Ask for time to think
The best thing to do, when you’re dealing with a current Employer and a prospective Employer at the same time, is to give yourself time out. It’s easy to feel pressured to give an answer straight away, but to make sure you make the right decision, you’ll need some breathing space to reflect on the reason why you decided to apply for a new job in the first place. With this in mind, set yourself a deadline of a couple of days in which to give an answer and communicate this to both parties. While it’s best not to keep people waiting for long, you also need to consider your priorities. Write down your motives, whether it’s a better salary, benefits, work location or the chance to progress in a different role and decide what’s most important for you personally.
Consider both options equally
As a Candidate, you may feel loyalty to your old Employer, having worked with your existing team for a number of years, and you’ll also want to impress your potential new Employer. However, try to remain impartial, don’t let emotion cloud your judgement. The best thing for you, whether it’s to stay or to go, will depend on your unique situation. If there was an issue at your current workplace, which became the trigger for your job hunt, has this been fixed since? And if not, why not? Are they stalling so that they have time to hire or are they genuinely promising an answer? Alternatively, if you’re happy in your current workplace but were tempted by a change, how much is the new role offering to offset the risk of moving somewhere different? Put yourself in your Employer’s shoes, remembering that if you’re looking for a higher salary or better benefits, they may have their hands tied. Your manager may not be able to provide everything you want even if they want to keep you.
When you’re dealing with a counter-offer, it’s important to stay professional. Don’t burn bridges by saying things you’ll regret or being unrealistic in what you’re asking for. If you’re a top performer within your company, you’ll be a strong position to negotiate, having proved that you are worth your salt through appraisals, performance targets and your relationships with customers. However, if you’ve been struggling at your current company – for whatever reason – if you drive too hard a bargain your manager could lose interest. At the end of the day, it’s important to come away with your reputation intact. Bear in mind that backing out of an agreement with a prospective Employer can be just as damaging as ending a relationship badly with your current one. Whatever you decide, be clear with both parties as to the reasons behind this and express your thanks for the offers you’ve received.
Avoid going back and forth
In a negotiation situation, you should always communicate as clearly as possible. The best way to do this is to avoid multiple conversations where both parties go back and forth for some time. If you’re asking for clarification, or proposing changes, try to do this all at once. Leaving the door open for discussion can make your decision more difficult, and will only prolong things, potentially increasing stress levels. Take time to list your questions in a single e-mail, whether you’re asking about a change of role, swapping to a new team or a potential promotion – and keep this on file as a record should you need it. If you’re having difficulty coming to an agreement with your current Employer, it may be easier to make a fresh start elsewhere, taking the chance to work with a brand-new team.
Ask your recruiter for their support
If you’re using a recruitment agency, take advantage of the expertise they can provide. After all, they’re there to make sure you get the best deal possible and have a great working knowledge of the industry you’re in. When you receive a counter-offer, be honest with your recruiter, who will have built up a relationship with your potential new Employer and can advise on the best way to handle things. If your current company is promising a higher salary, a better position or working hours, do you know if your new Employer can offer these things too? A recruiter will be a valuable go-between in this type of situation, they will know if their Client can be flexible or not. As a Candidate, you don’t want a company to lose interest in you because you’ve been hesitant to accept their offer, so use your recruiter wisely to avoid this happening.
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