7 Questions to Answer Before You Accept a Counteroffer

Sometimes it seems the best way to get the pay raise you have been dreaming about is to find another job. When you hand in your resignation, your boss is sure to recognize your importance to the team and offer to increase your paycheck, right? It is possible and, in some cases, probable. While this counteroffer may be tempting and flattering, you should pause to consider the unforeseen consequences of accepting this pay raise.

1. Does it resolve your concerns?

Deciding to search for new employment is not something that most employees do on a whim. This decision is usually the result of several disappointments or frustrations that have persisted over a long period of time, including:

  • Misalignment with company culture
  • Poor working conditions
  • Conflict with management
  • Unsatisfactory work/life balance
  • Lack of advancement opportunities
  • Insufficient pay
  • Stagnation

Accepting a counteroffer from your employer that increases your pay can sound great. However, if the pay is not your primary concern, a change in compensation is unlikely to change how you feel about your job significantly. Before accepting a counteroffer, make sure you understand that other grievances will still be there even though your paycheck is larger.

2. Will you be a valued employee?

Undercompensating employees can be a symptom of a more significant issue. Employers who wait to increase an employee’s pay until they are on their way out demonstrate a lack of appreciation for their skills and contributions to the organization. If you accept the counteroffer, it is not likely that their opinions will suddenly change. It may be better for you to move to a different position where you are respected and appreciated.

3. Why are you receiving a counteroffer?

When the CEO calls you into their office to talk about increasing your salary because you are a valuable asset to the company, it is natural to feel flattered. The mere fact that you are there indicates that they know it would be hard to replace you, right? That might not be the whole story.

While you may be a valuable team member, you are also expensive to replace. Hiring and training someone new to do your job is costly. This cost may be especially great if you are highly skilled, have proprietary knowledge of the corporation, or own vital relationships for the business.

As much as you would like to believe their motives are pure, business owners must do what is best for the company. That may include presenting counteroffers to employees leaving to save the company the money, time, and hassle of launching a search with one of the recruitment agencies in Salt Lake City.

4. Where will your career go from here?

Before accepting an offer, consider the direction of your career. Where would you like to be in five or ten years? Can you get there with your current employer? If the answer is “No,” you may be better off leaving the company for greener pastures. Find an employer that is willing and able to offer you opportunities to learn new skills and advance towards achieving your goals.

5. Will this affect your future compensation?

Maintaining a company’s profitability is straightforward – the income must exceed the expenditures. Your salary is an expenditure, and the larger it gets, the more significant its impact on the rest of the company budget.

Consider how increasing your pay now will affect pay raises in the future. Will there be funds to give you a pay increase next year? What about a raise when you take on a leadership role? A significant pay increase now can lead to smaller ones down the road.

As a high-earning employee, you could also find yourself first on the list if the company has to cut costs by laying off employees.

6. How will this affect how others see you?

The founder of Under Armor said that “Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets.” The trusting relationships you have worked hard to build with your boss and coworkers can take a blow when you announce you are leaving. They may question your dedication and commitment to the company. Their changing view of you may affect work interactions. You could also get glossed over for promotions or positions on important projects if they are unsure you will be there to see it through to completion.

7. Are you prepared to walk away from opportunities?

If you have an offer in hand for another job, you have spent time and energy on securing that offer. Preparing resumés and attending interviews is an investment. Further, if you are ready to accept the position, it is likely something you are interested in and resolves many of the concerns you had with your current employer.

Are you ready to walk away from the opportunities associated with this position? If you do, you are likely to burn bridges and may not have the chance to work there in that same capacity in the future.

Turning Down an Offer

It is never easy to venture out into the unknown. You know all your coworkers in your current position, and chances are you have made some friends. You are comfortable with the tasks you perform. You may even feel some guilt about leaving your team. However, turning down the counteroffer and moving on is the right decision in many cases. You should always be gracious and polite when turning down a counteroffer. Instead of dwelling on the reasons you are leaving, emphasize the positive reasons you are choosing to work elsewhere. Maintaining a positive tone avoids burning bridges with others in your industry with whom you may very well cross paths in the future.