OK. So you’ve decided you’re underpaid. A few of your team mates are making considerably more than you. You know you’re as good as (if not better) than them, so what gives?

You really do like your job. The company Christmas party is off the hook! The drive is less than 5 minutes and your best buddies work there too…….but you keep seeing jobs all over the internet paying more than what you’re making and it’s starting to weigh on your mind……

So what can you do about it? Call a recruiter? Well, maybe…..

But you know what happens next, right? If you’re so good- you’ll be going on an interview next week. Then another. Pretty soon you’ve got yourself an offer. More money!!! Woo hoo!!

But wait!  Now you’ve got to resign. And you don’t really want to do that, do you? You’ve got to go through with this, though…….right? The recruiter is calling you night and day making sure you’re “on the same page” and you’ve already reluctantly agreed that he can accept an offer on your behalf. Who knows – maybe he already did…?

This isn’t what you really wanted, is it? To leave all your friends? To bail out on the awesome project you’ve been working on the past 2 years? It’s just about ready to go into production. All your hard work – and you’ll never see how happy your customers are……bummer…

I’ve got a solution for you. All you really want is more money. Heck – we all want that. So let me help you do just that without dragging a few other companies and that nice recruiter through the mud.

Wear your best suit into work tomorrow. Look better than you have since you interviewed there to begin with. Let your boss know you need the afternoon off. She’ll ask you why. Just let her know “It’s personal” and try to seem a bit apprehensive about it.

Next week you’ll need to take a whole day off. Again – let your boss know it’s personal. You might jokingly say “I’m not going on any interviews or anything” and then throw in something about your grandma not doing so well and she lives quite a distance away. Again – keep it somewhat vague.

Hang in there. You’re almost done Just one more step. This is the important one. You now need to tell your boss you need a few minutes. She’s already thinking something is up and this will confirm it. Her suspicion will be that you’re leaving – and she can’t have that happen now. Not at this critical time!

When you’re in her office let her know you just want to get a better idea of where you’ll be in the next few years. Ask about your chance of promotion. Let her know you feel like you need some more responsibility – but NEVER let on that you’ve been “interviewing” – just make it appear as though you’re at a crossroads and “might” be looking elsewhere. She’ll suspect this. She’s been here before. Trust me.

She’ll be on the phone with HR in a matter of minutes. Within a day or two you’ll find yourself in a meeting again. This time she’ll be happy to let you know that she’s been thinking of your career plan there – and while that all shapes up – there is also a salary increase she’s requested for you. There you have it. You’re in!

Simple. No hassle. No bitter recruiter. No other company involved. Just you, your company and your new, phatter paycheck.

Good luck!


8 thoughts on “How to Get a Counter Offer – Step by Step Instructions

  1. I’ve worked for three companies. Two of them would fire your ass proactively if they even *thought* you were interviewing. They succeeded at their intimidation tactic. Note I work at company #3 that doesn’t do that.

  2. I’ve had similar results.
    First job out of school, they gave me several raises in the first year… honestly, it was a great place to work. Eventually, I wanted more so I casually told my supervisor that I really enjoyed working there but I would likely accept another position if offered because my career wasn’t advancing at the rate I needed it to. I took some personal days over the next few weeks and *BAM* I ended up getting a very nice raise, more responsibility and the title I wanted.

  3. This is not good advice. It might work, it might get you fired.
    Generally – think hard about whether a company which underpays you is worth staying with – despite other things that you like about your work situation. Most larger companies – and many smaller ones too – full well know what your market value is.
    The silly dress-up-and-lie game playing is not going to sit well with many supervisors. If you have a reasonable boss – you’d be more respected have a sit down and mention that you believe that you are underpaid. Do this well in advance of your next ascheduled review – and your boss may be able to help you out more easily.
    ALWAYS – be prepared to leave if you start to complain about salary. Depending on the job market for your skills – this might mean that you need to have actually accepted a new job before you have “the talk” (this is not the same as telling your boss that you have that new job in your pocket).
    If you are underpaid – and accept a counter offer to stay – what do you think your chances are of either being replaced in the near future by a new employee at a lower pay rate? Is the counter off er high enough that you willl be happy if you see low pay raises over the next few review cycles – because the company now has you cataloged as “high” in your position’s salary range ?
    My first job – first review at 6 months – excellent review, 6% raise. I told my boss that I appreciated his review and the raise – but I understood that it put me even with what other fresh out of school engineers had gotten as entry salaries (the ones who had not accepted the company’s first offers). He understood. Two months later, embedded in a company wide salary/position review – I received a 25% raise, and a request that I not tell anyone about it.
    Years later, as the manager of a wafer fab, the division head called me in to his office for an ASAP meeting. Our contract recruiter had called him after he had found my resume was still posted on a job board. My boss was truly panicked at the idea that I might leave. I was charged with turning around a troubled wafer fab – and had made it profitable as a stand alone operation – for the first time in 30 years! I had great reviews, decent raises – but I was underpaid at my entry salary as a troubleshooting special programs engineer – before I was promoted to fab manager after 6 montths. I had job security – but not great pay…. Different company, different boss, different job market.

  4. Another suggestion would be to tell this to the recruiter that’s working on helping you find a job on the front end. If you really want to stay with your current employer, an ethical recruiter would be able to give you advice and whether it would be worth your while to even go on interviews. I don’t mind if someone I’m working with has strong feelings about their employer, they just aren’t compensated enough. Athletes have agents to work the compensation side of things for them, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did so you could avoid this whole song and dance?

  5. This is very bad advice and morally unethical. No professional in any line of work should advise one to be deceptive and clearly not when you are betting a years salary on it. Counter Offers a part of the game and talking about it as a Recruiter to an Applicant during the interview and intake would alleviate any real issues.

  6. I had a candidate (Area Sales Rep) who was out visiting clients the day after meeting me, with his manager along for the ride. Whilst driving along, the manager (in the passenger seat) opens my candidate’s diary to check the next appointment, and my business card falls out. Without saying a word, he picks it up, and tucks back between the pages of the diary. Nothing more is said about it.

    A few days later, my candidate is summoned to head office, and he thinks he might be getting fired. Imagine his surprise, when he was promoted and given a raise without even asking for it.

    I still placed him soon after though, as was determined to leave.

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