How to Decline a Counter Offer

You’ve landed a new position and informed your current organization that you’ll be leaving. One day later they present a counter offer.

What should you do? You know you don’t want to stay, but you do want to leave on the best possible terms.

Here’s how to decline gracefully and keep the door open to future opportunities.

Step 1: Be Grateful

The first thing to do is be grateful. Thank them for their offer. Explain that you have weighed both options carefully and have decided to decline. While you don’t have to justify your decision, showing gratitude is a classy thing to do and keeps things amicable.

Step 2: Be Clear

After showing appreciation, clearly communicate your next steps.  Explain that you will be giving the company two weeks notice. Offer to map out collaboratively what needs to be accomplished during that time period. You want to leave them in the best position possible.

Step 3: Execute

Even though you might have done superior work for the past 3 years, you will be remembered for how you perform in your final two weeks.  Make sure you go above and beyond to deliver.  

Step 4:  Offer to Ease the Transition

It can be difficult to remember that the company’s problems are not your problems after your two weeks are up. You may be tempted to give a month’s notice. If your new company, however, has asked that you join them in two weeks, they are your priority. One option is to make yourself available for questions from your replacement for two weeks after you leave.

If your company makes you a counter offer it can be tempting to accept it. If, however, you decide to decline, remember to show gratitude. Help plan your final two weeks and then perform above and beyond expectations. Rejecting a counter offer doesn’t have to spell the end of a positive relationship with your previous employer. If done professionally it can keep the door open to future opportunities.