How to Tactfully Decline a Counter Offer from Your Employer

Once youve made the decision to accept that new job youve worked hard for, you might find yourself suddenly struck with a severe case of FOMO.

Fear of Missing Out on something better, more exciting or more valuable to your career can leave you transfixed in a dilemma situation of whether the grass really is greener on the other side. What if that big promotion is just around the corner? What if you could earn more if you stayed?

Assuming youve been great at your job, your company will not want to lose you. So, a counter offer might be made to tempt you into staying.

If your mind is already made, acknowledging but politely declining a counter offer is the best way. Youll need to do so in a way that says, Im flattered, but my decision is final.

A bigger salary or extra bonuses may make you happy in the short term, but accepting a counter offer for a pay rise may simply appear to your employer that you were attempting to use your resignation for financial gain. Our studies show that 89% of those that accept a counter offer, leave the company within 12 months anyway. Money cannot buy you career satisfaction.

Tell your employer that whilst you appreciate that they feel you are of value to the business; your focus is on job satisfaction and career progression rather than money.

If you were really in-line for a promotion, or about to be given control over a large project, why did they wait until you resigned, to offer you what youre really worth to them?

A new title or extra responsibilities will not always cut it when you were unhappy enough to find something new just last week.

Tell your employer that youre delighted they would consider you for this increased responsibility, though youre looking for an overall more pleasing package.

Working from home, more flexible shifts or the ability to work flexitime are all common counter offer perks. Whilst these sound appealing, theyre often nothing to do with the reason you were leaving in the first place.

Tell your employer that you appreciate their eagerness to ensure you are happy, though youre ready to progress within a role that offers you more for your future.

If youre on great terms with your employer, dont be surprised to receive a tug on the old heart strings. Things will improve, Please give it another go, We cant cope without you…

This is your employers way of coercing you to stay for the benefit of the company… not for yourself.

Explain firmly your reasons for leaving and that you will assist with a full professional handover to ensure the process is smooth. This should address any issues they may have with lack of resource, skills within the team or projects that might be left incomplete on your departure.

As tempting as it may be, a counter offer is designed to keep you for the benefit of the business. Consider offers very carefully alongside your original reasons for leaving. As they say, money cant buy you happiness. Neither can an extra days holiday, a desk by the window or adding the word Senior in front of your job title…

You’ve decided to move on and submitted your resignation But then your employer makes a counter offer, trying to convince you to stay. How do you politely turn down their offer without burning bridges? Declining a counter offer requires finesse and care to exit on a positive note Follow these best practices for gracefully refusing your employer’s attempt to retain you.

Thank Them Sincerely

The first step is to thank your manager or HR representative for the counter offer. This gesture shows them you appreciate their effort to keep you. Recognize that developing a counter proposal takes time and resources on their part. Express your gratitude for the consideration.

A simple statement like “Thank you for taking the time to develop a counter offer I’m grateful that you value me as an employee” goes a long way. Starting the conversation off with sincere appreciation helps soften the blow of your eventual refusal.

Explain Your Reasons

Next, reiterate the reasons driving your decision to leave. Assure them that it was not an easy choice. Share the factors that are motivating you to pursue another opportunity. Explain how it will advance your long-term career goals.

For example, “While I’ve enjoyed my time here, this new position allows me to gain the skills I need to advance in my field.” Keep the focus on fulfilling your own aspirations, not dissatisfaction with your current role.

Let them know you carefully considered their counter, but your mind is made up. This frames your choice as a strategic career move, not impulsive or reactionary.

Avoid Direct Comparisons

Refrain from making direct comparisons between their counter offer and your new opportunity. Stating that the salary, benefits or growth potential are better elsewhere can come across as hurtful criticism.

Instead, reframe the discussion around alignment with your personal goals. Say something like, “I appreciate the offer, but feel this next step is the right move to continue building my skills in the direction I envision for my career.” Keep the focus on your own path forward.

Suggest a Transition Period

To ease the difficulties of your departure, suggest a reasonable transition period. Offer to help hire and train your replacement and tie up any loose ends on projects. This goodwill can leave your manager feeling supported rather than stranded.

Say something like, “I want to make this transition as smooth as possible. I’m happy to stay on for two more weeks to document my work and train others to ensure projects stay on track.” Outlining your availability reassures them.

Express Enthusiasm About the New Role

Share your excitement about the new opportunity and why it has you so energized. But avoid excessive detail about the perks of your new role, as this can exacerbate hurt feelings.

Comments like “I’m thrilled to join an industry leader like Acme Corp and take on some ambitious new projects” come across well. Discuss your enthusiasm in terms of career growth and goals rather than direct comparisons.

Leave the Door Open

As you decline the counter offer, leave the door open should your circumstances change. Express that while you must refuse now, you hope to keep in touch. Let them know that you would gladly consider working together again down the road if there is a mutual fit.

Language such as “While I must decline at this time, please keep me in mind for future opportunities. This is simply the right next step for me now.” This maintains positive relations that preserve future possibilities should paths realign.

Express Gratitude Again

End the conversation like you began it – with gratitude. Reiterate how much you appreciate them making a counter offer and valuing your work. Share your hope that they will remain contacts moving forward.

Final statements like “Thank you again for all your support and for the counter offer. This has been a difficult decision but I’m appreciative we can part on positive terms” demonstrate maturity. Gratitude leaves everyone feeling respected despite the refusal.

Follow up in Writing

After verbally declining the counter offer, follow up with a written letter confirming your decision. Keep your tone gracious. Provide a high-level overview of your reason for refusal while expressing enthusiasm for your new employer.

Written documentation ensures mutual clarity on where things stand. It also provides a record of a thoughtful, respectful decision should any questions later arise.

Declining a counter offer is an art requiring honesty while still being considerate. Maintain positivity by focusing on your own career aspirations. Express sincere gratitude for their efforts and offer to aid the transition process. With grace and care, you can refuse while maintaining your integrity and relationships.

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Should I Accept A Counter Offer From My Employer? Counter Offer Advice From A Recruiter

How do I decline a counteroffer?

Here’s how to decline a counteroffer successfully: 1. Select the medium that makes you most comfortable The first thing you need to establish is how you will tell your employer that you are going to decline the counteroffer. It’s advisable to use the same method your employer used to extend the counteroffer.

What happens if you decline a counter offer?

If word gets out in your industry that you are an unreliable prospect who uses the job search process to garner counter offers from your employer, your name could become toxic to other organizations. If you decide to decline the counter offer, it is a good idea to have a professional reply prepared in advance.

Can I decline a job counteroffer over the phone?

It’s advisable to use the same method your employer used to extend the counteroffer. It’s worth noting that if you decline a job counteroffer over the phone, your employer may still request an email so they have something written on file. Related: How To Give Two Weeks’ Notice (With Examples) 2. Express your gratitude

When should a candidate reject a counter offer?

There are a few instances where it may make sense to reject the candidate’s counter offer outright. These include when: The employer cannot match the counter offer: If the candidate is requesting a salary that is significantly higher than what the employer is able to pay, it may be sensible to reject the request outright.

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