I know this is not news to anyone, but it is a job seekers market. As of the writing of this article, the current unemployment rate is 3.7%, the lowest that it has been in nearly 50 years! With a low unemployment rate comes opportunities to take advantage of the market and increase salary. As a worker with marketable skills, there are opportunities available to you. You could very likely have an easy path to a new position with a new company. In this scenario, you have met with a company and gone through the interview process to find that it seems like a perfect match. In your excitement, you hurry back to your current employer and give your two weeks notice. Now comes that part that every recruiter sees coming and has probably prepared you for, but still surprises you – your current employer counter offers, either matching your new offer, or even increasing the amount of money. What do you do?
Let me start with a disclaimer: I am a recruiter, and I am paid based on my ability to match job seekers with career opportunities. I am paid based on this ability, so I am financially motivated to say that you should move to the new opportunity, but the truth is, you need to make that call. I can tell you the statistics, but I obviously don’t know every situation in the world. That said, 9 times out of 10, you should reject the counteroffer and move on to the new opportunity. Here are 3 question you should ask yourself before accepting a counteroffer:
1. Was it really all about the money?
At least for me, when I represent a person, it is not because they want to have more money. I totally get it. Money is important, but it is something that in most cases can be fixed in your current position. If you need more money and you love your boss, responsibility, coworkers, benefits, commute, and everything else that comes with a company, then you should not be looking for a new position, but instead be looking at increasing your value from within the organization. When I represent a person, it is for one of the other reasons and getting more money will not make your boss less of a jerk (could very well make him/her more of a jerk), give you more responsibility, or move the office closer.
2. Is it really about you or the company’s pain?
As stated before, the market is decidedly in favor of job seekers – meaning there aren’t many qualified job seekers to go around. When you give your notice, the company needs to think about how difficult it will be to replace you and how long that will take. The question that you need to look at is does the company really value you at the new raise or are they looking to lessen the blow.
3. Is the raise a band-aid?
Many times when a company offers a higher rate of pay it is a band-aid. What I mean by that is that they are looking to replace you and want to keep you until they can find your replacement. You have already shown that you are looking to leave so they are simply paying you to keep the seat warm for your replacement. Companies know that it now takes longer than 2 weeks to find and hire a quality employee, and the losses can be huge in the meantime.
I understand that making a change is hard, and staying with your current company feels comfortable. We can give you the information to think about but it just that. Information to think about and then come to the solution that works for you. We have seen situation work out both ways, but more often, it is better to make the move in the first place. In my experience, most of the job seekers that I have worked with that had accepted the counter were back on the market within 6 months, and now they have alienated at least one company that is interested enough to make an offer prior.
About the Author…
Austin Ackerman is a Staffing Specialist at 4M HR Logistics. He has more than a decade of marketing and recruiting experience in the industrial and technical industries, working with clients in such disciplines as military, construction, engineering, manufacturing, logistics, and technology. He currently specializes in recruitment, marketing, and employer branding. Follow Austin on LinkedIn!