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Counteroffers: What to Consider When a Counteroffer is Presented ft. William Soliman

You’ve spent weeks, even months, interviewing for a new opportunity. The company has great science, the leadership and culture seem to be a great fit and the company gives you an offer. You are thrilled about the opportunity — but then it comes time to resign. Maybe you were prepared for the possibility of a counteroffer or maybe it caught you by surprise? Whether it’s a lack of support from your manager or that promotion in job duties you’ve been promised but have yet to see, there are lots of factors that come into play for both the candidate and the employer in a counteroffer scenario. You may have heard the statistic that 89% of candidates who take a counteroffer end up leaving within a year’s time but why is that exactly? There are many reasons, but let’s look at a few that we discuss with our candidates who are weighing all of their options.

In my time recruiting MSLs, there have only been a handful of candidates whose primary objective for looking outside their company was for money. Passion for the patients and love for the science is what draws a candidate to the MSL role and what drives their career forward, especially when they make the decision to consider something new. Yet when resignation time comes, their company offers an enticing raise that sometimes causes candidates to reconsider. For the employer, it’s less expensive and less taxing on a hiring manager to increase your salary rather than search, hire, and train your replacement. For the candidate, the increase in pay might be appealing in the moment, but usually ends up not being enough to keep them content long-term so they leave anyway. One thing we do know is that within a year’s time, the candidate is far more likely to be looking again or be first on the chopping block when layoff time comes. 

I spoke with William Soliman, PhD, BCMA of the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs, to get his thoughts on counteroffers and he shared some insights about the employer perspective drawing upon his nearly 20 years of experience in this industry. 

      “There will be trust issues between the employer and the candidate and even if you were to stay at the position, the employer might question your commitment. It might create an awkward dynamic.”

 Will brings up a great point here about the candidates that do take a counteroffer and what they may face following their decision to stay. He went on to say that maybe you weren’t getting the support you need, or there were not enough resources which caused you to look at something new. This is an excellent perspective and more often than money, is what drives a candidate to look. A promotion or raise might be enough to get you to rethink leaving but it doesn’t address the shifting company culture, the dwindling pipeline, or the fact that it wasn’t until you decided to leave that your career growth was taken seriously.

There are many more things we could say on this topic. In my position as a recruiter and de facto career coach, it is important to me and our whole team at SEMbio that we help our candidates think through all the things they might not have considered. Moreover, we hope to equip candidates with different perspectives so they can make the best decision for themselves and their careers!

Questions or comments? Email me at ashley2@sembiogroup.com.

Author: Ashley Armstead, CPC

Ashley joined SEMbio in April of 2019 and came from a recruiting background with an international focus. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelors in Political Science. Ashley loves people and is driven by the ability to help candidates make meaningful connections with opportunities that are exciting and rewarding.