Posts tagged ‘counteroffers’

Job-Seekers’ Top-10 Lists and New Year’s Resolutions

Every year around December, people in the media seem to feel compelled to wrap up each outgoing year with various Top-10 Lists – usually featuring news events, movies, songs, TV shows, books, etc. Each December since I started Recruiter Musings back in 2009 (our visitor count recently surpassed 1 Million hits and we’re still going strong!) I’ve been posting a couple of my own “Top-10 Lists” for Job-Seekers, as well as a list of suggested New Year’s Resolutions for Job-Seekers. In reviewing those prior lists, I found that they are mostly still very relevant and timely! Oh sure, a lot has changed in the world during the last few years. But in terms of my view of the most annoying and the most helpful things for job-seekers … well, my opinions and suggestions have aged well! I’m still very annoyed by people who don’t return phone calls, and I still think Twitter is a huge waste of time! And I’m still a firm believer in the power of Networking as the number one job-seeking methodology with the best chances for success. Likewise, my suggested New Year’s Resolutions from the last few years are still the same ones I’d advise today’s job-seekers to aspire to for the coming year.

Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, I simply went back and re-edited the past year’s postings to make sure they were still accurate and up-to-date so that I could simply refer back to them. (By referring back to those newly edited original posts instead of re-posting them as new, the readers’ comments at the bottom of each of those articles have also been preserved.) SO … here are the links:


 Top 10 Most Annoying Things for Job-Seekers

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things for Job-Seekers

 New Year’s Resolutions for Job-Seekers


December 1, 2014 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Counteroffers: Just Say No!

I recently posted a blog called “The Proper Way to Quit a Job.” Towards the end of that article, I mentioned that the most typical response by any boss who doesn’t want to lose an employee who is quitting is to come up with a counteroffer (more money, a promotion, more responsibility, a modified reporting structure, etc.) Most recruiters are trained to discuss this issue with their candidates from the very first conversation … and keep bringing it up over and over. That’s because one of the most common reasons for placements falling apart at the last minute is a candidate foolishly accepting a counteroffer. I say “foolishly” because it is considered Career Suicide by almost all Staffing Professionals. Why is that? The following information was published in the Wall Street Journal:

Fact: 80% of all people who accept a counteroffer leave their company or are terminated within six months. (Source: National Employment Association)
Fact: 90% of all people who accept a counteroffer will re-start their job search within six months. (Source: Business Week)
Fact: Decent and well-managed companies don’t make counteroffers … EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They will never be subjected to counteroffer coercion, which they perceive as blackmail.

And needless to say, you will have burned a pretty major bridge to the company whose offer you turned down by accepting the counteroffer. Once you’ve “left someone at the alter,” you can almost never go back. That other opportunity will be gone forever. Word gets around – and when you do inevitably end up back on the job market, that burnt bridge might come back to bite you. [Read “The Golden Rule for Business: Don’t Burn Bridges” for more on why this issue is so critical.]

So why do some companies make counteroffers? Think about it. When someone quits, it’s a direct reflection on the boss. Employers don’t like to be “fired.” In most cases, the boss will look bad for allowing you to go. It’s an implied insult to their management skills. Bosses are judged in part, by their ability to retain staff. They probably don’t have a contingency plan for your departure. Your leaving may jeopardize an important project, increase workload for others or even foul up vacation schedules. It’s never a good time for someone to quit. It may prove time consuming and costly to replace you. In the short term, it’s much cheaper to keep you – even at a higher salary. So their gut reaction is to do whatever has to be done to keep you from leaving … until they are ready to fire you on THEIR timetable! That’s human nature.

The following list is not new – it’s been published in many different forms, has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and has been floating around the internet for many years. Still, it’s absolutely on target … and each of these points is totally true. They all add up to one inescapable conclusion: Just Say No to Counteroffers!!!

The TOP 10 Reasons Why NOT to Accept a Counteroffer:

Reason No. 10: Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance.
Reason No. 9: Accepting a counteroffer is a bribe – an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride. You will always know that you were bought.
Reason No. 8: Statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm the fact that over 80% of people who accept a counteroffer are no longer with their company six months later.
Reason No. 7: The same circumstances that made you consider a change in the first place will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer.
Reason No. 6: When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you. Your position will be much less secure going forward.
Reason No. 5: When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal and who wasn’t. Which list do you think you will be on?
Reason No. 4: You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.
Reason No. 3: Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a lower salary.
Reason No. 2: Where is the money for the counteroffer coming from? Is it your next raise, early? If you were worth “X” yesterday, why are they suddenly willing to pay you “X + Y” today?
Reason No. 1: What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?!

