I'm gonna make you a (counter) offer you can't refuse...

A friend approached me recently asking whether or not he should accept a considerable counter-offer from his employer following his recent resignation.

The question made me remember my recruitment consultancy training of how to handle such situations.  Fortunately, now possessing the in-house experience I was in a better position to offer balanced(ish)  advice for his consideration.

As a recruitment consultant you're trained to focus on the negatives of the counter-offer when advising a candidate you're representing. One of the first questions a consultant will (or should) ask a new candidate at registration is, “why are you looking to leave your current employer” You then listen out for triggers to ascertain whether the reasons are deep and sincere or shallow and superficial.  If the latter the sirens go off WHOOP WHOOP STEP AWAY FROM THE CANDIDATE.  STEP AWAAAY FROM THE CANDIDATE. Why? because the chances are you'll invest (waste) a lot of time in someone who'll end being easily lured by a counter offer.

Going back to my friend, The ex-recruitment consultant in me gave him one argument to consider:

  • Remember the reasons why you decided to leave in the first place...
  • Why are they offering you this money now?...
  • Why didn't they value you that much prior to receiving your resignation?...

I gave  the schpleil I was trained to give as a recruitment consultant about the emotional journey one goes on when handing  in their notice i.e:

  1. You usually decide to leave your role because of stress, frustration, unhappiness etc brought on for numerous and varied reasons.
  2. When you hand your notice in it's as though someone flicks a switch.  The things you were unhappy about disappear. You become more relaxed.
  3. After a short time you think, "hey, it’s not that bad around here after all.  I think I might stay.  Ooh, and for more money.  Nice."
  4. But guess what.  More often than not, 3 - 6 months down the line the memories come flooding back as to why you resigned in the first place and you'll regret not leaving when you had the chance.

As a consultant you would be trained to advise that once you've handed your notice in it's never forgotten. "if the company need to downsize guess who'll be near the top of the list for the chop...?"

That was one side for him to mull over...

...Since my recruitment consultant days I like to think I've matured and grown wider ahem, wiser (if only a little) with age.  I've also had the privilege of being with a company that really values it's people, where I work with leaders who encourage honesty and transparency - who I’d feel comfortable approaching if I had concerns about any aspect of my role / career.

Liking this new rounder rounded, me I heard myself also advising that bosses aren't telepathic. Did they know you were unhappy in your role?  Did you at any time express the concerns you were having?  If not it could be argued they should be given the opportunity to put things right  i.e. speak to someone about how you're feeling.  I'm not advising you say you're thinking about handing your notice in but explain what you're going through and why.  Give them a chance to put it right.

Now,  considering myself rather cynical I couldn't quite believe the words that were tumbling from my lips.  The old recruitment consultant me would have told him to sod the bastids. Don't even give it a second thought. Leave. Don't pass Go. Don't collect £500.  Run from the building, preferably with your arms flailing in the air wailing like a banshee.

If my friend had explained his current place of employment wasn't conducive to that level of honesty I may have resorted to the paragraph above.  In this instance it didn't matter as the horse had already bolted.  He had already handed his notice in but he had faith in the relationship with his business leaders to return to the table equipped with some further questions about his future in the company if he did accept the counter.

So, should you accept a counter offer?  As with many things it depends on many variables – some raised here for my friend's and your consideration.


Hungry for more?  Check me out at www.trecknowledgy.com - training and coaching through recruitment complexities.  Follow on Twitter @TRecKnowledgy

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