1. What is a counter offer?
When an individual resigns, sometimes a company will attempt to entice the person to change their mind. This may happen at the time of the resignation, or more likely toward the end of the second week of the person’s notice.

2. What will a counter offer be?
A counter offer may be an increase in salary, (or a promised increase), a promotion (“we were about to promote you and had not had a chance to tell you…), or any other action to entice you to stay.

3. Why do companies give counter offers?
There are numerous reasons a company will offer a counter offer. The resignation of a key employee may be viewed as a bad reflection on his immediate manager. The work load will increase when someone leaves. Deadlines may be missed.
The bottom line is that it will be easier for them if you stay.

4. What happens when I accept a counter offer?
At the beginning, you will feel great. It is nice to feel the company wants you to stay so much they are willing to do something extra for you. And, let’s face it, it is a little scary to accept a new position, especially if it involves a relocation. So, at first you may feel relieved to be off the hook to make a job change, and will feel very positive about the whole thing.

Too many times, however, a counter offer situation will look very different to you as soon as 4 to 6 months later. The increase in salary may disappear during your next review, when you receive a very small increase. The promotion may be stalled. And the worst of it is that you are now viewed a little differently. Remember that the company did not offer you these things until you forced them to, when you resigned. And, when an important assignment or promotion comes up, who do you suppose will get it, the person who sits next to you who is perceived as a loyal employee because he has never looked outside for a job, or you, who could very will resign again?

5. How do I avoid the counter offer?
Take all possible steps to determine if you can resolve your differences with your present company BEFORE you resign. If you feel you are under paid, go in and speak with your supervisor and ask for what you believe you should be making. If you feel a promotion may be imminent, ask about it. Under no circumstance, however, should you imply or hint that you are or might be looking at another job. If you do decide to stay with your present firm, you want to be perceived as a loyal employee.

Only after you have exhausted all discussions, (preferably well before you even receive an offer from another company), should you go in and resign. And once you do, stick to it. It would be more professional to leave, and to approach the company in the future about returning than to stay because of a counter offer.