March 1, 2010 at 6:54 am 31 comments

The Proper Way to Quit a Job

[This article was updated in June 2017]

Thinking about quitting your job??? Seems like a crazy topic for a blog aimed at job-seekers, eh? Well, the fact is that many job-seekers find new opportunities BEFORE they leave their old jobs. From a recruiter’s perspective, that is the traditional goal of a “Head Hunter” – to get someone to leave one job and go to another. [Read “The Real Truth About Working with Recruiters” for more on how “Head Hunters” differ from other types of recruiters.] And needless to say, a candidate who is currently working somewhere is perceived in a better light than an unemployed job-seeker by most potential new employers. So naturally, it’s a really bad idea to quit a job without having another job already lined up – unless the circumstances are pretty drastic at your current company. That said, people choose to switch jobs for all kinds of reasons: they find a better opportunity that pays more money, offers better chances for advancement, is a better fit for their skills, is with a company that has a better culture, etc. There are also the typical negative reasons why people would be looking to leave a job in the first place: feeling underpaid and/or under-appreciated, conflicts with the boss or co-workers, poor company culture or morale, unpopular leadership changes, company is in financial trouble, fears of impending layoffs or staff reductions, planned company reorganization or relocation, dead end job with no possibility for advancement, etc. Whether the economy is up or down, lots of people are still working, and still switching jobs. Gone are the days when workers stayed at one company and in one job for the bulk of their careers. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current median tenure for an average employee to stay at a job is only 4.3 years for men and 4.0 years for women.

As a recruiter, I’ve spent many years counseling candidates through the process of giving notice to their employers, and I know it’s something that scares a lot of people. It’s been said that quitting a job may be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life — comparable to a death in the family or a divorce.  The actual act of giving notice to your employer is not something that most people have a lot of experience with. So here are some tips and some advice on how to leave on the best of terms, in as professional a manner as possible, and without burning any bridges. [Read “The Golden Rule for Business: Don’t Burn Bridges” for a more detailed explanation of why this is so important.] Typically, what causes a bridge to be burned is what the employer does when hit with the news of a resignation, and how the employee reacts to that.

A Resignation Letter Template:

Dear (Supervisor’s Name):

This is to inform you that today I am submitting my resignation of employment which will become effective as of (Last Day of Employment).

I appreciate all that (Company Name) has afforded me, but after careful consideration I have made an irreversible decision to accept a new position. I am confident that this move is in my best interest, as well as that of my family and my career. I know that you will respect my decision.

I wish all the best for (Company Name) in the future. I will use the remainder of my time with the company to have all my work in order by my last day of employment.


(Type and Sign Your Name)

Giving Notice:
The best time to give notice is on a Friday afternoon. That gives your boss less time to react, ask questions or to argue, and gives everyone the weekend to calm down, absorb and accept the news. Use the resignation letter template shown above, address it to your immediate supervisor, sign it and make a copy for your records. In addition, prepare a list of projects and activities that you are currently working on, and their status. Hand the letter to your boss and tell him/her that you are submitting your resignation effective on the date indicated (typically 2 weeks from the day you give notice) and that you have prepared a list of your projects and activities and their status. Say that when they feel it is appropriate, you are prepared to discuss what you can complete in your final 2 weeks and who you should turn certain projects over to, etc. Your objective will be to make the transition as smooth as possible.

