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IT Jobs: 3 Reasons To Reject A Counteroffer
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Dugan Savoye
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Dugan Savoye,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 3:25:17 PM
Counter offers DO NOT work
I have been in talent acquisition for 20 yrs. I have seen many candidates foolishly take counter offers - only to be fired within 6 months to a year. Recently, a company offered a huge counter offer to a candidate of mine, who smartly declined and moved on to a great new job. The Hiring Mgr later told me he was gald the candidate didn't take the offer because he would have let him go within 6 months - as soon as he found a replacement. Either get your company to give you what you want BEFORE you get a new job offer - OR  - take the new job and never look back!
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 8:30:16 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
In your opinion, are there any instances in which an employee should ask for or consider a counter offer?
FeliciaM354
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FeliciaM354,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 10:33:00 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
Short answer: No.  Money is very rarely the only reason people look for other opportunities, so it can't solve all the problems with a current employer.  The damage to your loyalty with your current employer and to your professionalism with the new employer will never be worth the money.  That money does not validate your worth, it buys your current employer time.  As soon as they can find a replacement willing to accept your old salary (or a way to delegate your workload to others), you will be let go for "budgetary reasons". 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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1/24/2014 | 8:45:01 AM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
I have to agree, if they are willing to pay you when you are ready to walk why did they not respect you enough to pay you before you had another position lined up?  Some of it is comfort, they get used to having you around and don't consider the cost but the other is that if you don't speak up when you have issues your management doesn't know that anything needs to change.  You need to do a little squeaky wheel action every now and then.  Also I'm of the opinion that money isn't everything.  I work for less than I could make at other companies because I have a level of flexibility and freedoms that I wouldn't have at many other companies.    I do feel that I'm worth much more than my salary shows but I'm happy with the work I do and the environment I work in. To me those are really important and if they changed no amount of money would keep me in place.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2014 | 12:24:47 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
I don't completely agree with the squeaky wheel approach.  If a resource's performance reviews are above average or exceptional and their salary isn't above average, do words need to be exchanged?  Leadership has a responsibility to make sure their compensation PACKAGE is commensurate with performance.

Although HR rules can sometimes be at odds with quickly rectifying inequities, there are non-salary options that help retain talent.  For instance, dust off that training budget and discuss a goal during their performance review that involves a winter training class in Florida.  Engage them in "next level" opportunities to help them gain recognition from key organizational leaders.  Take them to lunch two or three times a year.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2014 | 8:57:49 AM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
Well, I hope employers are reading this because I know that I've been in that situation many times.  Reviews are stellar, skills are praised, pay is lower than the median for the area.  I've never left a job because they didn't pay me enough but I am in that position now.  I know that my employer would happily keep my pay where it is if I didn't complain.  For them it's free labor and if I'm not going to complain why should they do anything about it?  I'm not saying you go in every day and complain about your pay but it does need to be mentioned or your employer will just assume you are OK.
cconnelly924
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cconnelly924,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2014 | 2:40:17 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
All must be true:

If your immediate supervisor gives you a job offer for their position in writing.

Your immediate supervisor is not getting a promotion and will not remain your immediate supervisor.

You will be appropriately compensated in salary, benefits, and perqs.

You can enjoy continued comradarie at your current position among current and future peers.

You really don't need to go to the new place for relocation reasons, health, or opportunities. 

 
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2014 | 3:41:20 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
Even with those nearly impossible conditions, you've still possibly burned a recruiter and for sure a future prospective employer.

My current employer has a policy regarding folks who accept an offer and later reverse their decision.  Such a candidate will never be considered for future employment.  Perhaps not all companies are this way but I see no problem with this practice.  A person's character is very important.  If a candidate goes back on their word, they simply aren't a good fit for the organization regardless of their raw talent.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2014 | 8:37:12 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
That's an interesting policy; I wonder if other businesses have something similar. It also brings up how important it is to have your priorities set before you start job searching. What's your target salary? What do you want to gain from your next role? What skills do you want to improve? People who reverse their decision are are usually driven by money, it seems, which shouldn't be the deciding factor.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2014 | 6:36:54 PM
Re: Counter offers DO NOT work
They are a $16B annual revenue privately held company.  They can do things a bit differently because they don't answer to activist investors or the whims of shareholders.  After being employed by publicly held companies my entire career, the last couple years have been a fantastic experience.  The company values employees and customer service above all else.  While everyone likes profits, they believe if they take care of employees and customers, profit will take care of itself.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2014 | 9:50:23 AM
Bad Resignation Experience
During an early job in my career I was promoted several times with no immediate pay increase.  Each time I was told my reward would be given during annual performance reviews.  Later I discovered that meant I would be given a bit more than average for my exceptional performance.  That's all they could do because corporate HR had guidelines and it was impossible to give more than the maximum raise.  Only a few years out of college, I had no corporate political experience and I accepted that explanation because I thought this was the way things must be done.

Eventually I was promoted to project lead and I began interviewing a few growth candidates for my team.  Since I wasn't a "resource manager", I assessed skills, character and team fit but not salary.  One day the director scheduled a quick meeting with me.  I was told that one of the candidates I selected will be hired and that they will be making $5K more than me.  I was asked if this was a problem.  Of course I said no, as if any other answer would have been comfortable.  Again I was told that my rewards would come during my annual performance review.  I was also informed that when I was originally hired, I should have asked for more money because I was at the low end of the pay scale -- even before the promotions.

