Recently my executive search firm has seen far too many Indonesian C-Level deliberately – and I mean strategically – play a “counter-offer game”. These senior professionals have worked their way through an executive recruitment process, secured a new employment offer, simply to bait their current employer to pay them more. It was their intention from the get-go.
I have worked as a C-Level Indonesia Headhunter for over 14 years. I feel I know the local recruitment market and its culture well. This is sadly a new trend.
This Candidate Behavior is Not C-Level. It is basically scamming.
Because for everyone else that is involved in a lengthy C-Level recruitment process – it is an incredible waste of valuable time and resources. It is hugely disrespectful. Such behavior smears the person’s reputation – as they have deliberately scammed. Of course all those senior executives who have had their time wasted will no doubt talk.
Based on my experience as a senior recruiter, a true C-Level never strategically plays a Counter-Offer game. However, recently a number of younger C-Level have tactfully run with a counter-offer game – a dirty, low class play.
This behavior has of course lost my clients, myself and my headhunter consultants money, as wasted time is wasted investment. But my article is not about that, it’s about why these top level professionals are choosing to belittle their career, to make themselves look highly unprofessional.
Personally, I believe that they think they are being very smart. They feel very important, irreplaceable as leaders. Strange then that they are also scared to directly ask their current firm to pay them what they believe they are worth.
In my mind, this is akin to weak narcissism. Not a good combination.
If a person accepts a counter-offer, why did they apply for a new & exciting role in the 1st place? Why commit all that time to a recruitment process. If it is all – and only – about money, why didn’t they approach their current boss and say “I believe I am worth more”. Push their current firm to accept their self-perceived value?
Or maybe a person applied for a new job to understand the market better, got the job, got nervous. They realized that they are “not ready” to leap into the unknown. Why then use that new financial offer, which was presented in good faith by a motivated potential employer, to demand more money at their current firm? Clearly, the current firm doesn’t value the person as highly. The right thing to do is tell the company, tell the headhunter, pull out of the recruitment process before money is discussed and negotiated.
Getting a new job offer simply to push for a Counter-Offer – is a weak person’s way to ask to be appreciated.
It is certainly NOT C-Level Behavior.
Lastly, accepting a counter offer is also weak mentally. After all, it is much easier to just “stick” with what you are used to, maintain the current routine. It is much harder to leap into the unknown, to commit to a new & exciting role that you have proactively pursued.
A true C-Level doesn’t accept a counter offer, as he/she wouldn’t apply for a new role unless he/she was ready & wanted to take on a new experience. Wanted to benefit from that personal growth.
In summary, accepting a counter-offer is simply bad practice. It stagnates your career, your current employer will distrust you as they feel manipulated. They will dislike you and generally want to replace you — when the timing is right for them (not you).
The moment that you try to resign, you have said “I want to leave this firm”. The full trust is gone.
Deliberately using a potential employers financial offer to play a Counter-Offer game is highly unprofessional. It is low class and unethical. It is Not being C-Level, it is akin to scamming. Fact, not fiction.
While you are here, please have a look at This Article which gives a run down on the key differences between a Headhunter Firm and a Recruitment Agency. It is important to use the right type of “Recruiter” depending on the nature of the hire!
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