Much has been written about all the reasons why you should not accept a counter offer from your current employer when you receive a new job offer from another organization. Most advice on this subject comes directly from recruiters and recruiting firms who have a vested interest in you accepting a new offer, which is, of course, their fee.
While I agree there are definite reasons why you shouldn’t accept a counter offer, there are some valid reasons when you should accept a counter offer.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself and why:

1. Why did you decide to look for a new opportunity?

If you were acting out of emotion because something didn’t go the way you planned or you were passed over for a promotion or raise, more than likely you are acting out of emotion, and not thinking the right way. In most cases, decisions based purely on emotion never end well. However, if you are unhappy with your work challenge, the way the company is run, or you have a personality conflict with your direct supervisor, these are issues that won’t be remedied by a counter offer. On the other hand, if you are unhappy with your compensation, work hours, need some flexibility, want to be moved to a location closer to home or moved to a new department, these are issues that can be fixed with a counter offer- provided you handle the process correctly.
Remember that with a new offer of employment from another organization, the stakes have now changed and you are in more of a position of power, but don’t let it go to your head. You must be smart and think strategically.

2. Has anyone else that you’ve known given notice only to accept the counter offer? Are they still there? If so, speak to them about their experiences.

Your co-worker may or may not have negotiated the best deal, so my advice is to ask for a one-year contract along with the counter offer. Your employer may say this is something the company does not do, or give you another excuse but let’s look at the facts. To them, you are not an unknown! You have been working there and they already know that you are capable, perform your work well, and they also know what your attendance and attitude are like. A one-year contract from them is a simple assurance that they truly do want you there and it takes some of the risk of your accepting the counter offer. This is where and how to use your position of strength. Caution – This is not the time to make unreasonable demands.

Remember why you started your job search in the first place Don’t get caught up in the “they don’t want me to leave” or other employees telling you how much “they are going to miss you”. Keep your emotions in check and make the best decision for you.

You can hire someone to tweak your resume. You can get the best suit money can buy but when it comes to the all-important time to make the decision to accept a position, make sure your head is in the right place! Don’t let fear creep into the process and sabotage your best efforts!

For many, change can be scary and stressful. It’s important to know, understand and remember the reasons that brought you to search for a new position in the first place. Share that information with the recruiter. During the interview process you’ll want to obtain all the information you can about the company, the culture and the job itself. Make sure it is in line with your original motivators and goals. When you have that information and compare it to the criteria you have set you will feel more confident and less fearful. You will be able to make a great decision – one that will be a great outcome for yourself and your potential employer.

Recruiters often are thought of in a negative way by a lot of jobseekers. The misconception is that we are in it for the money. The truth is, at the end of the day, good recruiters want to be successful and make a difference in a positive way for our candidates. When I can help someone make a change that is going to improve my candidate’s career, home life and increase the success of a client, money is just the cherry on top!

In making your decision, you’ll want to make a list of compelling reasons that got you started on your job search and have a few goals you want to accomplish by making a career move. The most popular reason I get is the salary increase. For some that is an easy switch especially in the consulting world. It gets more complicated in the full time world. There is the desire to switch expertise focus, growth opportunities, work life balance, location and company culture. Compensation and benefits are high on the list as well. It’s important to know what motivated you to start the search and your goals that you want to accomplish in your next position. Knowledge is power and you will need that to seal the deal.

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