5 Reasons Not to Accept a Counteroffer

If you’ve ever had to navigate a counteroffer from your current employer, you know how tempting they can be. After being dissatisfied in your role, finally summoning up the courage to apply to other places, landing the perfect new role, and triumphantly handing in your resignation letter to your boss, it’s only natural to feel good when they come back with a revamped offer of their own. 

But pushing pride aside, accepting a counteroffer, in most cases, is actually a step backward for your career. We work with candidates who are often struggling with this decision. That’s why we gathered five reasons from our recruiters on why you consider making a new career move, instead of accepting a counteroffer. 

1. You could risk placing a target on your back 

When your employer knows that you’ve been actively looking for somewhere else to work, it’s not uncommon for their treatment of you to change. It may be in subtle ways like overlooking you for promotions, or, in some cases, even actively looking to replace you. 

These subtle changes can slowly, or more overtly, create a level of friction between you and your company, and ultimately lead to an unpleasant experience — one that you already wanted to leave before the added friction!

2. The same reasons for wanting to leave will likely resurface

After accepting a counteroffer, are there measures being taken by your company to resolve the issues that had you considering other options in the first place? If not, accepting a counteroffer means falling right back into the same position you were trying to leave, only with higher pay. 

With no clear path for career progression, improvements in job satisfaction, or solving underlying culture issues, salary increases and promotions are only temporary solutions. You’ll be starting your job search all over again looking for greener pastures.

3. Your future employer sees your potential

You shouldn’t have to threaten to leave your current company to make them recognise your value. If more money or promotion is offered to try to make you stay, why weren’t you worth that before you resigned? 

Your new employer hired you because they do see the potential in you, and they proved that by offering you higher pay and more growth opportunities in your role right off the bat. 

4. The negative impact on your team dynamic 

One reason that doesn’t often get considered for not accepting a counteroffer is the effect it has on team dynamics. Think about it: would you want to go through the painstaking process of planning a multi-month work project with a coworker while knowing in the back of your mind that they may not be around to help you see it through? 

Aside from work itself, knowing that you’re thinking of leaving can make it hard for coworkers to form strong bonds with you. Similar to how you’ll more likely be passed up for advancement opportunities by leaders, you might start being treated more at arm’s length by your coworkers. 

Depending on the seniority of your role, or the number of people wanting to leave, the knowledge that you’re looking to leave can also lend to a “sinking ship” mentality among your team members. This can lead to all sorts of negative effects surrounding morale, productivity, and loyalty to the company.

5. You may burn bridges with the company you were going to join and the recruiter that you were working with

No company or recruiter wants to support you until the finish line only to lose you back to your old company at the last second.

Not only do you risk future opportunities at the company by doing this, but you also risk burning your lifeline to new, better employment opportunities. As recruitment partners, we strive to understand candidates’ motivations and career goals to help source and negotiate their next career move. But it’s a two-way street and if you’re turning down offers repeatedly, we have to re-evaluate whether you’re ready to make the leap to a new company at all. 

As one of our recruiters says “great things don’t come from staying in your comfort zone!”

If you’re looking to make a change, be sure to read our article 5 Steps To Take When You’re Considering A Career Change for help. And speaking of recruitment partners with your best intentions in mind, to learn more about finding a career and job that’s best for you, get in touch with our expert team of hiring professionals today!

About ML6

ML6 is a recruitment and talent advisory firm located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We provide customized solutions to support our clients throughout the employee lifecycle. We help our clients attract and retain talent by advising on people programs, processes, and best practices.