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A very important part of salary negotiation is the counter-offer, a tool that can be leveraged by both the employer and the candidate to come to an acceptable amount of compensation which is neither greater than the industry standards nor lower what the candidate actually deserves.

While quitting a job is not always the easiest decision to make some employers tend to make it even more difficult by throwing in a counter-offer of more salary. While counter-offers in such a situation can be a blessing, it also puts the candidate in an uncomfortable situation.

Since you have already made up your mind about leaving the place and let it known to your manager, the prospect of staying on if you go on to accept the offer does put you in a sticky position.   If you receive the same counter-offer from a potential employer it means that your initial salary ambitions were too high and now the ball is in your court to decide whether you want to keep the offer or lookout for a better one somewhere else.

1. Handling Counter-offers from Your Current Employer

You are attempting to break the shackles of your current employer and just when everything felt like going as per the plans your boss throws in a surprise with negotiating a counter-offer promising you a 25 percent hike in the current salary. Such an offer can be unnerving for those who are genuinely seeking job opportunities outside.

You might be a digital marketing expert stuck with an underpaying job looking to switch to a better company and a higher role such as that of VP online marketing or CMO. There are even professionals who get tired of their daily routine and want to shift their careers to a different field altogether.  Whatever might be your reason, the onus lies on you to remind yourself of the reasons owing to which you want to leave the company and also see through the real motives behind the counter-offer.

While to some it might seem as flattering having your current employer going all the way to hold you back but taking the counter-offer when you are resigning is like tying a knot to hold together a broken string. You have already damaged the relationship and it’s never going to be the same again. Your boss knows that you have been only inches from leaving and if another better offer comes up in the future you might still take it.

Therefore the best thing would be to enter into a delicate dialogue with your current employer and leave the company without burning the bridges.  This is going to be a test of your interpersonal skills as a little off the mark remark from your side can make the proposition look like a threat, where you are using the other job offer as a negotiating a counter-offer tool.

2. Negotiations

Start the conversation with the manager by letting him know that another company is actively pursuing you and you have also found the position worth your considerations for some reason. While there is still time before you accept the offer, there are very fewer reasons not to do so. Let the boss know about the things that attract you to the new job offer and ask for his advice and what he would have done had he been in your place.

3. Don’t Be Swayed

If you have already made up your mind about leaving the job, come-what-may, than do not let any counter-offer by your employer come in the way of doing so. Research has shown that the most common reason for job change is professional growth and not a salary increment.  Thus, instead of letting your manager wiggle you out with a negotiation let him know that after much thought and deliberation you have come to the decision of moving on.

Negotiating a counter-offer is a very personal and subjective process, varying from employee to employee. Every organization puts a different value on different employees.

Before accepting any such counter-offer the employee must be sure that the counter-offer is a genuine effort on the part of the company to keep him engaged with its business and not a pretext for keeping him on board long enough to find his replacement.


Written By
Saurabh writes his article keeping in mind the needs of the job seekers community, to help them be a better professional. His write-ups extensively cover all the aspects of job searching and working life, right from subscribing to new jobs, to getting ready for interview, and working at an office. If you want to read more of his articles, follow him on, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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