Here’s the scenario. You’ve been passively looking for a new job for months because you really don’t see any room for growth or opportunity at your present company. After a few interviews, lo and behold, somebody makes you an attractive offer. So you proceed to turn in your two weeks’ notice, and you’re presented with another little surprise – your boss makes you a counter offer. What do you do now?

Now at first, when you receive a counter offer, it’s immediately appealing. That’s normal, because you’re instilled with the feeling that you’re important, that you’re valuable, valuable enough for the company to make an attempt to keep you there

However, in the interest of your long-term employment stability and happiness, you should take a step back and analyze the situation objectively and logically. In the process of doing that, you should ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Why haven’t I received this offer of compensation before now? Here’s a question that people often don’t ask in the wake of a counter-offer because they’re too caught up in the mini-euphoria of having companies “fight” over them. Everybody likes to feel as though they’re wanted, but there are reasons you made the decision to leave the company in the first place. One of them may very well involve compensation. The cold, hard reality is that well-managed companies rarely make counter-offers. They make attractive compensation offers to valued employees following regularly scheduled reviews. (That, of course, is one of the reasons their turnover rate is so low.)  If the company truly acknowledged your value as an employee, they would already be providing you with the compensation they’re now trying to thrust upon you at the 11th hour.
  2. Where, exactly, is this compensation coming from? This is a valid question because everyone would like to receive a raise on a regular basis. However, companies have wage and salary guidelines that they must follow. Does accepting this counter-offer basically guarantee that you won’t be receiving a raise for a long time? Taken in that context, staying at the company hardly translates into a benefit for you, especially if other factors (company culture, co-workers) were also behind your decision to leave.
  3. What will happen if I decide to stay? This is another question not many people consider, and they should. Instead, they’re blinded by the attractiveness of the counter-offer. You have to entertain the very real possibility that your co-workers may resent the fact that you were given a raise or company perks. As a result, they may also resent not being recognized for their efforts the way you were. This could put you in a very stressful situation with your colleagues, which could compromise your job performance.

There’s also another risk involved in accepting a counter offer. You’ve already tendered your resignation and given your two weeks’ notice, which is basically an indication of your general unhappiness at the company. If you stay, there’s a chance that management will regard you with a measure of suspicion. Consequently, you could conceivably be passed over for promotion or training in the future. Management might conclude that it’s only a matter of time before you eventually leave. And the numbers back up that conclusion.

Statistics show that 72% of people who accept a counter offer leave their employer within one year.