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Beware the Tempting Counter-offer

  • Publish Date: Posted over 12 years ago

You have written the perfect CV and nailed that job interview. Now in the third column from Andrew Hairs, the Jakarta-based international recruitment specialist explains exactly why you should ignore that counter-offer from your existing employer – no matter how tempting. 

In a highly competitive recruitment market such as Indonesia, companies continue to struggle to source new employees and, more importantly, retain them. It is not unusual for companies to make counter-offers to staff members who tender their resignations. Many people feel flattered when their boss attempts to encourage them to stay with the company by offering a better position or increased salary. It is therefore important if you find yourself in this situation that you understand the truth behind these tempting offers. 

All too often, employers do seem genuinely sorry when an employee resigns - suddenly offering the kind of salary, promotion or opportunity that they had refused to grant before. The reason they are sorry, however, is often because the person resigning is doing so on their own terms and timing and the company now has an unwanted vacancy, which will take time and money to fill. 

Surprisingly, the very best companies rarely make counter-offers. They believe they treat their employees fairly and wish them well if a better opportunity exists elsewhere. If you work for one of them, don't be disappointed if you fail to receive a better offer. 

If you do receive the offer of an improved package, however, take a moment to consider these five points:

1. Your company has to find a replacement, a process that will cost time and money. They will then need to spend more time and extra money on training and developing your replacement and during this time, extra work is created for your boss. So when the counter-offer is presented, ask yourself the following question: “Is my current employer making me this offer because they have my best interests at heart or are they putting it on the table because it is in their interests?

2. When you started interviewing for a new position it was because there were reasons for wanting to explore new opportunities. Have those reasons disappeared? Will staying in your current position resolve these issues? 

3. If the counter-offer includes salary or job enhancement, where does the budget come from? You need to ask yourself if you are simply getting your next raise or promotion in advance. And will you have to accept yet another job to get the raise or promotion you deserve after that?

4. Statistics are not in your favour. The ‘National Business Employment Weekly’ reports that four out of five people who accept counter-offers are gone within the year. From the moment you resign your loyalty will always be in question. Rest assured that your employer will assume that you will look again. 

5. Finally, let's not forget that new job. Just as there are reasons for leaving your current company, you have seen significant opportunities at your new company or you would not have accepted the offer of employment. These opportunities do not disappear the moment you receive a counter-offer.

The best way to avoid the messy, embarrassing situation of a counter-offer is to take charge of the situation. Before resigning you should always sign a contract of employment with your new employer as this will send a firm signal to your boss that you have already made your final decision. 

The next step is to resign in writing, handing the resignation directly to your boss. This helps you maintain the initiative and remain in control. Tell him or her that you've carefully weighed the merits of the two positions and have chosen the new position. State specifically that you neither seek nor want a counter-offer and hope instead for an amicable departure. 

This article was written by Andrew Hairs for the Jakarta Globe