By the way … giving 2 weeks notice is a standard professional courtesy that is not actually required in many cases. In the United States¹, most people are employed “at will” – a legal term which means that they can quit any time for any reason (or no reason at all) with or without giving advanced notice. Of course, the reverse is also true: they can be fired at any time for any reason (or no reason at all) with or without advanced notice. I’ve seen cases where a person gave their 2-week notice, only to be told to clear out their desk and leave the premises that day! While not a very common response by a company, it’s not unheard of … and certainly within the company’s rights. They would then only have to pay that person up through the last day they actually worked. The much more common responses (especially if you were considered a valued employee) are what follows:

What may happen:
Do not expect your boss to be supportive. It is not in their best interest for you to leave and they probably don’t have a contingency plan for your departure. Be prepared for a wide range of emotions, from anger to remorse. Your boss may try to flatter you for the good job you’ve done, promise you things to get you to stay … and when all else fails try to make you feel guilty. (“We’ve done so much for you, and this is what we get in return?!”) The best thing you can do is talk as little as possible. Let them vent. Don’t get drawn into the emotion … that’s how you unintentionally burn bridges. Simply remain calm, and stick to your guns. As the resignation letter says, your decision is “irreversible.”

The Questions You’ll Get:
Your boss will probably ask you a lot of questions in an attempt to gather information that they can use to cast reasonable doubt on your decision, and possibly get you to change your mind. Remember that your objective is to not burn your bridge. Answer the questions professionally but in a general (vague) way, and without sharing any details. The more details you provide, the more likely it is that you will get into a debate. If you win that debate, you will not only have resigned but you will have rubbed their noses in it. Not a good idea! Here are the most typical questions you’re likely to get from your boss, and suggestions on how to handle them:

  • Why do you want to leave the company? The best way to handle it is to say something like: “I appreciate all the opportunities you have afforded me however I have accepted an opportunity I cannot turn down and that I feel is good for my career.” Do not say anything negative about your current job, the company, or any of the people you worked with there! And this includes comments on Social Media. DO NOT post negative comments about your boss, your co-workers or your place of employment on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or anywhere else online! Such venting can potentially do irreparable damage to your reputation — both with your former associates and with your future employers. (Yes, your future boss will see those comments and wonder what you’ll be saying about him/her at some point down the road.) Keep your sour grapes to yourself!
  • Where are you going to work? Never tell your current boss where you are going to work! There are many reasons for this rule, but they all boil down to this: nothing good can come from them knowing where you are going before you get there … and without spelling it out, I’ll just say that it’s entirely possible that bad things could happen from them finding out who your new employer will be. [See comment #30 below.]  The bottom line is that they simply don’t need to know. All you have to say is: “While I appreciate your curiosity, I would like to keep where I am going confidential.” That may end the questioning. If they continue to ask, just say: “For my remaining time here I’d like to concentrate on my work and help make the transition as smooth as possible – and I know that if we get into all these side issues, we’ll be rehashing this for remainder of my stay.” And needless to say, do not post any social media announcements or updates to your profiles about your job change until after you’ve started your new job.
  • How much money did they offer? Simply say: “I appreciate your asking, but that is a confidential matter between me, my new employer and my family.” Do not allow money to become a bargaining point, or open yourself up to a possible counteroffer. That almost never ends well!
  • How did you find this position? Whether you found it through answering an ad, through networking, through a recruiter, or they simply found you … again, it’s really none of their business. A good answer, which is generally truthful but vague, is: “I found it through a personal contact of mine.”
  • What can we do to keep you? This is the biggest trap of a question! Your immediate response should be: “Although I appreciate your asking, there is nothing you can offer. I am committed to my decision.” If you hesitate when asked that question, it might be interpreted as an invitation to convince you to stay. Then they will keep hounding you relentlessly. Assuming that you ultimately turn them down anyway, you will have then probably burned your bridge. Conviction is important here. If you’re not sure about your decision, then you shouldn’t resign to begin with!

The most typical response by any boss who doesn’t want to lose an employee who is quitting is to come up with a counteroffer (more money, a promotion, etc.) That is a topic for another blog [“Counteroffers: Just Say No”] … but suffice it to say, accepting a counteroffer is almost always a REALLY BAD IDEA! 80% of all people who accept counteroffers are no longer with their company six months later.² It’s best to keep repeating that your decision to move on is final and irreversible. Remain firm, stay confident and move forward with a positive attitude. Leave in as professional a manner as possible, so as not to burn a bridge. You never know when or where the people from that former company will re-appear in your future!

¹ As many astute readers have pointed out, employment laws, the “at-will” status and requirements for giving notice may vary outside of the United States.

