by Stacy Pursell, The VET Recruiter®
There are all sorts of crazy things that happen in a candidates’ job market like this one. I can attest to this, of course, from personal experience. Unfortunately, job market conditions such as these cause job seekers and candidates to think and do things that they should not think and do.
And once again, I am here to address some of these things.
Allow me to first set the stage for this discussion. Let’s say that there’s a professional in the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession. This person conducts a job search while they are employed (something that I do recommend). They interview at another employer. As a result of that interview, the candidate receives an offer of employment from the organization.
So what does the person do?
They promptly tell their current boss that they have an offer from another employer.
The BBD (bigger, better deal)
There are all sorts of problems associated with the scenario that I just described. First, though, let’s examine the probable mindset of this candidate.
This person knows that it’s a candidates’ job market. They know that people with specialized skills are scarce, especially in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession. So in this situation, they have not decided that they’re going to leave their current employer. They have not decided if they’re going to accept this offer from another employer, either.
Instead, they’ve decided to try to use this new offer to get more money out of their current employer. After all, they didn’t give their two-week notice to their boss. They simply told their boss that they received an offer from another organization. So what’s the motivation for doing that?
The candidate is hoping that their boss will think something along the lines of this: “Hey, I can’t afford to lose [candidate’s name] right now! Maybe I can convince them to stay if I give them a raise. I should make a counter-offer so that we can keep [candidate’s name]!”
That’s what the candidate is hoping their boss thinks. That way, if their boss makes them a counter-offer, perhaps they’ll stay. However, if the boss doesn’t make a counter-offer, then they’ll leave. Either way, the candidate is going to opt for the BBD (bigger, better deal).
A limit to the leverage
I am a big proponent of leverage. As I’ve stated before on many occasions, the more leverage you have, the better positioned you are to make good decisions about your career. However, the manner in which you obtain leverage is just as important as the leverage itself. In fact, in some situations, it’s even more important.
When you engage in this type of behavior, you’re not actually conducting a job search. Instead, you’re looking for a way to use another organization to make your current employment situation better. Or at least, make it appear to be better. The reason I say that is because I’ve spoken countless times on the dangers of accepting a counter-offer from your current employer. The list of reasons not to do so is nearly as long as my arm.
That’s just the first problem with this practice. Think about it for a moment. In this scenario, the candidate is not trying to avoid a counter-offer. They’re trying to create a counter-offer situation in the first place! Of all the things that can ultimately go wrong with a counter-offer, this candidate is willingly and perhaps even eagerly going down that path. Needless to say, it is not a path that I recommend.
Then there is the problem of personal branding and “burning bridges.” This attempt by the candidate to gain leverage is a risk in more ways than one. First and foremost, the candidate runs the risk of either their current employer or their potential future employer figuring out what they’re doing. (Or both.) In fact, it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that the candidate’s boss is going to figure out what’s happening. And even if they look past that and make a counter-offer to the candidate, it’s still a bad idea to accept a counter-offer. In this situation, even when you think you’re winning, you’re actually losing.
How many different ways could this candidate lose? Let us count the ways:
- The candidate could receive a counter-offer, accept it, and then lose their job shortly thereafter. (This happens far more often than you might think.)
- The candidate could receive a counter-offer, accept it, and then does not receive their next raise. (Because they received it early in the form of the counter-offer.)
- The candidate could receive a counter-offer and accept it, but the hiring manager of the other employer is never going to seriously consider them for a position again.
- The candidate’s boss could take too long to make a counter-offer, and by the time the candidate goes back to the other employer, its offer is “off the table.” Now the candidate is forced to stay at their current employer, and their boss might believe that they’re disloyal.
- Another thing that could happen and I’ve seen it happen is this: The candidate takes a counter offer and then the other company buys their current company and lays them off because they are annoyed that they took a counter offer.
Any number of things can go wrong. There’s a limit to the leverage in a situation such as this one. What you think is leverage can actually disintegrate right before your eyes.
Following the rules of engagement
So what’s the right thing to do? Thankfully, the rules of engagement are rather simple. Don’t tell your boss that you have an offer from another organization unless you’re ready to resign. In fact, you should tell your boss at the same time you submit your resignation. Telling your boss that you have an offer is not a resignation. It’s a risky attempt to gain leverage in a situation that has a high probability of going absolutely nowhere.
Finally, do NOT use an offer of employment from another organization to try to get a better deal from your current employer.
I understand the temptation of current market conditions for job seekers and candidates. You’re attempting to leverage these conditions for everything they’re worth. However, as I mentioned, there’s a limit to the leverage. Those Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals who recognize this fact and follow the rules of engagement are more likely to grow their careers more quickly and enjoy the full benefits that the current marketplace has to offer.
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