Two weeks ago I joined a new company and during the hiring process I used a competing offer to increase the proposed salary.

Now that competing offer from the other company has increased to almost 2x the offer that they initially proposed. And now I want to join them for financial reasons and leave my current job during the probation period. Note that my probation period is 3 months.

How would I approach the resignation and what reason should I give, noting that my current job can easily find out that I left for the original competing company? I don't know if this will be considered unethical? This is only my second time joining a new company.

Edit: I've read all comments thank you everyone for your feedback was very helpful. I want to clarify some things about my situation. After I accepted my current job, I informed the competing offer that I am no longer interested in their offer since I've accepted another more suitable one. What happened is after about 2 weeks they sent me the competing offer with better pay and benefits without me negotiating, which made it more enticing for me and my situation, hence why I decided on the resignation.

I am not in the US, the rules here are during the probation period the employer could let you go at anytime without giving any reasons and without any compensations. However, if the employee wishes to leave then they must submit an official resignation with one month notice period with pay.

What I did is that I submitted my resignation with the month notice and showed my gratitude for the opportunity. I don't want to burn any bridges or try to negotiate the offer further. Right now they accepted the resignation, however the HR are calling me unethical which is making me feel uneasy.

The competing offer does not know that I already signed a contract and that I already started working there. The competing offer's salary is about 85% more than my current job salary, with better health insurance coverage. The competing company does not know the details of my current job, salary, benefits, etc..

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    Question: If your current company matches the amount again - what will be your decision? Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 6:30
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    Possible duplicate of How can one resign from a new job gracefully? Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 12:37
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    So they originally offered you half of what they believe you are actually worth, then increased it only when you declined? And you still want to work there? Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 14:56
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    @Davor They obviously don't value their employees when offering them half of what they themselves believe they are worth. I never said OP shouldn't take the job, however, this is a red flag, and it should make OP look for other red flags which may make it not worth taking the job. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 20:51
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    @Davor Seems like a lot of people disagree with you. We can agree to disagree. I guess it doesn't necessarily mean they don't value their employees, but it is a red flag which was my point anyways. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 12:38

5 Answers 5


You have two main concerns, it seems:

  1. Not burning any bridges.
  2. Not violating any ethical constraints.

So here ya go:

First off, don't violate any legal or contractual obligations. You didn't give a location, so we can't say if those exist for you. If you're in the United States and didn't sign a contract guaranteeing you'd work for X weeks, then you're probably in the clear.

Secondly, to not burn any bridges, you have two choices:

  1. Don't leave your current job.
  2. Minimize how disruptive you are leaving your current job.

If you decide to leave, then just be straight with your boss. "Hey, I'm getting paid twice as much to go to a competitor. Thanks for the opportunity, sorry it didn't work out. But... other than two weeks notice, what do you need from me to make this transition easy?" is all you really need. That's generous, even, and you can really weight what they want for the 'what else' portion. If it's absurd, don't do it, let them take advantage of someone else. If they hold quitting for more money against you, especially when you make an effort to do right by them... that's life, sometimes you gotta piss people off to keep yourself happy.

Thirdly, ethics:

All you need to know is this: If the company thought they could slash your position with no consequences, and save your entire salary... they would in a heartbeat. You owe nothing to your employer, and they will never extend any courtesy to you beyond what they think is necessary to keep you as a profitable worker. Don't worry about ethics, just look out for yourself, which includes not burning your reputation in the industry.

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    Small semantic issue: I'd not say don't worry about ethics, but that ethics is already on your side. Your loyalty to the company is exactly handled by your contract. You act ethically by keeping your work attitude on the same level as before during your notice period and make sure you hand over your responsibilities properly. That's it. Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 10:46

Depending on your location, the probation period may work both ways, in which case it would be well within your rights to make use of it and leave your current employment for greener pastures (and twice the salary is indeed greener). You'll always have the option to resign according to the terms of your contract or local laws.

Employers often like to use the "not a cultural fit" excuse to fire someone in their probation period when they don't feel like giving an actual reason (and in order to protect themselves legally). But again, this can be used by both parties:

In your resignation tell your employer that you thank them for the opportunity, but that you don't fit into their culture.

