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3 Reasons Counter Offers Are A Bad Idea

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On my commute home from work, I overheard a woman say to her friend “I don’t want to leave my job, so I plan to get a job offer and that will make my current boss offer me more money”. I know I shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but surely people shouldn’t be applying for jobs with intention of using an offer to leverage more money in their current role? This really caught me by surprise. Do people really go through the rigmarole of job seeking just to use the offer to stay in their current job? I decided to investigate this further to see if it really is a feasible plan. What I discovered was 3 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t follow in that lady’s footsteps.

 

1. Wrong Attitude – Bad Start

From the get go the idea of applying for jobs with the aim of using a job offer to leverage your current pay is just poor judgement at best. If you want more money, you should have an honest conversation with your superior and if the conversation doesn’t go the way you hoped, you should apply for jobs that will offer you the pay you desire (with the intention to accept the job and leave your current role).

 

2. Burning Bridges 

Receiving a job offer is significant. The company who offered you the role clearly like you. They’ve taken the time to meet you and learn about your abilities and skills. They want you (over everyone else they interviewed) to join their company and because you have been eager through the recruitment process, they assume you want to join their team as well. This is until you suddenly come back to tell them you have accepted a counter offer. Now they know that you were never interested in their company, you only cared about money. You’ve essentially burned your bridges with this company, which could be damaging later in your career. You never know when your paths may cross again, and it could cause all sorts of friction to your work, not to mention awkward tension.

 

3. Ending Up In The Wrong Job (Regardless Of Which Offer You Accept)

There are two outcomes to this scenario, you accept the counter offer or you don’t get a counter offer, and you must accept the job you’ve been offered. Either way, both are the wrong job for you.

Let’s start with the counter offer, your boss is now acutely aware of your interest to jump ship and work somewhere else. Your counter offer may have been your boss’s reaction to the shock of losing you and premeditating the stress of finding a replacement. Once this shock subsides however, your boss will only remember the fact you tried to leave and this could affect you in a number of ways. After realising you might leave, your boss will now focus more attention on developing junior staff, this way if you leave he/she will be more confident in your subordinates. Then when the next promotion comes up you won’t be considered and when there are cut backs, it’ll be you that will feel the brunt of it.

The second scenario is that you don’t get a counter offer. After all the effort you made to get your job offer to approach your boss and negotiate more pay, your boss shakes your hand and wishes you the best of luck. I imagine this would be quite devastating, but what’s more devastating is starting a job you never really wanted in the first place. You were job hunting for all the wrong reasons and now you have to start a job that really doesn’t suit you.

 

Essentially, it’s not wise to job hunt to seek a counter offer. It’ll make you look disloyal and money hungry to both your current boss and to the company you applied to. If you want more money from your employer, ask for a pay raise and if you are denied, consider searching for a new job, with the aim to accept an offer and leave. Your goal should never be to receive a counter offer. I just hope the woman I overheard on the train didn’t go through with her plan. It looks to me like this can only go badly. I’m sure it is possible however for a counter offer to work out but to apply for jobs to seek out a counter offer, is not the right approach for climbing your career ladder.

Let us know if you have ever accepted a counter offer. Do you think it’s a good approach?

Posted by Clare Reynolds on 23 May 2019

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