CounterOffer – A Career Pitfall

A counteroffer is defined simply as an incentive from the current employer to persuade the individual to remain on the job after they have accepted a position from another company. They come in many forms; raises and promotions to name a few. When hiring candidates today, especially while targeting the top twenty-five percent performers, count on the fact that they will receive a counteroffer from their current company. Needless to say, it is disappointing to
lose the top candidate after much time spent in the interviewing and hiring process.

Candidates are extremely vulnerable at the time of giving their resignation. Most people are flattered by the perception that they are too valuable to lose. Job changes are difficult and it is human nature to avoid any type of career confrontation. The only way to prevent counteroffer acceptance is to educate candidates early regarding certain universal facts.

Counteroffers are often extended by management for the wrong reasons. When a “superstar” decides to leave the company, it is often a direct reflection on the boss or manager. There is never a convenient time to lose a top producer. Therefore, the employer will do whatever he has to do to keep the employee from leaving until he is ready to terminate the business relationship. Often after accepting a counteroffer, the employee is perceived as disloyal, dishonest and eventually might be fired. In addition, most individuals (approximately eighty percent) will realize that their initial reasons for wanting to depart still exist. Within three to six months after they receive a counteroffer, they will decide once again to leave the company.

In summary, by use of solid “preventive medicine” a counteroffer can be recognized as a detriment not a benefit. Candidates should be warned about the danger of counteroffers from the start. If this process is done properly, the employer can count on the person hired reporting for work as scheduled.