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Should you ever accept a counteroffer? It depends on these factors

Here’s what you should weigh if you’ve received a job offer elsewhere and your current employer wants you to stay.

Should you ever accept a counteroffer? It depends on these factors
[Source photo: Michael Burrows/Pexels]

Experts generally tell you not to accept a counteroffer that your job extends in an effort to keep you from taking a new job. After all, there was some reason you looked elsewhere for employment. And research shows that more than half of those who accept a counteroffer end up leaving within two years anyway.

But what if the counteroffer you receive is really good? That’s the situation writer Anisa Purbasari Horton explores in a recent piece for Fast Company.

Purbasari Horton spoke with Linda Lautenberg and Judy Schoenberg, cofounders of career-coaching business EvolveMe, and learned that it depends on a number of factors. For one, think about why you wanted to leave in the first place. “Are you leaving because of compensation? Culture? Wanting to do something new? Do you have concerns about your company that you’ve tried to bring up but were never addressed?” writes Purbasari Horton.

If you just needed a higher salary and the counteroffer included that, then that could work. But if you have a deeper concern—about company culture, or a toxic boss, say—then that counteroffer may not do much to address that. Now is also a time to consider the overall health of your industry, and your current employer’s place within it, says Purbasari Horton. Are periodic layoffs likely at your current gig? Or is the new job at a brand-new startup, which might make it the less-secure choice?

There is a risk to accepting a counteroffer, writes FlexJobs’ Kat Boogaard: “You’ve already demonstrated to your existing employer that you’re on the lookout for greener pastures. The fact that you were strongly considering leaving could deem you as a flight risk. And,” Boogaard adds, “as terrifying as it sounds, there’s no guaranteeing that your employer didn’t just counteroffer to buy themselves some time to find your replacement.”

At the end of the day, receiving a counteroffer is similar to receiving any other job offer—except you have a lot more information about one of the companies you are considering.

Regardless of which job you ultimately take, it’s important to be honest with both companies. “If you decide to accept the counteroffer, let the other company know as soon as possible,” writes Purbasari Horton. “Lautenberg recommends reaching out to every person you interviewed or interacted with. Express gratitude for their time and their offer. Also, make it very clear that your decision is final so that it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to negotiate a better offer.”

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Julia Herbst is a senior editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. Previously she worked as a writer and editor at Los Angeles magazine and BREAKER magazine. More

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