Searching for a job when you have a job can be a challenge, especially when you are truly only passively searching in hopes of finding “something better”.

And why shouldn’t you be passively searching?  I always encourage people to explore their markets as this exploration is the best way for you to truly know what salary you can bring in as well as what options other companies may be able to provide you in the way of career growth.  Sometimes the result of this research is that you find your compensation and career path at your current company is exactly what you are looking for, and sometimes you find the exact opposite.

What I will tell you is if you have decided to explore other positions outside of your current company and you are given a job offer, accepting a counteroffer from your current employer will likely lead to disaster.  You may feel the counteroffer is flattering, however, from where I sit (as a hiring manager and recruiter for about 17 years) the people I have known to accept counteroffers have eventually regretted their decisions.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should never accept a counteroffer from your current employer:

1.  Once you have threatened to quit you show you are not fully satisfied with something within your position, the company, the compensation, etc.  Even if your reasons for wanting to seek employment elsewhere are temporarily resolved (such as an increase in salary), your employer will feel it is only a matter of time before you threaten to leave again.  You have just made yourself a liability to your company!

2.  Think about why you are receiving that counteroffer…what is motivating your manager to give you what you are looking for now?  Why is the increase in salary, educational reimbursement request, or that promotion you feel you deserve an option now when it wasn’t 30 minutes ago?  While perhaps your current employer may be doing the right thing and genuinely trying to retain talent, you also have to consider that perhaps your current employer is really just trying to protect himself.  Attrition costs companies money and when people leave, their managers look bad.

3.  And most importantly, companies who are operationally and strategically mature will never give you a counteroffer.  These companies know they provide a competitive salary because they do the research to confirm you are being paid at or above industry average.  These companies know they provide a career path for you because they have a robust career development program.  The reality of it is these companies have a plan in place to retain and incent their top talent and want to keep people on board who are happy with their environment.

Now, I know “never” is a pretty strong word and I will admit a small percentage of folks who accept counteroffers have positive outcomes, but I would like for you to think about the risks before you are put into this type of situation.  Know what you want, know what you are willing to accept, and stick to your goals.  Most of all, good luck!

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts


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