Good for your ego, but bad for your career!
Rule number one
Understand exactly why it is that you want to leave your existing employer.
Rule number two
Once you have decided the best way to advance your career is to leave, then stick to your decision.
If you feel you are underpaid for the role you do, don’t use the offer of alternative employment as a bargaining tool to get a higher salary. If your motivation is that you want more money, talk to your existing boss BEFORE you start looking for another job.
If you think there is any possibility that your current employer could offer you a promotion or more interesting role and you would be happy staying with them, talk to your boss BEFORE you start looking for another job.
Why is a counteroffer so dangerous?
Why is it so dangerous to either use the offer of alternative employment to get what you want from your present employer, or to allow them to change your mind after you have accepted an offer? – Well, apart from the waste of time and effort for both you and everyone else involved in the process if you go on interviews elsewhere and end up staying put, consider the following;
Just as you must look after your best interests, so your current employer must do the best to look after its interests. They are unlikely to appreciate you taking charge of the situation and determining who is in their department and who leaves. They want to be in the driving seat and decide who comes and goes and when that happens. Therefore if your timing does not fit in with their plans (as it probably won’t) they will tempt you to stay by offering you a higher salary and / or promotion, or through some form of flattery. Why would they be so keen to get you to stay? – because it will be cheaper and easier for them in the short term, even if they have to pay you a bit more, than for them to go through an expensive and disruptive recruitment process they hadn’t planned on.
Once they have achieved some continuity by getting you to stay, you have then given them the time to start planning the reorganisation necessary to cover your departure at a time that will suit them! And be under no illusion, they will now view you as disloyal which means that not only will you be at the bottom of the list to receive future pay rises and to be asked to do special or sensitive projects, but they will quite probably be planning to “let you go” when it suits them as they do not now see you as a long term player in their plans.
Of course, we all have egos and it is flattering to be given a counteroffer and to believe what you are being told about how valuable you are. It is also easy to waiver in your resolution to leave an environment you know at this point when taking on a new role in a new environment is a step into the unknown. However, even if both you and your boss are genuine in wanting to continue to work together, most people find that the relationship is never quite the same as it was before as quite naturally some of the trust has gone.
Always fully explore the options available to you with your existing employer before looking for a new employer. However, once you have decided that the best thing for your career is to move on, find the role you want, accept it and stick to your decision. Changing your mind can make you look indecisive and unprofessional and you will almost certainly be doing so to help look after someone else’s interests rather than your own.
Advice from Onyx Recruitment
We are happy to discuss your options at any stage in the process, whether you are in the initial stages of considering whether to look for a new challenge or if you are at offer stage, either from an introduction through Onyx or another party. We will always offer professional and impartial advice to help you make the right decisions about your career.