Handing in your notice is never an easy conversation to have, no matter how fed up you are with your employer. Here are few reasons why a counter-offer isn’t worth the paper it’s written on…

It’s not you, it’s them. Definitely them
Look at it from the company’s point of view. What’s cheaper: keeping you on the bench and preserving their reputation, or hiring new people and fixing the issues that made you want to leave?

See this for the power move it is: a way of maintaining control over their reputation – with yours potentially at risk. This is less about them finally seeing the light about your value, and more about using you as a political tool.

It’s an ego boost but nothing more
Sure it’s reassuring to be in the middle of a bidding war, but here’s the real deal: handing in your notice, then changing your mind with a ‘better’ offer, will be seen as disloyal. That can affect your professional reputation – as your LinkedIn profile will probably attest, it’s a small world and word gets around.

Your days could be numbered
Accept a counter offer and you increase your chances at being first out of the door if there are redundancies (well, you’d already made an intention to leave very clear). By the same token, any improved conditions you gain might not be sustainable in the long term, so the company has another reason to get rid of anything that is keeping costs inflated (i.e. you).

The chance to play ‘counter-offer bingo’
When you’re giving notice, look out for your manager trying to tempt you back into the fold with any of the following:
• a promise of an improved salary, job title or reports
• impassioned pleas that you’re needed and valuable
• a promotion and/or pay rise that been kept ‘confidential’ until now. Surprise!
• the prospect of a meeting with the MD or CEO before your final decision

You may get offered all of the above, which is a rock-solid confirmation that you should follow through with leaving.

Figures back that up too: recruitment industry research suggests that most employees (80%) who accept a counteroffer are no longer with that employer after one year. Most of them (60%) find themselves back on the market within three months. Think you can beat those odds?

How to reject a counter-offer
If you’ve been put on the spot by a counter-offer, catch any potential curveballs by reminding yourself of the facts: why you want to leave, your motivations, your long-term goals.

Question why such a sweet deal is on the table now, when any time before would have been welcome. While we wouldn’t wish to be cynical, there’s rarely a non-suspicious answer to that.

Your best bet is to politely decline by saying that while you appreciate the offer, it’s time to move forward. That leaves bridges unburned wherever possible, and keeps you in control of your career and your choices.