Category: Advice

Should you consider a Counter Offer?

By Lynne Dare, Operations Director, Mosaic Search

On paper, the idea of being presented with two job offers simultaneously seems like a dream come true.  Most of us would believe that having two employers fighting for our attention is not only an ego boost, it’s a clear sign that we’re destined for career success. As it turns out, that’s not always the case.

For headhunted candidates who find themselves presented with a counter offer from their current employer, the situation can become more complicated than you would think – and caving in to that counter offer can be the wrong move. In fact, deciding to stick with your original employer will typically mean you have an 80% chance of moving on within the next year.

Trusting your Decision to Leave

When you accept a new position – whether you’ve been headhunted or sought it out yourself – you make a tacit agreement with yourself to move on and try something new. It’s rare that leaving a job is ever about one sole factor like an unsatisfactory salary, but often your exact reasons for wanting to get out won’t be clear in your mind.

Ultimately, it’s biting the bullet and accepting your new job offer that lets you know it’s time to make a change. In other words? Trust your instincts. If your impulse is to say yes, then it’s the right decision.

The Nature of the Counter Offer

It’s par for the course to receive a counter offer when leaving a job, particularly if you’re in a senior position. But you have to ask yourself a few things when that offer comes in. Why did it take the threat of your departure for your employers to make a change? Are they asking you to stay because they value you, or because they need someone to fill the position? Will the raise they’re offering be sourced independently, or effectively snatched from your next pay rise?

Lastly, how healthy will your relationship with your employers remain now they know you’ve been “looking elsewhere”?

Not Giving In to the Fear

Humans are not good with big changes. And it can be particularly hard to accept the unknown of a new job when faced with a counter offer from your current employer. In the face of a salary boost and new benefits, you might find the fear kicking in – that voice in the back of your head telling you not to rock the boat and stay put.

One effective way of countering your doubts is to write a list of pros and cons for each position. Once you see the facts on paper, you’ll be able to weigh up the decision objectively. And remember, you might be afraid to do something new, but sticking around and putting up with the same old problems is usually the scarier prospect.  Also, it’s a good idea to talk through your thoughts with your Headhunter / Managing Consultant who will give you an objective and experienced view that will help you make your decision.

If you’re a senior level candidate seeking your next career move, call us to arrange a confidential chat with one of our experienced consultants.  Tel: +44 (0)1242 239147 or email

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