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Once you have a job offer in hand, it is your decision to make the final call to accept or reject it. You will be given enough time to decide. Most companies will extend an offer and expect a decision within five business days. If you’re working with a headhunter, they should have explained to you that their role is to assist in the interview process and get you a job offer. Some candidates use the "Ben Franklin" simple decision method by listing the pluses and minuses of the offer on a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle, put the pluses on the left and the minuses on the right.

You can use the "Ben Franklin" method in comparing your current position against the offer. When comparing the money, remember that you’ll always leave some money on the table. It could be an earned bonus, vesting monies, stock perks, etc.

Did you really get a job offer? I have talked with many candidates who claim they have received job offers. When I dig deeper, they did not actually get a job offer. Often they had two or three interviews and were eliminated prior to the job offer stage. To receive a bonafide job offer it must contain three components. These are (1) position title; (2) money/benefit package and (3) tentative start date. You should always have an offer in writing before making any decision.

A counteroffer is like trying to keep a relationship together by offering more money. Your spouse or partner says, "Honey! I’m really happy with our relationship, but last week I met someone. We have mutual interests and I have been offered more money, a bigger house, longer vacations, and just a better lifestyle. So, I'm leaving you. I’ll be gone in two weeks. There’s nothing really wrong with our relationship, I just feel this will be a better lifestyle for me." In this metaphor, your employer is the one getting the bad news. The difference is that your leaving may cause a short-term replacement problem, so a counter-offer might temporarily patch up the relationship. If you accept a counter-offer, the following twelve reasons may apply.


  1. Is the money for your counteroffer your next pay raise early?
  2. Most likely, you will be pressured to resign or be terminated within a year.
  3. Your employer will begin any cutback with you in mind.
  4. Your relationship with your co-workers will never be the same.
  5. The people and circumstances that caused you to consider other opportunities will be the same.
  6. Once your employer knows you are unhappy, your loyalty will always be in doubt.
  7. Your company has insulted your intelligence by thinking that you are for sale.
  8. Your boss will start thinking about a new person at a cheaper price.
  9. You had to threaten to resign before they’ll give you what you’re worth.
  10. At promotion review time, your employer will remember.
  11. After accepting the counter offer, you are now a "hired gun," not a career employee.
  12. It's all about loyalty, not money.

[QUICK TIP] Do not tell your current employer that you’re considering accepting a job offer. Give notice after you have accepted the offer. Be firm about not accepting counteroffers.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.