Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked:

You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”

Why would taking a counter offer can cost you more in the long run?

Read their responses below:

I won’t take the counteroffer once I have decided to move on and have a new organization offering me a job. There is obviously a reason why I started looking out and 99% of the time its not compensation. Having your employer offering you a better salary isn’t going to change your experience and decision to quit. I strongly believe that the extended relationship will not last long.

Sahil Arora, Leader | Entrepreneur | Management Consulting | Motivational Speaker | Investor | Mentor | Advisor


I had this very thing happen to me.  Six months out of college, having graduated first in my class with a Finance degree, I ended up working in the Purchasing department of  a large insurance company (Prudential).  A CFO of a manufacturing company had heard about my scholastic achievements, called me, and asked me to join his company (Keuffel & Esser).  He offered a starting position as an accountant, with the promise that he would move me into Finance and train me as his replacement over a period of a few years.    I joined the company, worked as an international accountant, but after 2 years, discovered that there was no discussion about moving into a finance role.  So, I went interviewing, and received an offer to be a financial analyst for another large manufacturing company.  I was very excited.  On my last day at K&E, the CFO came over to my desk, and said, “I heard you are leaving, please reconsider…I’ll give you any job you want.”  After telling him I was quite uncomfortable with that, having already excepted my new job, he said, “Let’s go to my office an map out a plan.”  He doubled my salary, gave me a new role, title and that very day, I started reporting to him.

I stayed with K&E, became a financial analyst, then Corporate Financial Manager and ultimately a Director in Finance handling mergers & acquisitions, investor relations, business planning, new business venture analysis, etc.  I handled the financial evaluation of all corporate initiatives, often working with the President of the company and presenting to the Board – all before I was 27.  The CFO was true to his word and got me involved in every aspect of his job.    The Company was eventually acquired before I could take over his job, but it certainly put me on a great path and was one of the best jobs I ever had.  And my salary increase five-fold over a period of 2 years.

So, in my case, taking the counter was definitely the better decision.   As a CFO, I look back and often think about what a great training that job was for me, at such a young age.

I guess you never know, but I wouldn’t dismiss the counter!

Lance Kirk, CFO/ CAO, MTM Technologies, Inc.


I think the reason few people accept counter-offers is simple, you have exhausted all avenues of resolution with no resolve.   If you are underpaid given the market, then either your employer isn’t in tune with the market or does not feel you are of value.  You shouldn’t have to threaten to leave before someone is willing to do something.  If you accept the counter, what is going to change, all of the same conditions still exist and it could be to your detriment as you could get pegged as a problem person.  Further I think the same thing could be said for any reason you would want to leave, career progression, problem co-worker, etc.  If you have a good people manager and a good HR department then your issues would have been addressed and you wouldn’t be looking for a new job.  And if your HR department and people manager can work together (or around each other if one of them is the problem) to remove appropriate obstacles then you don’t want to work there anyway.

Peter Magladry, Senior Director, Client Management at Willis Towers Watson

This is the second installment of this series. We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.

Larry Janis, Managing Partner, ISSG,

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