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I am working for Indian outsourcing organization for 5 years. I got frustrated with the recent situations faced with the management and also not happy with the assignments that I got. Hence, I decided to leave the organization and searched for other opportunities. I got a better opportunity and the new employer is very keen to appoint me. I have initiated resignation process. I have discussed with my current manager about reasons for resignation and got the tentative release dates. Meanwhile I have accepted and confirmed my joining dates to the new employer. However my current organisation come up with counter offer which is better than the offer offered by new employer and the current assignments also inline with my expectations. Now how can I politely and professionally reject the offer from the new employer without any hard feelings and without burning bridges?

Research that I have done
I have found that the post How to decline a job offer in writing and followed that. My situation is not very simple as described in the above post.

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    In the US, counteroffers usually do not give satisfactory results; often, people accept the counteroffer and within a year find that they shouldn't have because their situation hasn't improved despite what was promised to them when they accepted (IOW, what they've been given in the counteroffer doesn't address the core issues that caused them to look for a new job in the first place). You already made up your mind that you wanted to leave your current employer and find the new employer desirable - you will probably be happier in the long term if you follow through on that. – alroc Apr 19 '13 at 18:36
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    In addition to the point that @alroc makes in his comment, now the company knows you are unhappy. If you accept the counter offer, you've just given them 6 months to find your replacement without inconveniencing them at which time they can simply terminate your employment at their discretion. – Joel Etherton Dec 21 '14 at 13:59
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Now how can I politely and professionally reject the offer from new employer without any hard feelings and without burning bridges?

You probably can't.

Some might ask "Why not?" The reason is (at least in my over 36 years of experience), rejecting an offer you already accepted will almost certainly lead to hard feelings and probably blacklisting from the company you are rejecting.

Your best bet is to discuss what happened with the new employer. Be honest and open about how you felt when you accepted their offer, why you wanted to leave your current employer, and what happened to change your mind and then reject their offer.

The new employer may understand and not have any hard feelings, or they may still end up with hard feelings. Either way, when you say "politely and professionally" I think you are on the right track. You want them, your current employer, and others to remember you as a polite, professional person, even if they aren't happy with your new situation.

Meanwhile, what did your current employer counter-offer with that caused you to change your mind like this? I have found that people generally have several good reasons when they conclude that they should leave a company. Usually a counter-offer is "more money" and covers only one of the real reasons. In my experience, such folks leave soon anyway. I'd be curious to hear more about the specifics of your situation.

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    I'm afraid your answer, in its "your best bet" part, does not take in account the ways of collaboration with Indian companies (which is the case here), contrary to a Western culture. In particular, one should avoid delivering "bad news" directly. Saying why you are not accepting the offer will only produce anger, in most cases. In other words, terms "politeness" and "reputation" have totally different meaning in Indian culture. I have answered a relevant question at P.SE, but there are much more things to consider. – bytebuster Apr 20 '13 at 4:28
  • I think you need to explain why you cant. You say that you cant but why not? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 24 '13 at 18:06
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First: I'm a bit confused between the title and the actual question. Title says "How to decline a counteroffer" and that's what I'm answering.

I assume that at this stage you have a valid written contract with the new company. In that case "I have accepted an offer by another company, and it would be very unprofessional to refuse to join them now. " should be fine.

It should be obvious to your old company that they would be very annoyed if they had just made an offer to a new employee, that offer had been accepted in writing, and then the new employee refused to join. So you are just doing exactly the same thing that they would expect any new employee of their company to do. (If it is not obvious to them, then there is nothing you can do). Importantly, you are not saying anything negative about your old company, you are just saying that unfortunately things have progressed too far so you couldn't professionally accept any counter-offer, even if you really wanted to.

(Independent of that, accepting a counter offer is rarely a good idea, as others explained. Even if the counter offer looks better than what the new company offers).

  • The title may have been updated since this post. – user8365 Dec 23 '14 at 11:57
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Even though you have accepted a counter-offer from your current employer, you should think of it as a third option. Just tell the other company that during the acceptance process, you were offered a new opportunity which you weren't even looking for and have chosen to go in that direction. Certainly, they can understand someone wanting a better situation. Telling them you accepted a counter-offer from your current employer may make them think you used them just to get a raise or as a way to get them to counter-offer.

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I think instead of looking at how to get out of the contract with your new employer, you should think very hard about accepting the counter offer.

Your position in the old company will be weakened. They will forever know that you are the guy who wanted to leave, and whatever you got through your counter offer, you didn't get because you deserved it, but because you threatened to leave. When your colleagues find out what happened, they will be unhappy, which will cause trouble in the company. Basically, you will be a marked man, and once they are able to let you go, they will.

So the old company will keep you because it is currently inconvenient to lose you. The new company will hire you because they want you. That's a much better situation to be in.

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