The Counteroffer: What You Should Know

When you resign, that's it. Or is it? Here's what you should be prepared for when it comes to a potential counteroffer from your current firm.

Today more than ever there is a new trend that is increasing every day: the counteroffer. Now you may be thinking, “Harlan, this is not a new trend. There have always been counteroffers,” I would tend to agree with you wholeheartedly. However, there is a statistic that should make you stand up and take notice. According to a survey of Permanent Placement Recruiters nationwide, not only are there more counteroffers but greater than 20% of candidates are now falling off. 

Falling Off Or Following Through?

What does it mean to be falling off? It means that 20% of all candidates are opting to stay at their current position or take a position at another firm even though they have a signed offer with a new firm. You simply cannot count on the fact that a candidate has signed your offer. Why is this occurring?  This is happening because of the candidate-driven market; therefore, current firms do not want to lose their present employees to a competing firm and are going to great measures to keep them i.e., the counteroffer comes into play. They are applying a “full court press” when they find out their current “star” is out looking for a new team.

What A Resignation Can Do For You & A Counteroffer

If you are the “star”, you are in control for now. However, if you are the one wanting to make a move, be prepared for your home team not to give up without a fight. You must be better prepared when going in to resign. The best way to resign, if that is your decision, is to make it short and sweet. You must state emphatically that you are not looking for a counteroffer and must mean it! If you are using the interviewing and ultimate hiring process to better your own position, that too can backfire. The reason for this statement? Your present firm now knows that there is at least a glitch in your armor, and you may not be that 100% dedicated employee that they thought you were. They may keep you but the psychological infraction has been done. Candidates, please be sure that you really want to leave your current firm. The road ahead will be rockier than it has been in the past when it comes to the resignation process.  We can help you through this process.

What Could Be Happening & How To Handle It

If you are the hiring manager, one additional key to getting the candidate closed is to measure their pain and pleasure levels. If he or she is showing no pain from their current situation, they will be more accepting of a counteroffer and may buckle under the pressure from their present firm. If they are only looking towards the pleasure of going to a new company, in my opinion, that is not going to be enough when the full-court press is applied (statistically it will be). Your candidate must be both avoiding pain and heading toward pleasure. For example, leaving behind a platform that is preventing an increase in their production for a firm that is going to be more accepting of his or her type of business, thus driving more revenue to their bottom line. It is in everyone’s best interest to drill down much more than you have in the past for their real reason for leaving and entertaining your offer. We can help you locate and close the candidates that really want to move. 


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.