Should You Reconsider Leaving Your Job for a Counter Offer?

As a candidate, getting a counter offer after resignation can provoke serious doubts about the wisdom of your choices. Weighing up the question "Should I stay or should I go?" is both important and time-pressured, as you are unlikely to have the luxury of much time to consider the proposal made.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are some ideas to think about to help you balance out your options.

Questions to ask yourself

Getting a counter offer is inherently flattering. Of course, it shows that your employer values your work enough that they will fight to keep you, and it naturally may be enough to cause you to reconsider your decision. However, if you are seriously considering a counter offer, think beyond the ego-boosting properties of the prospect.

One of the most important things to think about is what caused your initial decision to look for a new role. What facts (or even instincts) caused you to start your job hunt? What in the counter offer addresses the issues that got you looking at leaving originally?

If the counter offer improves only salary – without making positive improvements to your personal development and career prospects – then how long will it keep you satisfied?

And don’t forget to ask yourself why the increase wasn’t offered earlier? Is it a reflection of your value to the business or a short- term measure from a manager who wants to buy time?

Finally consider how your relationship with your boss has changed. Would the perceived indecision attached to accepting a counter offer prove damaging to your future career prospects?

Often the world of work is small – could future employers hear of your decision and consider you to be an unreliable candidate?

Prepare for a counter offer

As a job seeking candidate, it can feel like things are happening all at once when you get to the point of resigning, but there is plenty of thinking you can do in advance of tendering your resignation so you’re prepared for a counter offer.

Consider the questions above, and also think about your own levels of motivation, both to leave your current job and, of course, to move towards the new position. Are you really committed to either eventuality?

If you’re currently in a counter offer negotiation, then have a clear position – both your ideal outcome and your minimum acceptable position – across the things that matter to you (salary and benefits are important, but personal development and progression prospects should also feature in your thinking process).

If you are not prepared to accept a counter offer of any level, say so early. Don’t enter into a negotiation if you are wasting your own and your current business’ time. You will gain more respect from your honesty and openness.

See also: I Quit! 25 Brilliant Resignations

Whether you are an employer or a candidate, change always comes with mixed feelings, excitement and fear, but also a sense of both possibility and risk. In the moment, when emotions are running high, it can be enormously helpful to take a step back to methodically work through the pros and cons of different choices, rather than leap into a reflex action, to reject or accept a counter offer.