What To Do When You Receive A Firm’s Counteroffer

If you are moving forward in making a move, you must be prepared for your firm's counteroffer.

What is the biggest fear of any recruiter or candidate that is getting ready to make a move? It is your firm’s counteroffer. Recruiters dread this phase of the hiring process. If they do not prepare their client for a counteroffer, they most likely will be surprised by this. The candidate expects to go into the office, resign and just move on; then they feel bombarded with the firm’s counteroffer. If you are good, your firm does not want to see you leave; therefore, they are going to dangle any sort of carrot in front of you to make you change your mind.  Let us discuss in depth the counteroffer.

What Is A Firm’s Counteroffer Versus A Competing Offer? 

A firm’s counteroffer is where your existing firm presents you a new offer, usually accompanied by an agreement ensuring you will stay for X period of time while giving you this supposedly new and better financial package. A competing offer is where you have been negotiating with other firms during the process and decided to take a better offer rather than the one you represented that you are interested in.  Let us focus solely on the firm’s counteroffer. What is the scenario that will generate a counteroffer? There is only one: you are not sold on leaving your current firm. If a firm sees that you are wavering when you resign, they are going to try to keep you from resigning. If you go into the resignation process knowing there is nothing they are going to say or do to change your mind, then they will not try to offer you a new financial package to stay.  This is where your mental disposition will outweigh anything else.

Accepting A Firm’s Counteroffer

What happens statistically when you accept a firm’s counteroffer? You have been locked up with the firm for typically another two years in order for them to meet your compensation needs. Everything that you were concerned about, which you shared with your recruiter, is still there. You still have the same management difficulties, if that was the problem. You still have the same platform issues, if that was the problem. You still have the same internal issues, if that was the problem. If your only reason for leaving was financial, then you never should have started looking at new firms. Continuing with this scenario, what do the next two years look like? To put it simply, they are exactly the same except you may be increasing your compensation. However, after taxes, is that going to make that much of a difference? I can speak for the people who have accepted counter offers in the past. At least 75% or more of them have regretted not making the move and staying put with the old firm.

Your Mental Disposition When It’s Time To Resign

It is now resignation time, and you sit face-to-face across the table with your old employer. That particular person, once you have tended that resignation, is no longer your immediate supervisor. You do not owe them the loyalty that you have demonstrated over the years. They are now your past boss, and that has to be your mental attitude as you resign. If you sit down (whether it’s on a zoom call or face-to-face) and still consider them your boss, then you have not mentally made the decision to separate from your present firm to join the new firm that has been pursuing you over the last couple of months or so. As they like to say it is now “showtime”, and you have to stand up for what you believe in. Look forward and not backwards, nor dread the resignation process.

What COVID-19 Resignations Look Like

By working with your recruiter, you should be more than prepared emotionally for the “confrontation” of a firm’s counteroffer process as it will surely be one.  An interesting side note is that resignations during COVID-19 have become much easier as they are being done over the phone or on a zoom call and not in person. Thus, relieving the immediate stress of having to face your old boss and know that you’re letting them down because you’re now leaving. The only way to successfully do this is to be thinking only about the future and not the past.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn

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 level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.