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Using an offer to pressure an employer to provide a better pay or title is an old tactic. Many may even seek offers solely for this purpose, with no intention of actually taking that job. While this may be a successful way to get what they want, it can cause a lot of damage for their potential prospects with the employer.
What people often overlook is what this tactic tells their employer: They are not happy, they are looking for other jobs and for particular job duties or remuneration. All of this doesn't really help in the long run, although it may bring immediate benefits.
That is why it is important not to overuse this tactic, except for when an opportunity does really present itself, and you are actually willing to make the move unless the current employer successfully counters the offer.
With this in mind, keep a few points in mind.
It is not unlikely that a person gets headhunted and receives an attractive job offer. But if you seem to be receiving offers more frequently, the employer will see that it is a tactic you are using to pressure for more and more. The likely result is probably that the employer will stop responding and let you go. If this happens with a job you are not really interested in, you will have no choice.
So watch out for the frequency of your requests. Even if the offers are real, you may sometimes have to pass them on without saying anything to your company simply because you don't want them to know you're actively job hunting. The pay increase or higher title are not worth presenting yourself as a manipulator who is hard to satisfy.
If you are perceived to be still actively looking for a job even after receiving a raise or better title, the employer is likely to get an impression you are not going to stay anyway for the long haul. This impression in itself can jeopardise your job.
In case of layoffs, you will be the first to go. In case of training and investment in current staff likely to remain an asset for the company, you probably will be the last to benefit. So keep this long-term view in mind. Your pressure may get some instant improvement, but it could hurt the long-term standing with the company.
In addition, your employer may be concerned about your loyalty if the offers are coming from competitors. A protective employer may prefer to let you go than run the risk of you taking confidential or sensitive information to a rival. That is why it is not always good to think an offer will bring a counter offer. In many cases, it will be welcomed by the employer who is fed up with pressure and willing to part ways and cut losses.
Other than being driven by money and title, the offers tell your employer a lot about your ambitions. If you're getting random offers inconsistent with your professional goals, you are sending mixed messages. For example, if getting a job that is not a natural upward transition from the current position, an employer may get an impression you are not looking for a promotion.
If it is for a job with an employer who isn't closely related to your field or industry, the current employer may take it as a lack of commitment to your current path. These signals may impact how a decision is made when there are opportunities for advancement with the current employer.
Does that mean you should not use an offer to improve your situation? No, if you're sincerely considering taking that offer, then it makes sense to give your employer an opportunity to counter it. If not, you should pass.
In all cases, if you definitely are going to take the new job regardless of whatever offer your current employer may make, state this clearly. It is bad form to seek a counter offer when you know that you will certainly turn it down.
Counter it right
Don't over use job offers for better situations.
Be clear about what you want.
Don't send wrong signals about what you want.
Seek a counter offer only if you may accept it.
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf New Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor