By Marc Basil | November 9, 2018

The best time to be a talented professional looking for a new position is NOW. Companies are thriving, unemployment is historically low and the opportunities are plentiful. Because the demand for top talent is so significant, hiring organizations are going to extreme measures to secure the right candidates for their open roles.

Once a candidate accepts a job offer and sends notice to their current organization, however, they have to be prepared to handle if and when their current employer extends a counter offer. Often times, when an individual is a well-performing member of the company, a manager will ask them to reconsider their decision and stay with their respective team. And although it’s enticing, I’m going to put it out there and say it’s never a good idea to accept.

Learn how to stick with your decision and respectfully decline a counter offer by following the five steps below.

1. Identify Your Motives BEFORE you begin your search.
A job search can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but in most cases, it’s a necessary part of your career. Before embarking on a new job search, however, it’s important to reflect on your current situation. Try to determine what you enjoy about your role, the company and the culture, and identify the pros and cons of your day-to-day. What problem will be solved by transitioning into a new company? What will you gain by leaving? How do your career goals align with your current position?

It’s true that no job or company is perfect, but many issues can be resolved. So, it’s important to discuss current issues before even considering a job search.

2. Be open to discussing the Issues.
Once your challenges or frustrations are identified, the next step is to discuss them with a manager. Often times, managers may not even realize your frustrations until you voice them. If your issue lies within the work of your direct manager, it’s best to talk to his/her manager about your concerns. Fierce conversations such as these are not always easy, however, you must navigate through these concerns before seeking a completely new opportunity. You never know how issues can be solved until you address and discuss them.

3. Take Action
Once you’ve had discussions over your specific concerns and the outcome doesn’t yield the type of results expected, it may be time to seek a new position outside of your current employer. Make sure to have a clear understanding of why you’re seeking a new opportunity, why you’re open to leaving your current position and what you’re looking for in a new one.

4. Commit to Change.
Upon accepting a new position and giving a formal notice to your current organization, be prepared to explain your reasons for transitioning out of your current role. If your current employer believes you’re a valuable asset to the team, they may steer you into the direction of staying with the company. It’s common for your original concerns to suddenly be taken more seriously upon giving a resignation notice. But then, what is their motivation? Why have your concerns been ignored until this point? Clearly, the organization has had ample opportunity to rectify the situation and chose not to. Be transparent about your decision and what led you to seeking a new opportunity, and stay committed to your original decision!

5. Understand the Risk. 
It’s easy to be enticed by a counter offer when it involves a salary increase, promotion or maybe even more flexible work hours. If you are swayed enough into accepting a counter offer, it’s important to note that your loyalty to the company will continue to remain in question after considering a new opportunity. In other words, “If they did it once, what is stopping them from doing this again in a few months?” Believe it or not, 75 percent of individuals who accept counter offers typically don’t stay with that company for more than six months, due to either the company’s decision or their own.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to avoid risky counter offers? Comment below!

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