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    The statement about probation isn’t universal. In at-will employment localities, each company establishes its own policies for probation. Unions will also influence policies for probation.
    – Jay
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 12:55
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    @Jay At the same time, netiher at-will laws nor unions are likely to make it harder for the employee to quit during probation, right? Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 18:57
  • Agreed with Joe. This will also help future applicant get better offers, and increase the salaries over your industry overall
    – njzk2
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 3:07
  • @njzk2 (and Joe Strazzere) - My suggestion to the OP is to use the same excuse that employers like to use, when they don't want to reveal the real reason behind their decision. If you disagree with this, feel free to post your own suggestion as an actual answer. :-)
    – Niko1978
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 5:14
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    1) For this answer to work you need the type of character that is OK with lying 2) The real reason is money; if that becomes attractive again in the future, you are still out because of culture.
    – R. Schmitz
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 9:34

For reasons, you can say something like

Pursuing other career prospects outside of the company which is closer to my needs.

You should not have to explain anything more.

Would it be considered unethical?

The fact that you are leaving during probation or you are quitting to go to a competitor may not be considered as unethical. However, you using offer letter from one to negotiate with another and back and forth, may be considered as unprofessional by some.

You can proceed with your choice now but I would recommend do not make it habit for every company you have offer from in future.

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    Out of curiosity, have you ever known anybody to be offended at the idea of pitting offers against each other? That's the norm in pretty much every other substantial transaction I can envision (car, home buying -- even garage sales). If a company tells you it's unethical, it's them wanting to trick you into not negotiating, IMO.
    – bvoyelr
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 15:25
  • @bvoyelr Deep down you may be right that it is all about exchanging services/product for money but at a superficial level I just like to pretend that I am not a vacuum cleaner being sold in garage sale. So whether company thinks it is unethical or not, I would not be comfortable about pitting offers against each other for employment. Also even in the scenarios you mentioned, there is a chance by trying to make two parties compete, you may lose offer from both !!
    – PagMax
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 15:33
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    @PagMax You need to turn that picture in your head. It's not you who is sold, it's the job that's on offer! Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 10:47

And now I want to join them for financial reasons and leave my current job during the probation period.

Seems you have your reasons and already made up your mind. I'd not going to say it's unethical, but somewhat unprofessional. You used the completing offer to negotiate a higher salary (to your satisfaction, I believe), and in two week's time, now you have a higher remuneration offer, you don't want to continue - that somehow indicates you were not satisfied to start with and that's not a very good sign.

You can say whatever you want, but it's likely you're going to burn some bridges, more so because you mentioned

noting that my current job can easily find out that I left for the original competing company.

However, at the end of the day, a disgruntled employee is worse that no employee, so if the financial matter is highest ranking concern, you do switch. You are not compelled to put the exact details. you can provide a generic statement in the exit interview / reason for resigning as

Thanks for the opportunity, but I found another opportunity outside the organization which is better suited at this moment for me, so I chose to pursue that career path.

Suggestion for future : Next time onward, before accepting an offer, be sure to check for all possible opportunities, evaluate them and then make the final decision, at least for the remuneration part. At times, there are certain other things (work assignment, workplace culture, poor management etc.) which can lead you to make a decision to leave, but that's a different ballgame. Negotiating higher salary immediately after a negotiation and accepting the revised offer - is not going to be accepted very well.

  • What is the problem with this answer? Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 14:07
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    Didn't DV, but I think calling it unprofessional is a bit OTT. Particularly since the company seems to have opened the bid at 30% of the going rate. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 16:40
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    Not downvoting, but there's been an assumption made for which there's no evidence for. The assumption being that the OP continued negotiations with the competing employer after accepting their current position. While many of us don't get headhunted, this is exactly what headhunting looks like (and you can't stop someone making you a competing offer, you can only accept or refuse).
    – Aaron
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 3:56

How would I approach the resignation and what reason should I give, noting that my current job can easily find out that I left for the original competing company? I don't know if this will be considered unethical? This is only my second time joining a new company.

There is no such thing as 'professional ethics' when it comes to choices concerning your own life. Only your personal interests, and the interests of your company. The company will always act to preserve its interests, not yours. You should get used to behave in the same way.
In my language, we have a saying: "If you don't have plans for your life, someone else will".

You signed a contract with them, all you have to respect is what is written on the contract, nothing more, nothing less.

So, if the competitor proposes more (and you want to go there), and you're there for only two weeks (and thus probably able to leave the company easily), just tell your company that the competitor pays more, so you go there, unless the current company can propose an equivalent contract.
Maybe HR will pretend to be surprised/shocked, don't let them fool you. Employment is a market, you are a product, and they are brokers. No nice feelings. If you don't plan your life, they will.

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