Volume 121: Counter Offers- A Scary Situation

By: Teresa Hundt -Senior Associate/Head of Training at Oberg and Associates

Teresa at Halloween a few years back with her daughter.

In my seven and a half years as a recruiter, I’ve never seen so many candidates back out of agreements and accept counteroffers in the last year than I have in the previous 6 years combined.

Why is that? Has Covid changed the landscape of the Corrugated Industry that much?  Have priorities shifted so much that the fear of change has taken over? Are candidates taking advantage of staffing shortages at their current companies and leveraging their positions? Are companies so afraid of being short-staffed that they’ll do almost anything to keep employees?

Whatever the cause may be, I do not recommend that anyone take a counteroffer.

Yes, I know, that sounds very recruiter of me. I’ve been told before by a candidate who accepted a counteroffer that I’m just greedy and trying to make money. Of course, I’m trying to make money, I don’t recruit for free. However, I’m more interested in my relationships long-term than a one-off deal. A one-off deal might feed my family today, but a long-lasting relationship feeds me next year and year after year. It still doesn’t change the way counteroffers affect candidates with business relationships in the short and long term and that’s what I care about.

The issues that can arise once a candidate turns in a two-week notice can range from distrust and feelings of betrayal, to immediately being escorted to the door. A company or hiring manager may not express their true feelings but in this industry, I find that those feelings are the rule, not the exception. You are no longer viewed as a loyal employee. Plus, the issues that were driving you to make the career change won’t go away, they still exist and most likely won’t get better. Maybe you’ll be making a little more money, but that’s not the only component of a happy career.

If you are a candidate and you want more money or promotion from your current employer, don’t play games. Go and ask for it. Bring data, stats, and proof that you deserve what you’re asking for. If you’re worth it, your company will make it happen. But no one will have any respect for you if you entertain other job offers and accept one with no intention of actually working that job. If you’re doing this to blackmail your company into giving you what you want, that’s a dirty pool you’re playing in. . It’s not in your best interest. You’ve just proved you were disloyal to your current company by seeking other offers, and you’ve just made an enemy out of the other company by accepting a counteroffer and backing out. The one lesson I learned early at the beginning of my career in the Corrugated Industry is that everyone knows everyone, and things don’t stay a secret for long. This kind of move can come back to bite you.

My advice is simple.

Before you consider looking for a new job, explore all the options thoroughly where you currently are. If you are dissatisfied with anything, speak up when appropriate and have open conversations with your supervisor. If you’re a good employee, they will listen. If you stay silent then nothing will change. Also, make sure you’re emotionally ready for a career move. Fear of change is real and if you don’t take that into account then a counteroffer looks a lot more appealing if you get cold feet. And remember, you’re only as good as your word.

If you’d like to learn more about counter offers or the opportunities we have available, please reach out to me at teresa@obergassociates.com. I’d be more than happy to share more insights with you and help you leverage your career.

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