² As reported in the Wall Street Journal:
1) Business Week published a set of statistics revealing that nine out of ten candidates who accepted a counter offer were back on the streets looking within six months.
2) Statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm the fact that over 80% of those people who elect to accept a counter offer and stayed, are no longer with their company six months later.

February 22, 2010 at 6:57 am 36 comments

Michael Spiro

About the Author:

Michael Spiro has been a 3rd-Party Recruiter and Account Executive for nearly 20 years. He is currently the Director of Recruiting / NE Ohio Region for Experis Finance, a dedicated business unit of ManpowerGroup. Other recent positions include President of Midas Recruiting, a boutique head-hunting firm, Director of Talent at Patina Solutions, and Executive Recruiting positions with two of the largest search firms in North America. Before his career in the staffing industry, Michael was a manager in a large non-profit social-services organization. And in a former life, Michael was active in the entertainment industry, with extensive road-warrior experience as a touring performer (singer-songwriter / guitarist / comedian) and as a recording artist, producer and booking agent.  [More...]

Index (by Topic):

Résumés & Cover Letters:
 The "T" Cover Letter - The
         Only Type Worth Sending

 The Brutal Truth on How
         Résumés Get Eliminated

 Explaining Short Job Stints
         and Employment Gaps

 The Résumé Test &
         Checklist: Does Yours

 Beating the Résumé-
         Elimination Game: Where
         Do Recruiters' Eyes Go?

 The Truth About Lying on

 "Why Did You Leave Your
         Last Job?"

 How to Network: A
         Step-by-Step Guide for
         Job Searching

 Looking for Networking in
         All the Wrong Places

 Targeted Networking: How
         to Effectively Reach Out

 The Art of Giving: the Key to
         Effective Networking

 Face-to-Face Interviews:
         Secrets, Tricks and Tips

 Phone Interviews: Secrets,
         Tricks and Tips

 Skype Interview Tips ...
         Welcome to the Future!

 Nuggets: A Secret
         Interviewing Technique

 Answering the Dreaded
         Salary Question

 20 Surefire Ways to Blow
         an Interview

 "So, Do You Have Any
         Questions?" Nailing the
         Interview Closer

 Cool InfoGraphic: "What
         You Wish You'd Known
         Before Your Job

Age Discrimination:
 Age Discrimination: Secret
         Conversations Revealed

 Age Discrimination:
         Exposing Inconvenient

 Are You "Overqualified?"
         Handling the Age Issue

 Baby Boomers to the
         Rescue! An Idea Whose
         Time Has Come ...

 Overcoming Job-Search
         Obstacles and
         Redefining Your Career
         After 50

 Advice for Recent Grads
         and Career-Changers

Switching Jobs:
 The Proper Way to
         Quit a Job

 Counteroffers: Just Say No!

General Job-Seeking Info:
 The Real Truth About
         Working with Recruiters

 Contract/Consulting Jobs
         Explained ... Available in
         3 Different Flavors

►  What Recruiters Say
         vs. What Job-Seekers

►  The Dirty Truth About
         Misleading Unemployment

►  Let the Jobs Find You:
         Making Yourself More

 "Help ... I Need a Job!" A
         9-Step Guide for Newly
         Minted Job-Seekers

 Avoiding the "Black Hole
         of HR"

 Is Your Elevator Pitch
         Taking You UP
         or DOWN?

 Time Management: Recipe          for a Well-Balanced Job          Search
 Getting Un-Stuck from your

 The Double-Whammy of
         Rejection and Isolation

 "Unemployed Need Not
         Apply" - Working Around
         This Scary Message

 Using Social Media to
         Enhance Job-Searching

 Warning: That Rant You
         Posted Just Went Viral!

 The Golden Rule for
         Business: Never Burn

 The Power of a Positive

 Why Job Hunting is a
         Consultative Sales

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things
         for Job Seekers

 Top 10 Most Annoying
         Things for Job Seekers

 New Year's Resolutions for
         Unemployed Job-

Job-Seeking Humor:
 Comic Relief: Volume 1
 Comic Relief: Volume 2
 Comic Relief: Volume 3
 Comic Relief: Volume 4
 Comic Relief: Volume 5
 Comic Relief: Volume 6
 "In Transition" and Other
         Awkward Euphemisms

 Candidates Gone Wild:
         Recruiter Horror Stories

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