Time for a Change
You’ve just received a handsome job offer. Now all that’s left is to put in your two weeks’ notice. Before you go, though, your boss makes you a counteroffer to try to persuade you to stay. It’s a great problem to have, really, but it’s a problem nonetheless.
Should you accept the counteroffer or take the new job? Fortunately, the ball is in your court. Follow these steps to make the right decision for you.
Examine why you’ve been searching for a new job
The first thing you have to do when weighing a counteroffer is ask yourself why you began looking for a new gig in the first place, says Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide: Success Secrets of a Career Coach.
“There are many reasons why people start a job search,” Cohen says. Money is rarely the only factor. Maybe you wanted a title change, or more job responsibilities, or better work-life balance. Those are things your boss might be able to offer you to persuade you to stay. And if salary is, in fact, a reason you applied to other positions, see if the counteroffer could include a bump in pay.
However, “if you want to leave because you have a bad boss or the company has a bad culture, those things aren’t going to change if you stay at the organization,” says Anna Cosic, a leadership and career strategist based in Brooklyn, New York. Your current company could offer you plenty of perks, but would it really be worth being subjected to a toxic workplace environment day in and day out?
Assess the strength of the counteroffer
If you’re open to staying, take a close look at the terms of the counteroffer, says Nancy Halpern, an executive coach and leadership-development consultant in New York City. Obviously, compensation is important, but it’s not the only thing you should be considering.
“You really need to look beyond just the base salary offer,” Halpern recommends. “For example, are you being offered a spot bonus? If you’re working at a startup, are you being offered some equity in the company? If you hate the length of your commute, is your boss willing to give you telecommuting options?”
Try to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the counteroffer and the new job offer that you received from your prospective employer, while zeroing in on what’s most important to you.
Find out why your boss wants to keep you
This is a key step no matter how sweet the counteroffer is. As Cohen puts it: “Does your boss not want to lose you because your position would be difficult to fill, or does your boss want to retain you because you’re top talent?”
You’ll also want to gauge your boss’s response. Is he angry that you were looking for a new job? Does he view it as a sign of disloyalty? “If your boss feels betrayed, staying at the company could make your job a lot less enjoyable going forward,” Cohen says.
Take note: There’s no need to reveal the employer that gave you a job offer. “You don’t want to give away that kind of information, because your boss might say to you, ‘Oh, I’ve heard bad things about working there,’ and you won’t know if that’s true,” Halpern explains.
The exception? “If you get an offer from a market leader or a big-name company, like Google or Facebook, [identifying] the company could improve your negotiating power,” says Halpern.
Generally, a counteroffer is like a normal job offer in that it’s negotiable, meaning there’s usually no harm in asking your boss to sweeten her proposition. “Express to your manager, and to whoever else may be involved in this process, that ‘These are the terms of the job offer that I received. Are you able to beat it?’” Cohen says.
Tilt the scales in your favor
A job offer can be a tremendous opportunity to shake up your career for the better. Once you have a competing offer in your lap, you can use it as a negotiating tool at your current job. And if you happen to receive a counteroffer, you can then use it to negotiate a better offer with your prospective employer. Want some help tilting the scales in your favor? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the kind of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can be among the first to apply to new openings.