You’ve reached the point of no return. You’re ready to leave your job and take on a new role.

So, you call up your go-to recruiter, get in front of a few great opportunities, and then accept the offer you’ve been hoping for.

When you put in your two-weeks’ notice, though, you get a surprise.

Your manager is not going to let you go that easily. You’re “too valuable” to lose, and so management offers you a HEFTY raise to stay on.

What would you do?


The Rule of Thumb on Counteroffers


Most people will advise you to turn the counteroffer down.

For good reason.

Here are a few questions Brightwing Recruiters advise candidates to ask themselves when presented with lucrative counters:


  1. Did you try fixing the problems you faced in your role before you planned your exit? If you did and things did not improve, why would they now?
  2. More on those problems – do you remember what they were and why they had become so intolerable to you? If your problems involved more than a light paycheck, then more money won’t fix your role in the long term.
  3. How do you think your relationship with your manager will change now that he or she knows you were so close to walking out?
  4. Are you happy to burn the bridge with the new organization you were so excited to join? Is it worthwhile to damage your reputation by accepting an offer and then reneging?


Your answers to these questions most likely will lead you to rejecting the counter.


Case Study: The Counteroffer That Didn’t Live Happily Ever After


Just a couple months ago, Brightwing Financial Services Recruiter Kim Lewis got to know an amazing mortgage professional. Sarah (not her real name) was a VP with lots of experience and ambition who felt ready to leave her current position.

Why? Sarah had been promised a strategic role that would make an impact on operations, but five years in, the organization had done nothing but resist her influence and burn out her team.

So, when Kim introduced Sarah to an opportunity with a fast-growing mortgage lender, it was a match made in heaven. An offer was extended, and she accepted excitedly.

Sarah put in her two-weeks’ notice and got ready to start her new role. But a week after she resigned, she got a call from the president of her former employer. He offered not only a 40% raise, but also promised to make the operational changes she so badly wanted.

After thinking it over, Sarah called up Kim and told her she felt she owed her former team a second chance. Kim advised her against taking the counteroffer, but Sarah felt she needed to accept.

A couple of weeks went by, and Kim decided to ring Sarah and see how things were going.

Kim found out some surprising, but also not-so-surprising news. Accepting the counteroffer backfired on Sarah. Yes, she got the raise. But the promise that her voice would be heard immediately fell through.

Piece by piece, all the promised changes were deemed “impossible” to make. She was resisted not only by management, but also by her coworkers.

Sarah told Kim that she realized that the past five years told her more about the company than a solitary phone call with the president did.

The fatter paycheck didn’t cancel out any of these issues, and Sarah wanted the new job again. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

By accepting the counter, Sarah learned the hard way that:


  1. Money doesn’t fix the things that probably make you want to leave in the first place.
  2. Your relationship with your boss will suffer.
  3. Your relationship with colleagues will suffer.
  4. You’ll damage your reputation by accepting an offer and then reneging.


Key Takeaway: Ask for what you need before you go find another offer. If things don’t get better, then it’s time to move on. No counteroffer will suffice.

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