Considering Taking a Counteroffer? Read This First!

by Mike Miadich on October 22, 2014 in Candidate Job Search, Hiring, IT Recruiters

519558563As an IT employee today, it’s likely that you get regular calls from companies or recruiters about possible jobs.  After all, the IT unemployment rate remains low and more and more jobs are being created daily.  This is all well and good if you’re in the market for a new job but what if you’re already at a role you like and another job opportunity presents itself?  You may interview and ultimately get the job leading to your resignation at your current role.  However, as talented IT professionals are hard to come by it might lead to your manager offering you more money, benefits or other perks to stay.  This scenario is happening to IT professionals frequently these days leading to the question, “Should I take a counteroffer”?

Most advice you will read or receive from professionals is to never, ever, under any circumstances take a counter offer.  While people have certainly been burned from taking a counter offer in the past, that’s not always the case.  And again, the IT market is such that many hiring managers will go to great lengths to keep valued IT professionals.  So what should you consider when in a counter offer situation?  Here are the benefits and negative aspects to consider:

Benefits of Taking a Counteroffer
The biggest benefit to accepting a counteroffer is that most of the time, you’ve been able to use your new offer to negotiate a higher salary.  Your manager sees value in you and wants you to stay so they offer you a higher salary or additional benefits than the new job offer you have. While you could try to take this offer back to the new company that offered you a job, hoping that they match it or increase it, it might start to seem like you’re only after the money and not really in it for the actual job.  You can only ask employers or potential employers to increase your salary so many times before they eventually won’t do it.

Another benefit to taking a counter offer is that you get to stay where you’re at.  Starting a new role can be stressful and challenging.  In taking a counter, you get to stay right where you are with the project and team that you already know.  Going to a different company is uncharted territory and you can never be sure how that might turn out (more about that in the negatives, however).

Negatives of Taking a Counteroffer

We outlined that one of the benefits to taking a counteroffer is a higher salary.  Again, this is one of the most tempting aspects of being in this situation.  While more money is great, you’re possibly taking away the opportunity to earn more at this new role.  As an IT professional, whether permanent or contract, it’s important you think about your career goals and wants and how that fits in to this move.  Maybe this is with a larger company that provides more opportunities or exciting new technology to work with that would boost your resume.  There are many different factors and possibilities that could increase your salary and further your career by staying where you are.

One of the biggest reasons people tell you not to take a counter is that your manager might wonder if you’re really a team player.  How do they know you won’t look for another role again in the future?  Some companies report that as many as 50% of all employees who accept counteroffers change companies within the following 24 months.  You never know if your manager will take you interviewing for another job personally or be okay with it. This, among many of the other things we pointed out, are factors to consider before accepting a counter offer.


It’s important that you try to take salary out of it (as much as you can) and really focus on the job itself.   What is it about this new role that made you want to interview?  Newer technology to work with?  An exciting project?  And what, from your current role, made you want to interview for something new?  Are you looking for something more exciting?  Want to work closer to where you live?  Make sure you are able to distinguish what really is going on with your career needs before accepting a counter offer.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t burn bridges either way.  Be respectful of both your current manager and the one who is offering you a job.  As an IT professional, you never know what project you’ll find yourself on and who you might be working with in the future.

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