Counteroffer: accept or refuse?

Has it ever happened to you that you found an attractive job opening (in the case of an IT sphere, the recruiter finds attractive you), went through several selection stages, received an offer, informed your employer about leaving, and then bang! .... and you received a counter, even more attractive offer? What to do? Accept the counteroffer or leave the company for new opportunities? Let's deal with the issue in the article.

In the tech world, a counteroffer is an everyday occurrence: seek a replacement for a tech specialist is an expensive and painful process. Raising a salary for a "refugee" or offering them attractive perks is often easier than finding another specialist in a short time.
It seems that the counteroffer acceptance is a great solution that everyone benefits from: the company continues working with the time-proved employee and doesn't bother with unnecessary problems, the specialist gets an increase in pay or cool conditions, doesn't bother with a job and team change.

It turns out that the counteroffer should be accepted?

Well, we don't think so. In fact, in 98% of cases - this is a blemish job. Here's why:
  • 1
    You, as a specialist, will dent your employer's confidence and in the future will be at the head of the waiting list for staff reduction in the case of difficult times for the company. Think about how you'll look in in the minds of your chiefs if you've once decided to leave the company?
  • 2
    You risk losing credibility among your colleagues. The most committed staff members may begin to treat you with caution and mistrust.
  • 3
    You'll leave the company anyway. Think, if you are fine with the current place of work, why have you decided to consider another offer? Can a salary increase solve all the problems that have arisen during your work?


Once we'd found a candidate for the company who accepted the offer, but at the very last moment changed his mind and decided to stay at his current place of work, because he got very favourable terms. Three months later, the candidate contacted our agency, because he nevertheless left the company (it's likely that he quit out of the choice) and was on a job search.

If you are fine with your work but would like to change some working conditions or want the salary increase, just talk to your chief. Your announcement about the job change and the further counteroffer acceptance may be considered as a successful blackmail. We don't recommend you bring up to such conversations: just tell about your needs, and perhaps you'll get a rise in your salary and keep a good relationship with the company.

We remember more than a dozen cases in which candidates who received a counteroffer staged real fights between current and potential employers. This is always very obnoxious, and we often want to stop exhausting competitions and find another, more accommodating candidate.

Why does my employer make a counteroffer if I've dented their confidence?

Well, there are several reasons for this:
  • Your boss understands that they won't be able to find another specialist within two weeks;
  • Your employer doesn't want to spend time and money searching and selecting a new employee;
  • Your chief wants to buy time to find a substitute;
  • You are indeed a very talented and rare specialist and your manager truly values you.
As we can see, in three of the four cases this isn't about you or your talents. Why, then, accept the counteroffer? It turns out that it's better to stop wasting your time and time of the employer, but here and now to begin the troublesome process of job change and searching for a new employee.


Just a very short while ago the Lucky Hunter IT recruiters contacted a candidate who once had accepted an offer from a customer's company, but eventually accepted a counteroffer made by his company. As it turned out, the relationship between the candidate and the company went awry, and today the specialist works on freelance and actively considers new offers.

Nevertheless, we work in the IT-sphere and therefore we understand that IT specialists are really valuable employees, at least because the IT industry seriously suffers from their shortage.

When is it worth accepting a counteroffer?

A counteroffer from your employer is a good solution if you know for sure that your company appreciates you as a specialist, and you, in turn, are completely satisfied with the work and the counteroffer fully meet your needs.

In addition, if the company experiences hard times, maybe you should hold off on finding a new job, at least until everything returns to normal, and you'll be sure that you won't do serious harm to the company?
We remember more than a dozen cases in which candidates who received a counteroffer staged real fights between current and potential employers. This is always very obnoxious, and we often want to stop exhausting competitions and find another, more accommodating candidate.

Tо summarize

  • Don't bring up to the counteroffer
    If you like your work and you don't plan to leave the company, but there are conditions that you would like to amend, just talk to your boss. Perhaps you can solve your issues a lot easier than you think. Without offers and counteroffers.
  • Don't accept the counteroffer
    If you've decided to leave the company, then just leave. A rift has already occurred in your relationship with the company, and in order to "plaster" it, you'll have to work hard.
  • You may consider the counteroffer
    The only significant exception to the rule is your exceptional talents and specialization, which serve as a serious argument for the counteroffer making, and in this case, betrayal, reduction and undermining of trust are out of the question.

Polina Barabanova
Content Manager at Lucky Hunter
Specializes in tech staff recruitment, startups, tech research, career, HR, and news topics. With her expertise, she provides valuable insights and practical advice to navigate the ever-evolving tech industry.

We hope that now you don't have a question about whether to accept a counteroffer or not :) And if you are a leader and are searching for any IT specialist, contact us right now. We'll fill any of your vacancies in a matter of days. We'll show you the first candidates in four days!

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