Of course, if your motivation for getting a job offer was to position yourself for a counteroffer, then you’re in the catbird’s seat — you can’t lose either way.
Or can you? Some employment experts point out that accepting a counteroffer is the equivalent of career suicide.
According to Paul Hawkinson, publisher of The Fordyce Letter, your acceptance of a counteroffer could very well blow up in your face.
Here’s how. Let’s say you announce your plans to leave your current job. This, in effect, blackmails your boss, who makes you a counteroffer only to keep you until he can find your replacement, at which point you’re dropped like a hot potato. In the meantime, the trusting relationship you’ve enjoyed with your current supervisors and peers abruptly ends, and your loyalty becomes forever suspect.
Is this sort of scenario accurate? I guess it depends. My experience has been mixed. That is, some of the candidates I’ve known who’ve accepted counteroffers have remained at their old jobs for years, and have smoothed over whatever difficulties caused their split in the first place.
It’s precisely for this reason that I’m so cautious when I work with currently employed job seekers. I want to feel confident that their motives are pure before we both invest a lot of time and energy in testing the market.
However, there’s a lot of evidence to support the theory that candidates who accept counteroffers become damaged goods once they’ve been herded back into the fold.