Disclaimer: There is no agenda to this blog post whatsoever. This is simply an expert opinion from a firm that has been operating in the recruiting industry for 20 years.
To understand why a counter offer is a bad idea, it’s necessary to separate the client and the candidate sides of the perspective.
Let’s address the obvious statement right out of the box. When a candidate comes to present their resignation notice to a hiring manager, there’s a reason for it. This should resonate because for whatever the reason, that particular candidate no longer feels that the employer is the right fit for them anymore. The first inclination may be to be so scared of losing an employee whose work you rely upon that you throw the kitchen sink at them to get them to stay. Money does talk, however, you may have just blown your budget for the position with a counteroffer. Once the initial feeling of relief that the employee is staying passes by, resentment that they tried to leave will set in. That, combined with the fact that you are now way over budget on that role, will set in motion the need to replace that same employee with someone less expensive.
Therefore, you’ve compounded the problem by not letting go of an employee who originally wanted to be elsewhere, spent too much money to keep them, and now have to spend more time and money to find a new employee.
Stick to your gut! 9 times out 10, within 3 months of accepting a counter offer, we receive a call from that same candidate informing us that they have been let go. It starts with the age old saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
There’s a reason you started your job search in the first place, and provided you have received what you sought after from a new employer, you only have your word as your reputation in the marketplace. Once you go back on that and accept a counter offer, it’s impossible to regain that trust with everyone involved, including your current employer. They now understand you were looking to leave and will never trust you again, whether they admit or not. Money is a short term fix, not a long one. Why accept a promotion now, only offered when pressed against the wall that you thought was deserved already?
The emotional tie is a real human trait, but don’t let an employer pray on that. It’s not the right or ethical thing to do, and anyone who does is simply holding you back. If you start a job search, have your parameters clear and outlined, communicate those to anyone involved, and follow through on doing what you say you’re going to do.