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Talent Talk: Should I Consider a Counteroffer?

Image: BillionPhotos/Adobe Stock tug of war
You have just accepted a very good offer from another company in your industry with more responsibility and a bigger salary. When you submit your resignation, your company makes a very generous counteroffer. Now what?

You have just accepted a very good offer from another company in your industry. You will have more responsibility in this new role with a company that is developing innovative products in growth markets. And, of course, you are getting a reasonable pay increase.

Now you need to tell your boss that you are resigning. You prepared a nice letter, short and to the point, thanking her and the company for the opportunities they have given you. But you are not looking forward to this part.

Okay, that’s done. She really didn’t say much but was surprised and sorry that you would be leaving. That was yesterday, and this morning she wants to see you in her office. When you walk in, her boss, the department head, is also there.

He starts talking about how much he and the company have appreciated your efforts over the past few years, even though they probably have not always said so. He also points out that they have done a lot for you and your career, and that it just does not make sense for you to leave now. In fact, there is a big new project coming up that affects your department. Only a few people in the company even know about it, but there will be a major announcement in the next couple of weeks.

The bottom line is, he wants you to be a key player in this project, and he really wants to talk to you about your future after that, as the company sees you as having senior management potential. He says he is going to turn it back to your boss to discuss the details, as he has a meeting he needs to get to.

After he leaves, she hands you a sheet of paper with a new salary written on it. Wow, it’s more than your new company offered, plus there is bonus potential based on how the new project goes. What the heck is going on here — didn’t you just resign yesterday? You’ve heard of counteroffers, but is this how it happens?

You tell the boss you need to think about this and talk it over with your significant other. Of course, she says. In fact, why don’t you take the rest of the day off to give yourselves more time to consider the opportunity.

What should you do? To be continued . . .


About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at

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