By Kathy Spearing | February 27, 2020


Now is a great time for professionals to be employed. We are still experiencing a rich labor market. Top talent is in high demand and companies are offering competitive wages to both recruit and retain professionals on their teams.

If you are considering making a change in your career—whether you want a promotion or want to make a lateral move—it is important to first take a beat and consider all your options before jumping ship.

Even if you feel that you have the upper hand because of the candidate-driven market we are experiencing, you do not want to burn any bridges with your current employer. If and when you decide to accept a new role, you will need to give formal notice.

And, there are several reactions that can come from your manager—ranging from immediate dismissal to them making you a counteroffer. Therefore, you need to be prepared for exactly how to approach your decision to look for and accept a new role.

Remember, it’s best to be proactive so you can exit a company in good faith. Read my 5 Ways to prepare for a counteroffer from your employer below.

  1. Identify Your Goals before you begin your search.
    A job search can be a long and daunting 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. What is prompting you to consider a change? What will you gain by leaving? How do your career goals align with your current position? If it’s just one issue at hand that is making you want to leave such as salary or scheduling, often those problems can be resolved. No job or company is perfect, so it’s important to define what you ultimately want in your career before beginning your search.
  2. Sit down with your manager.
    Once you identify your goals, you should request a meeting with your manager to see what can be done to align your goals with your current role, if they’re not already. This can help you decide whether you should stay in your position or if you should pursue something new for the next step in your career. Be aware that this might also alert your manager that you are considering looking elsewhere. This is not necessarily bad. They may discuss among themselves what to do if you give notice—which can benefit you in the long run if they present you with options to convince you to stay. If you blindside your manager with your notice without talking to them first, you’ll never know what could have been—and it’s unlikely they’ll make you a counteroffer.
  3. Don’t give an ultimatum.
    You never want your employer to think you are dangling a new offer in front of them in hopes of getting something in return. Ultimatums are never a good look in any relationship, but you know what is? Good communication. So, it is best to talk through and be transparent with your manager on exactly why you are thinking about something outside of the company. You’ll want to know how to politely decline a counteroffer if it gets to that point—or if you should seriously consider one. It all depends on your situation. If you are performing well, loyal to your company and have a good relationship with your team and managers, they likely don’t want you to leave. In which case accepting a counteroffer might be plausible.
  4. Understand the Risk. 
    For the most part, experts say to never accept a counteroffer. Studies show that the majority of the time, the person ends up leaving within six months of accepting a counteroffer—either from their own accord or the employer letting them go. Now, can a counteroffer be offered, accepted and it actually work out for both the employee and the employer? Yes. Each person and company is unique. So, it’s best to do what’s right for you and trust that your company has your best interest in mind, too.
  5. Go with your gut.
    If you are in an unpleasant situation with your current employer and you know that you don’t see much of a future with them no matter the circumstances, then move along with your job search and find something new. Clearly no counteroffer should sway you to stay. Still, be sure that you exit with grace and on a positive note. You never know when your paths will cross again in the future. Alternatively, if you love your current place and there are just a few issues you’d like adjusted, and an opportunity arises that you are considering, it’s important to be open and honest with your manager about the situation. If you have a good relationship, your loyalty should not come into question. Change is a part of both your personal and professional life and you should go with your gut at all times.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to prepare for a counteroffer from your employer? Share your comments in the section below!


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