Like the dating game, recruitment is ultimately all about finding ‘the one’.

For businesses looking to hire, that will usually entail a lengthy process to assess the qualifications and relevant experience of potential candidates, reduce to a short-list, and make personal connections with the aim of pinpointing the person who best fits the role.

Imagine the frustration, then, for companies who think they’ve met their perfect match only to have their hopes of a future working relationship jeopardised by a counter offer from an existing employer. Counter offers are a common occurrence because they’re often a current employer’s last throw of the dice to convince someone to stay.

No one’s denying that they can seem tempting – who wouldn’t be flattered by the prospect of increased pay, maybe a few perks, and the added bonus of being able to stay in a job you know, with people you know (unless, of course, they’re why you want to leave!). But statistics suggest 80% of employees who accept a counter offer leave within six months, and 90% are on their way to another job within a year, so the counter offer isn’t a guaranteed happy ending for either side.

If you’ve started looking for something new, you’ve found a role that suits you and wants you, should you accept a counter offer? The answer is almost certainly no, and there are several reasons why.

Is it a short-term solution to a long-term problem?
The counter offer could have an immediate positive effect on your work situation, and feelings towards the job, but the underlying reasons for your initial unhappiness will probably not have disappeared. Once the fireworks have fizzled out, you could find yourself back to ‘business as usual’… just what you wanted to leave behind.

You’ll miss out on an opportunity to grow
Your current job could be your comfort zone, but is that really where you want to be? Most humans thrive on pushing ourselves to achieve, that’s what gives us most job satisfaction, and a new position and new employer who recognises your potential can give you a chance to do that.

Money isn’t everything
It might be appealing to see a little extra on your pay at the end of each month, but money isn’t the biggest issue for most people seeking a move. Only just over 10% want out because they don’t feel their current salary is enough. Job satisfaction and progression, better working hours, or just the desire for a fresh challenge, rate far more highly.

The relationship with your employer could be damaged
Once you’ve expressed an intention to leave, your employer is likely to have lingering doubts about your commitment and your loyalty even if a counter offer persuades you to stay. That could impact on whether they factor you in to their future plans and hold back your progression.

Trust your instincts – nobody uproots themselves from a job without thinking it through first, so remember all those reasons you were dissatisfied if you are presented with a counter offer.

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