice? The loyal guy who never caused you a problem? Or the person who you suspect metaphorically held you at gunpoint for a pay rise? What’s easier on their conscience?
Taking a Counter Offer When You Had Intended to Leave
In all honesty this is a bad call. If you had intended on leaving it was for a reason. Unless it was purely for more money, taking a counter offer won’t solve much. If you wanted training in a specific field and you never got it what will change? Some promises? Don’t be so naive.
It’ll be a short term fix. What’s the point? Will the counter offer take away your reasons for leaving? And I don’t mean “well my boss who’s bullsh**ed me for the last 3 years said they will”. Again, don’t be naive.
If you’ve deliberately intended on securing a counter offer to get more money just apply to companies directly. Don’t bring a Recruiter into it. Please. It’s just a huge waste of time. It’d be like you having your locks changed on your house and then being told they forgot to make a key so will have to do it all again. It just say’s you’re a bit of a money grabber and your loyalty is questionable. Don’t expect to receive much loyalty back when the shoe is on the other foot bear in mind.
If you had originally intended to leave but chose to take a counter offer it just say’s that you’re making a niave decision. It really isn’t a good idea and you will come to regret it. Unless of course you were leaving for more money. A counter offer with a pay rise could fix that. If you’re leaving for a different reason though, what will it solve?
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