Counteroffers & the Resignation

When you land the job of your dreams, it seems nothing can go wrong in your world. After all the time of planning, researching and interviewing, you’ve finally got the job you wanted and now it’s time to hand in your resignation to your current employer. However, instead of accepting your resignation at face value your employer turns the tables on you and presents you with a counteroffer. What do you do then?


Your current employer might entice you with more money, a new title or something you’ve really wanted. You may feel flattered and dazed. However, you need to know the consequences of accepting a counteroffer. By accepting a counteroffer, you might be unwittingly damaging to your credibility and your future.


The occasional employee may try to obtain a salary hike by accepting another job and resigning in anticipation of receiving a counter offer. It’s a very risky move to make with your career and can easily backfire.


Sometimes, an employer might be surprised by your sudden resignation and may not be in a position to hire a replacement. A counteroffer is made to you in this case. But think about why it may be extended.


  • Wouldn’t they offer to pay you what you are worth before you threaten to leave?
  • Could this additional pay simply be your next raise given to you early?
  • If word spreads, will your relationships be damaged?
  • During the next round of lay-offs will you be the first to go?
  • Most usually, this delay and counteroffer gives your employer some extra time to find your replacement.

Your career is secondary to company profits. Even if that’s not the case, with your loyalty forever in question, future promotions are called into question. When you accept a counteroffer, your employer often uses your acceptance to buy some time for the company to recruit your replacement. This way, your employer has the ball in their court. Once your employer becomes aware you’ve been conducting a job search, your company loyalty has been compromised. They know that should a bigger or better opportunity present itself, you will not hesitate to resign again. This leads to a lack of trust. You might be under the impression that your employer wants you desperately and that’s the reason the offer has been made. The employer uses this pacifier mode to engage a search in order to find your replacement. You should know that by accepting a counteroffer you are, by default, accepting the risk that you may be out the door once that replacement is found. 


Statistics show that nearly four out of five people who accept counter-offers will be let go within the first year – and this time there will be no alternative job offer standing by. Resign with the clear and specific desire to quit completely. Hold steady with your decision to move forward to the opportunity you have pursued. Do not be open to a counteroffer or manipulated to do something in your employer’s best interests. Even if your employer does not plan to replace you, your future growth in the company will be compromised. Future salary hikes, responsibilities, promotions and so on might just pass you by while you regret the dream job that you refused when you accepted your current employer’s counteroffer.


Do I think that these nightmare scenarios happen every time a counteroffer is accepted? No, but I have seen versions of this play out many many times over the years and so this information is just for you to be aware of the possibilities and make the smartest decision for you and for your career.


By Anjela Mangrum, the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and automation manufacturing businesses to source and secure transformational leaders for critical hiring needs in Operations and Supply Chain.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x17.

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