Dangers of bargaining with counter offers

Counter offer errors Ellis Fox Blog

On average candidates have the opportunity to increase their salary between 10% and 25% when they move to a new job. Compared to the prospects of a 5% to 10% annual increase if they stay with their current employer, it’s one of the reasons many professionals choose to move.

It’s also one of the reasons some people go for interviews in the hope of attracting a better offer. They may not really want to move but feel that if they get a better offer, it’ll be enough to argue for a higher increase than what they’ve been offered.

This might initially sound like a good career progression strategy, but it’s not. Here are two reasons why attempting to leverage counter-offers could be more damaging to your career in the long run.

Breaking trust

When you go for interviews its safe for recruiters and employers to assume that you’re serious about making a move. They invest a great deal of time and effort to find you the right role. If it turns out your only intention was to get an offer for your current employer to counter, in reality you’ve wasted their time. Time they could have invested in finding and evaluating someone else.

This can harm future prospects because when the time comes and you do decide to move, recruiters aren’t likely to give you much consideration or put you forward for roles. It reflects badly on them to have candidates pull out. Especially if they have gone through several rounds of interviews. Recruiters work hard to build strong relationships with companies. They’re unlikely to risk those relationships on someone they can’t trust to be honest about their intentions.

Limits promotional opportunities

While most companies are aware that it’s the norm for people to move on every few years, they like to believe that while employees are there, they’re invested in growing with the company. If you try leverage a counter-offer just to get a bigger increase, it communicates that you’re looking after your own interests without consideration for the company. They’ll be less likely to shortlist you for any promotions that might exist because they believe there’s too great a risk of you leaving.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting better pay, but honesty is always the best approach. Ask for the increase, and if you don’t get what you need, be honest about seeking other opportunities. Most employers will be supportive and understanding if you give them your reasons and recruiters more willing to help you find what you need.