Is That Counteroffer a Trick or a Treat?

October 23, 2017 in Career and Job Search Tips



You were so close.

You accepted that offer for an exciting new food & beverage position, tendered your resignation and felt great about the decision…

…until you received a counteroffer.

At first glance, that offer seemed like a great deal.Your employer offered you a raise with the potential for a promotion in the near future.

But is it really the “treat” you think it is, or is your boss trying to “trick” you into staying?

With top food & beverage talent more in-demand than ever, countering an employee has become an increasingly popular retention tactic – and it frequently works, because the offer is typically made in conjunction with some sort of flattery or guilt-inducing appeal:

  • You’re too valuable and we need you.
  • You can’t desert the team and leave them hanging.
  • What did they offer, and what do you need to stay?
  • Why would you want to work for that organization?

Regardless of the form a counteroffer takes, one thing is clear:

You need to make the right choice for your career.

Here’s how to see through an employer’s tempting gesture, eliminate confusion and act decisively:

  • Evaluate why you chose to pursue another opportunity. While money is always a motivator, more often there are other factors that drove you to look: culture fit, dislike for your boss, lack of challenge, lack of recognition, insane deadlines or workloads, the list goes on. Those factors aren’t going to change, and they will likely start bothering you again as soon as the glow from your raise fades.
  • Consider your value. If you were only worth $X yesterday to your current employer, why are you suddenly worth more today? Clearly, if you hadn’t taken the initiative to find a better job opportunity elsewhere, your employer would not have offered you more money. Now that you’ve announced your departure, however, they’re back-pedaling – because they know it will likely take two people to do your job.
  • Understand the consequences if you stay. Once you tell your employer that you’re entertaining another job offer, your boss will rightfully question your loyalty. Their counteroffer may only be a ploy to buy themselves time while they search for your replacement. The harsh reality? If you accept your employer’s counter, you may very well find yourself pushed out soon afterward, or be overlooked for promotions down the road. Think like an employer for a minute: Would you give the office keys to someone who recently announced that they were planning to leave?

The positive effects of accepting a counteroffer are temporary at best. Bad workplaces, unmet expectations and compromised work relationships are much more permanent – and no pay raise will ever fix them. So, while it’s natural to be flattered when your employer counters, be confident in your choice. Respectfully turn down the offer and move forward confidently.

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