The Counter Offer: An offer made in response to another. 

They’re rife right now, and we know only too well how frustrating they can be for future employers – those who have invested time and effort into their recruitment process and potential new team members. Of course, counter offers have always played a role.

But in a post COVID, post Brexit landscape, we’re seeing them with almost every offer made. They should be expected, and it’s important to be ready for them.

So, we thought we would write down a few of our thoughts. Not only to help employers who are faced with this issue, but to also ensure potential employees think carefully about whether to accept them.


Expect them.

Tackle them head on from the start of your process. Great people will be counter offered – either by their current job, or others who are looking to hire. Asking your candidates how they would feel if they were to be offered more money (or experience a change in circumstance, at the very least) gets everyone thinking.

Gain a clear understanding of their current frustrations.

Whether your superstar was job hunting or approached directly, there’s a reason why they are sat in front of you. It’s important to understand what their frustrations are and how you can offer something different, or offer solutions. This conversation in itself allows the candidate to gain clarity on what they would change about their current working conditions.

Don’t low-ball offers.

Make the best offer you can to your potential hire. In a post COVID-19 world we are finding salary variations as low as £2,000pa are influencing decisions. More than ever, we see candidates refusing to consider offers lower than their current salary.

Nail the process.

Don’t mess about. Offer letter within 24 hours of offer, welcome phone call, invite in to meet the team. The more engaged someone is in your business from the start, the less chance their head will turn back.

Well-being wins

One of our biggest observations when speaking to superstars over the last month is that EVERYONE is asking about number of hours and work-life balance, without exception. Having benefits in place such as capped hours, extra holidays, 4 day working weeks will 100% play a role when final decisions are being made.


How about if you receive a counter-offer from a current employer? Should you accept it? Our general experience with counter-offers is that they are flattering. It’s nice to suddenly feel wanted by your employer. But how long does that last? We think it’s important to at least consider some of these points……

You or them?

Is the counter offer genuinely about you, and your development? Do you believe it to be in your best interest – or it is about them? Realising the work involved in finding and developing another manager to your level, your employer may have decided keeping you is the easier option. If that’s true, are you okay with it?

Why now?

If you are genuinely valued by your boss, you will feel that way. And as observers of so many recruitment processes, it saddens us that so many people don’t. They haven’t had conversations about their futures, or ever had pay rises. Yet when the notice gets handed in the cavalry arrive, marching down from head office to change your mind. It's not good enough. And after promising change, more often than not, companies like this return to form almost immediately.

More money, more problems.

Counter offers can include other elements, but in the main are about salary. Why is there suddenly more money in the pot now for you? Where was it last week? Well, bets are it will come from future pay rises. Expect to stay on that counter offered amount for a long time. Also one to consider – will there be greater expectations on you as an employee? A pay rise can often cause this, despite you being in the same role.

Loss of trust.

It’s likely that your employer will be happy you have decided to stay. ‘Phew! They haven’t left’ will be their initial thinking. But how long does that last? Have you lost a little credibility? Will they continue to wonder whether you are always looking elsewhere? Hard to know but something to consider.

‘They’ve promised GM within 12 months’

Whether it’s a GM promise or any other role being dangled, just be cautious here. If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t easily outline our future. No one can. Ask yourself ‘how many people is this being promised to?’, ‘why is this being promised during my notice period and not before?’ ‘What evidence is there that this will happen?’. If there is, then great! But don’t think that just because you threatened to leave, your chances of promotion have gone up.

So, there you have it. A little food for thought on counter offers. I’m sure you could argue that our objectivity can be called into question here, considering our vested interest in recruiting for new roles.

But we’ll end on a fact – specifically researched for this piece.


Take care, and chose carefully.

Sixty Eight People x