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IT Jobs: 3 Reasons To Reject A Counteroffer

Accepting a counteroffer may be tempting, but it can pose big problems later. Here's why you should think twice before playing the game.

You've been offered a job at another company. You give your boss your resignation and he throws you a curveball: a counteroffer. Do you stay or do you go?

While counteroffers have the potential to pad your paycheck, there is more you need to consider before making your decision, said David Morgan, president of the IT division at recruiting company Addison Group. "At this point, your boss is going to say whatever he can to keep you. It may sound like a good position to be in, but it's not," he said in an interview.

Here are three reasons why you should think twice about accepting a counteroffer.

[Don't make these resume mistakes: IT Resume Revamp: Spotlight On IT Consultants.]

counteroffer

1. Money won't fix your problem.
Your company's counteroffer may be tempting -- more money, more vacation -- but you need to remember why you started looking for other opportunities in the first place.

"There are two elements here: the push and the pull," Morgan said. "What's pushing you away from your employer, and what's pulling you to a new opportunity? If you were recruited, what is the pull and is it better than the push? Ideally, the pull is bigger than the push, and that's what you need to remember going into the conversation."

A bump in salary may act as a bandage for some of the problems that prompted you to start looking, but it probably won't fix your situation, added Matt Leighton, director of recruitment at IT staffing agency Mondo. "Research shows that employees who accept a counteroffer usually leave that company six to eight months later," he said. "The money may be a temporary fix, but it won't solve your problems."

2. You will be labeled.
If you accept a counteroffer, your company will make a note of it in your file, which could pose problems later, Leighton said. "Even if you accept the counteroffer, they'll put a mark on your file to say what happened. It can be a bit of a black eye," he said.

This could be problematic down the road because your company considers you a flight risk, Morgan said. "If you accept the counteroffer, you may be working there and getting the money you wanted, but they're going to be very nervous about you in the future," he said. You could rise to the top of the list if they need to make cuts -- or be passed over for a promotion -- because they think it's only a matter of time before you consider leaving again.

3. Your reputation follows you.
You need to remember that your reputation is tied to your actions, Morgan said. Consider what may happen if you accept a counteroffer and years later find yourself interviewing for a position at the company -- or with the manager -- whose interview process you went through and job offer you ultimately turned down. "Good luck getting that job. That's a dangerous position to put yourself in," Morgan said.

Have you made a mistake in accepting a counteroffer, or did it work out for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Senior editor Kristin Burnham covers social media, social business, and IT leadership and careers for InformationWeek.com. Contact her at Kristin.Burnham@ubm.com or follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

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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). 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
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.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
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: Ninja
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.
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.
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.
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.
Petar Zivovic
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Petar Zivovic,
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.
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
1/24/2014 | 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?
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Research: 2014 US IT Salary Survey
Research: 2014 US IT Salary Survey
Our survey of nearly 12,000 respondents shows IT pays well -- staffers rack up a median total compensation of $92,000, and managers hit $120,000. Industry matters. And the gender pay gap is real and getting wider.
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