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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Counter Offers - What to Do?

So you gave your notice to your current employer and it went surprisingly well. You kept things professional and have been a valuable asset to the organization. Your boss wants to have an additional meeting...maybe have dinner and just talk about things for a while. What's the harm? After all, your boss has also been your friend and confidant for the past few years and you owe it to him to just say thank you. But wait, what is really going on here? In the back of your mind you are feeling like something is up...Your boss never invited you for dinner before. Your boss is going to make you a counter offer.

Before giving notice or even starting your job search you should determine what your main reasons are for looking for a new job. Is it money, professional growth, job location, or a combination of things? Do you feel like you have learned everything there is to learn at your current job? Do you feel unappreciated? Or is it just time to move on? Whatever the reasons, before you start your job search you should speak with your boss about what you think is missing from your job. Searching for a new job is very time consuming. Why waste your time looking for a job if you are just going to stay put even if you get a new offer? Before taking time off and interviewing talk to your current boss about your future with the company. Ask questions like where do you see me 1 year from now? Talk openly about a career path and future earning potential. If you are not able to have this type of conversation with you boss it's probably one of the reasons you are looking for a job in the first place.

While a counter offer may be flattering, it's too little too late. Companies present counter offers to keep you from walking out the door. It's cheaper and less time consuming for them to attempt to keep a current employee than to train a new one. Also your boss is partially evaluated by retention of employees. Additionally, current projects will be delayed and morale will suffer if you leave. They want a low turnover rate and especially don't want you to go work for a competitor. A counter offer is NOT about you...it's about your company.

Here are a few reasons why you should not take a counter offer:

1. You should be paid what you are worth in the first place.

Why does your employer now feel that you are worth more money simply because you gave notice? Shouldn't you have already been paid the amount? It's a back handed compliment to be offered more money. The additional money most likely will be taken from your next raise so don't think you are going to get a pay raise if you are still around next time there is a salary review.

2. If you must threaten to quit in order to get what you want, the company is probably not worth working for anyway.

I recently spoke with a Speech Pathologist working at a local hospital who felt she was underpaid. The Speech Pathologist met with the boss, asked for a raise and was declined. Her boss said in order to earn a raise she needed a written offer letter with a higher salary from another hospital. She had to spend time away from her current job interviewing (using vacation and sick days) and than present that offer to her current boss and HR. She interviewed, received a higher offer, went back to her current employer and they matched the higher offer. In 3 months she left anyway because money wasn't the only reason she wanted a new job. However, she needed to go through the whole outside interview process again.

3. Once you have shown your disloyalty to the company by giving notice your employer may consider you a flight risk.

Next time you have a doctors appointment your boss will probably think you are interviewing. Sick day = interview, vacation = interview, and so on...

4. A counter offer is nothing more than a stall tactic to give the company time to find your replacement.

Employers want to be in control of who is employed within the organization. Companies conduct confidential searches to replace employees all the time. What makes you any different?

5. The reasons that made you want to leave don't just go away.

Promises made at counter offer time rarely stay in place. The time to leave your current job is now...when you have a better offer from another employer and on your terms.

Most employees who accept counter offers are gone within one year. Also, top companies do not make counter offers because their policies are fair and based on market conditions. When you receive a counter offer it's best to thank the employer but politely decline.

ResuWe.com, FightUnemployment.com

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