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How Do You Handle a Counteroffer?

When you’re looking for a new job, getting an offer is exciting, and receiving a counter-offer can be a huge confidence boost. Knowing that two different life sciences organisations value the skills that you have acquired and want you to work for them can make you feel really positive about yourself.

But ultimately, you are now faced with a dilemma – do you accept the new job offer, or take the counteroffer and stay put with your current organisation? Much will come down to your intuition as to which organisation you feel would best align with your values, and offer the opportunities that you are seeking.

Rather than simply responding purely intuitively, it is important that you take the time to objectively consider both offers to ensure that you select the one that is best for you.

1. Why do you want a move?

Consider what it is about your current organisation that is no longer fulfilling you. There may be a number of factors at play, but identifying the core reasons why you decided to start looking for a new job will help you to determine whether you can get what you want if you accept the counteroffer and stay put, or whether you are more likely to satisfy your aspirations by moving on.

If your decision to seek a move was purely driven by a desire for a higher salary, and the counteroffer addresses this satisfactorily, it may be an easy decision to remain with your current organisation.

However, if you are dissatisfied with your working environment, the lack of venture capital investment or have experienced a personality clash with a manager or other close colleague, it is very unlikely that this situation will change should you accept the counteroffer. In this instance, you can probably proceed with the new job offer with a high level of confidence in your decision.

2. What are your priorities?

When you started your job search, you will have had a set of priorities in mind. They may have related to commuting distance, working hours, salary, opportunities for innovation or career progression, business culture and much more. By listing out the factors that matter most to you, you can compare both offerings to see which best aligns with your priorities.

If you are seeking greater levels of autonomy than your current role can offer, it is likely that opting for a job with a startup or scaleup organisation will provide you with the opportunity to develop your leadership skills and hone your communication skills due to the rapidly evolving nature of the business.

3. How do the job offers compare?

If both job offers are equally likely to address the reasons for your dissatisfaction in your current role, and both meet your priorities for a move, then you will need to thoroughly review the details of both jobs side by side.

Consider the extent to which you gelled with the interview panel at the prospective new job when compared to your relationship with your current management team. Think about the opportunities that both jobs offer for you to contribute to innovations within the biotech industry and the range of benefits that are on offer.

An established life sciences firm may have better access to funding than early stage European biotech companies and may be more prepared to negotiate on salary and benefits packages. If the compensation package is important to you, this is an area that you should explore in further detail.

Ultimately, there will be a difference between the two packages, but you may need to dig deep to find it and determine which of the two best aligns with your career aspirations and personal desires.

4. Be professional.

Unless you are prepared to immediately reject the counteroffer and accept the new job offer, it is wise to let the new employer know that whilst you are grateful to them for offering you the job, you have received a counteroffer and that you are considering your options. If the differentiating factor is within their power to match, they may be inclined to do so, particularly if your skill set is unusually specialised or you have specific experience that they require.

You should communicate a timescale within which you will make your decision and respond formally to them, either accepting or declining the job offer. Remember that there is a risk that they may have another candidate in mind and that taking too long to deliberate could cost you the opportunity to move.

5. Make a decision.

Once you have reflected on your options and perhaps discussed both offerings with a trusted confidante, you should let both organisations know of your decision. Be honest about the factors that swayed your decision as this feedback could prove valuable to whichever organisation you have decided against when they re-enter recruitment activity.

Always remember that your career trajectory may change in the future and that the job you select now may not always be the one in which you remain, so always maintain professionalism and aim to preserve your working relationship with the rejected organisation.

Not sure where to turn?

It is important to remember that long-term job satisfaction cannot be guaranteed. It may be due to the organisation experiencing a change of management or strategic direction, restructuring or simply that you develop a different perspective as you reach a new stage in your life or career. Therefore, the decision that you make today has to satisfy your current aspirations and desires.

As those change, you can reassess your priorities and seek a change if you deem that to be necessary. For help in finding a role that offers the benefits and challenges that you are seeking, please contact ScaleX Consulting today.

If you found this insight interesting, we recommend reading How to Answer “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

ScaleX Consulting offer trusted biotech business consulting and life science recruitment services, to help you take the next step in your journey.