I interviewed for a more senior position than one I am in now.

They seemed to really like me and gave me ‘an offer I can’t refuse’ basically. The pay/perks are more than I asked for.

My current company said they can’t match it, they were honest and I believe them. They offered a small increase but offered work in a different area of the business which excites me. I would prefer to do that, than take a pay increase and move to a new company.

I have been honest with both companies, I didn’t inflate any salary figures to either party. I also intended on telling the prospective company that I would decline their offer not for financial reasons but because I got offered a different role which was more exciting.

But I was advised against this from a few people saying that the prospective new company may get upset that I leveraged their offer to get an even better offer regardless of whether it’s financially related or not. Get potentially black-flagged in their system from future applications ( it’s a MUCH bigger company )

They said it would be better to use something in the contract conditions that I didn’t like to get out of it.

My concern is that if I did this, they may just amend the terms, and then what excuse do I have? I also feel that if I didn’t tell them the real reason, then I might send some poor hiring manager and HR person down a pointless path of rectifying something on their end that they didn’t need to be doing anyway.


Update 04/06/22 : I got a formal counter-offer letter a few days ago with the new position. An increase in salary is effective immediately, but I will transition to the new role over 3 months

  • 2
    While i agree with the answer here, I don't think anyone except the other company can tell you if they will black flag your or not, It would be stupid of them to do so because it would eliminate a potential future candidate that they thought was good enough to hire, but you don't know how their hiring practices work. May 26, 2022 at 16:35
  • "They seemed to really like me and gave me ‘an offer I can’t refuse’ basically." And then you refused them. May 27, 2022 at 3:07
  • @GregoryCurrie haha, they didn’t actually say that. It was just to emphasise on my part
    – Usernamed
    May 27, 2022 at 7:23
  • 1
    They can't match one salary ? Just move on dude. You are making a huge mistake.
    – IvanP
    May 28, 2022 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


Simple, no need to provide any specific reason. Thank them for the offer, and politely decline saying you have another better offer. You are under no obligation to define the "better".

  • 19
    And if they press, you can just say it was the entire package rather than one specific thing.
    – user83977
    May 26, 2022 at 15:37
  • 7
    Agreed. There's no need for dishonesty and no need to give specifics. You're not obligated to justify your decision.
    – joeqwerty
    May 26, 2022 at 15:55
  • Thanks guys, spent days trying to figure out what to say. Guess I missed the obvious!
    – Usernamed
    May 26, 2022 at 22:53
  • 9
    It's works exactly the same when a company rejects a candidate. Usually no specific reason is given.
    – user84207
    May 27, 2022 at 2:47

People turn down offers every day; it's not something that will get you blacklisted. "Sorry, I'm withdrawing my application for this role", is all you need to say.

The main risk to you at your current company is that you are now a flight risk. They know that you can get a better job somewhere else, so (if they're not asleep at the wheel), they'll be making sure that when you leave in the next 12 months, they already have someone ready to step into your position.

  • 21
    @Usernamed, You're putting an awful lot of trust into your current employer. On this forum, we get many people who were promised a new position as part of a counteroffer (only to have that position evaporate by the time it came down to making the transition). May 27, 2022 at 9:26
  • 7
    @StephanBranczyk makes a valid point. OP should ideally at least have the counteroffer "contractually solid" before declining the original offer. Given that there usually is not much time between an offer and its deadline to accept/decline, and legal departments may not be the fastest, I wonder what would constitute legally binding (contractually solid)... But that may be another question on Law SE.
    – frIT
    May 27, 2022 at 9:49
  • 5
    Everyone who is good at their job is a "flight risk" -- if they're valuable to you, someone else will also see them as valuable. OTOH, his current company also knows that he's not motivated solely by money -- he turned down a higher-paying job to stay and work on something interesting. As long as they can find interesting work for him, they're OK.
    – Barmar
    May 27, 2022 at 14:58
  • 1
    @Stephan Branczyk: "we get many people who were promised a new position, only for that position to evaporate". Do you have concrete examples? Every day I believe more and more the "conventional wisdom" that all counteroffers are to be rejected, to be no more than fearmongering from recruiters who are the ones who lose the most when a counteroffer is accepted... May 29, 2022 at 1:59
  • 2
    @PandaPajama, Here is one example: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/147817/14577 And I've seen others. With that said, I do agree that this forum is going to be biased. Since if a counteroffer is honored, those employees are not going to be posting on this forum. We mostly get the employees that have been betrayed on here. Also, I do agree that 3rd party recruiters shouldn't be trusted. And finally, if the OP trusts his employer, he should trust his own judgement. I was only making a comment. May 29, 2022 at 5:05

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