Are Counter-Offers The Kiss of Death?

Job seekers might be tempted to accept a counter-offer from a current employer, especially if it means a significant pay boost. But it could be the kiss of death for those who wish to have an enjoyable and meaningful career.

“When you resign, you just have to go in and give the customary two-week notice and just be professional,” Skip Freeman, author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, told StreetID. “Never lie, never complain about anything. The reality is this: sometimes no matter what, the mere fact that you resigned burns that bridge. Sometimes, frankly, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

But if that bridge isn’t burnt and a counter-offer is made, job seekers should still probably walk away.

“Accepting a counter-offer is a kiss of death,” said Freeman. “That actually hurts more careers than just resigning. More often than not, if you accept a counter-offer, the reason is the company now can’t afford to lose you — yet. Now what they’re doing is looking behind the scenes to replace you so that your departure is on their terms, not your terms.”

Job seekers must also consider the reason(s) why they wanted to leave in the first place.

“Maybe you weren’t quite as happy there, you didn’t have the career satisfaction, your career was stalled, you wanted to make this move for new career opportunities or professional growth, or better geography or a reduced commute,” Freeman theorized. “If you accept the counter-offer, unless you were making the move strictly for money — and sometimes people want to make the move strictly for money so when they accept the counter-offer, maybe it works out.

“But 80 percent of the time people look to make the move for reasons other than money, and when you take a counter-offer, seldom can those reasons be resolved. So again — six, eight, nine months down the road you’re still unhappy, you’re still looking, and then when you go in and resign a second time, now you’ve really, really burnt that bridge. So a professional, upfront resignation has the chance of burning a bridge, but accepting the counter-offer, and particularly if the underlying causes are the reasons for you wanting to make the move, you clearly have burnt that bridge.”

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These days, job seekers have a million options, but we know where they should turn: StreetID. We built StreetID (a financial career matchmaking website) from the ground up to accommodate Wall Street’s growing community of financial professionals. In good times and in bad, current job seekers and those looking to move on in the future can turn to StreetID and sign up for a free account and make a direct connection with relevant candidates and employers.

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