Lucky for me this was a time of incredible growth in IT.  The Y2K FUD and subsequent bubble were on the distant horizon and the economy was beginning to roar after the difficulties of the mid/late 80s.  A career in IT was hot and getting hotter.  A couple folks left the company and soon the flood gates opened as those folks "outed" talented members of the staff.  After several recruiter calls and subsequent interviews, I accepted an offer for 50% more salary.

I was called into the director's office and asked why.  I said I enjoyed working with the team here, was thankful for the experience I gained but at this point in my career, the new opportunity was something I felt was the right thing to do.   That's when things went from uncomfortable to downright hostile.  I was demanded to tell where I was going, what I would be doing and my compensation.  Again I repeated that I was thankful for this opportunity and preferred not to discuss the new opportunity and that my decision was final.  Then I was told that "I was one of those people".  (Whatever that meant.)  I was accused of making a big mistake and words were said that implied I was chasing money.  I was also told that things can be done to retain me.  At this point I was very uncomfortable and simply refused to discuss the matter further.

Since then, I've resigned from other companies and have never experienced anything like this.  I was offered the opportunity to air my thoughts in a professional exit interview and all respected my desire to not discuss counter offers.  In my opinion when a new opportunity is accepted, that's it!  You've given your word and if you back out, anyone who knows what you've done will never trust you again. (i.e. old company, new company, recruiter, etc.)

To this day I still question whether or not I made the right decision at that early job.  Should I have discussed where I was going, what I was going to be doing and how much more money I was going to make?  Should I have let them know my promotions were disappointing because I received chintzy "above average" raises and that I was bothered when some folks made significantly more than me even though having lesser positions?  If I had, what good would have come of it?
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/24/2014 | 10:13:05 AM
Re: Bad Resignation Experience
Exactly - you gave your word to the company whose offer you accepted. It's ironic that just as social media and more job-hopping has made it easier for potential employers to figure out how some's reputation is perceived, people seem to be thinking less about ethics and character.

In most fields, it's a small world and getting smaller. People talk, and reputation follows.
pzivovic606
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pzivovic606,
User Rank: Strategist
1/24/2014 | 7:09:40 PM
Re: Bad Resignation Experience
Given the hostile manner in which you were treated at the exit interview of that initial job, I am of the opinion that you absolutely did the right thing in not discussing the matter any further. There is a word for that kind of treatment: bullying. In truth, you escaped.

Generally the right thing to do is to communicate with corporate management, through proper channels (that usually means starting with your supervisor), what you would like changed and why. For it to be effective, the case has to be made as to how it benefits the company as well. Otherwise, you're just wasting everyone's time. Allow a reasonable amount of time for the request(s) to be processed to get an answer.

Regardless of policies in force, anything is negotiable - policies, rules, etc. are put in place by people. In an ideal world, they are designed to smooth operations and make things run efficiently. Nevertheless, they are considerations that can be examined again, esp. in light of a legitimate exception.

If you've gone through all that and not made enough headway to be satisfied, then it's time to move on. No counteroffer, esp. at this point, should even be considered, for reasons already mentioned in this article and the other responses here.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/30/2014 | 9:53:02 AM
Re: Bad Resignation Experience
rradina: What you did is called class. You moved on in a professional manner and didn't burn bridges (never, ever do that). 
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
1/24/2014 | 10:11:41 AM
A better response
I think the better response from a supervisor is more along the lines of, "We will really miss you, but we wish you the best of luck!"

End on a high note (whether you feel it or not)
Jack1957
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Jack1957,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2014 | 12:32:37 PM
Counter Offers
I took a counter offer in 1987 and then left the company 5 months later anyway. I was laid off from the new job and my old job had a position I was very qualified for but would not consider me for because of the past history.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/24/2014 | 3:40:52 PM
Other stories?
@rradina's experience is a good example of how sensitive these situations can be. Who else has had bad -- or good -- counter offer experiences?
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2014 | 2:58:10 AM
Re : IT Jobs: 3 Reasons To Reject A Counteroffer
@Dugan Savoye, one has to agree with you. If our employer is so well aware of our worth that he doesn't want to let us depart and gets ready to pay whatever he has to, why didn't he recognize that potential before the new offer. When he couldn't recognize the potential before anyone else actually did, there is no point in staying with him.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2014 | 2:58:11 AM
Re : IT Jobs: 3 Reasons To Reject A Counteroffer
@SaneIT, comfort and happiness in the work environment is the most important thing to consider without any doubt. Without flexible and conducive work environment any amount of money becomes immaterial because of the absence of peace of mind. But there are people in the world whose priorities are different. They prefer money to other factors.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2014 | 2:58:13 AM
Re : IT Jobs: 3 Reasons To Reject A Counteroffer
@ David F. Carr, ideally this should be the case certainly but in fact it rarely happens. It's strange that the same people who have been quite friendly with us behave weirdly when we decide to shift from one place to another. Whether a working relationship or some other social relationship, if we are to depart, it's always good to end on a high note and have sweet memories.


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