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Counter Job Offers

job offer

It can be a great feeling knowing that there are employers falling over each other trying to get their hands on you, but as nice as all may seem when you get an offer from another employer it’s not the signal for you to put yourself out for action.

As a rule a counter offer is not the plain sailing you may think. So if you take a typical situation where a counter offer becomes possible there are a few things that need to come together first.

Being searched out, identified and being made an offer by another employer doesn’t usually happen unless you are well recognised as being at the top of your trade. Recognised as been very successful and being the reason behind your employer’s success. In other words, in the marketplace you’re known to be very good.

The most important part here is that if the above describes you as you are in your current employment and in a similar fashion you will be equally regarded by your current employer. This recognition doesn’t come over night.  It will probably be well earned over several, if not many years. You will be recognised for your success. You will have your employer’s confidence and may have input into the decision making and probable strategy of the business. In other words you are the golden boy/girl of the company. More likely than not you know this and are enjoying your fame.

Now, out of the blue one of two things may happen;

You get a call from an Executive Search Consultant inviting you to meet for a very informal discussion about an opportunity that they believe would be of great interest to you.


You get a call from a company directly inviting you to meet.  This scenario is less likely, but it does happen.

Calls such as these do not come without a lot of search and background checking having been done.  Employers searching in this fashion will have invested a lot of time and effort in targeting you. They will know that you’re the person for the job, they will have a very attractive package worked out; one they know you will find hard to resist.

The only part of the equation outstanding is your personality style.  Are you the kind of person who will fit in comfortably with the culture and the style of the organisation concerned?  That is something that will be decided on very quickly after a few short conversations.

Your meeting goes well, you have a second, and a formal off is made and confirmed in writing.  Now it’s over to you. You have two real options.

1 – Go and look for a counter offer – if you dare. That means going to your employer explaining about the offer you received and that it’s too good to turn down.  However, on the other hand you like your current position, would prefer to stay but can’t refuse the salary increase.


With the courage of your convictions, go to your current employers, explain you have an offer and hand in your notice. Hopefully this will prompt a counter offer.

In both examples above, in nearly all cases it’s the end of your employment with your current employer. Looking to get a counter offer, rarely works.  Whether you hint at a counter offer or come straight out and ask for one, your employer will be annoyed at the fact that you have been out looking for a job (as they will be believed) while pretending to be working. They will regard it as deceitful.

More likely than not, a counter offer will not be made and if such an agreement is reached it will not last.

Bear in mind that the moment you mention an offer from elsewhere and you indicate your thinking about it the trust you had is over.  All the magic of the job you liked is gone, your loyalty is suspect and you will not have the confidence of your managers. You will no longer be one who can be trusted. You will notice you are no longer invited into meetings as before, you will not be confided in and slowly your authority will erode.  In time you will become decidedly uncomfortable in your current role and you will start the job search process quietly.

The relationship between an employer and an employee is very delicate and is built up over a period of time.  The smallest upset can spoil an unblemished record once trust is lost.

In short, if you get a good offer, weigh it up carefully, accept or reject, but do not go back to your current boss expecting to do a deal. It rarely works.

The very best of luck.

Further information about the author, Colm Cavey can be seen below and also at:

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