I work in Company A and I'm kind of the star there (I feel it is mainly due to political reasons). Recently, I received an offer from Company B and I decided to accept it. HR department in my current company pushed me to review my decision and propose conditions under which I would like to stay at company.

I feel that offer from Company B is much better for my career (project is more interesting, company is also a better suit for me), but I don't want to burn bridges. How can I respond?

  • Do you want to reject the counter-offer, or get them to offer enough of something such that you would actually stay? Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 19:30
  • I want to reject the counter-offer; I had similar situation few months ago (then I accepted it) and now I decided it's time to move
    – user34102
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 19:32
  • Do what feels right to you.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 15:32

5 Answers 5


First of all, you don't have to tell Company A anything except the last date you'll be working for them.

However, you could say something to the effect of

I see this as a personal growth opportunity and a chance to experience different corporate cultures and different ways of doing things. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Company A (don't say this if it isn't true!), and may consider working here again some time.

The idea is to spin this as "some years from now I'll be more valuable to you if I have this experience than if I stay here" - kind of like taking a really long sabbatical. Just don't be specific

  • 5
    While I agree with the part in quotes, in fact I think it's great. I'd avoid the word "sabbatical". The idea is to not burn bridges but also don't string them along.
    – user49733
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 18:26
  • @JeffQuick I agree. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 19:44

I decided to accept it.

If you've already made your decision and accepted the other offer, it's OK to say that.

I have already accepted the offer from Company B and thus cannot consider any counter offer. My last day will be XX/XX/XXXX.

The expectation is that once a job offer is accepted (in writing), that that's it. You wouldn't accept an offer and keep interviewing or keep negotiating the terms so it shouldn't offend your current employer that you aren't going back on your word to Company B. It isn't burning a bridge to be honest here.

  • Yeah, I also think that "The expectation is that once a job offer is accepted (in writing), that that's it" but during my last talk with HR department I was told there is nothing that cannot be reversed in this context and gave some example of my colleague in similar situation.
    – user34102
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 19:34
  • 1
    @pstrag, of course HR at your current company feels that way. How would they feel different, however, if they were hiring someone who had accepted an offer, then came back a week later and said "my current company has given me a counter offer that I have accepted, sorry." They would be upset ("but you already accepted our offer"). So, while they are telling you "there is nothing that cannot be reversed" they will understand.
    – mikeazo
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 15:23
  • You shouldn't care one bit about which company is upset or not, you should always do what feels right concerning your career, workplace and salary.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 15:35
  • 1
    @Jonast92 yup, but on the other hand if Company B will withdraw their offer or fire me during probation period it's good to have a place you can go back
    – user34102
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 16:06

If you're leaving your current employer, there's obviously some reason. In any situation, your best bet is going to be to outline those reasons and state that those are what are motivating you towards accepting the new position. The key here is you need to be specific, rather than giving vague reasons like 'the new opportunity will be better for my career'. If you can give them a concise set of points, and the company knows they can't offer you the same thing, a good company will wish you luck and let you know to keep them in mind if the new position turns out to not be everything you thought it was. If you give them a vague statement about career opportunity, the company will come back with a title change and/or salary increase and continue to pressure you about staying.

If the reason you're leaving is for more interesting projects and career advancement, you have to tell them that. Tell them where you envision yourself in 5 years, and highlight how the new position will help you get there. If they come back with a salary increase as their counter-offer, you can tell them that you appreciate their salary offer, but it doesn't address why you're interested in the new opportunity.

If the reason you're leaving is for salary, make sure to point out not only the better salary but also how you got to the point of not getting paid as much as you'd like to. I have plenty of friends who have received job offers for extra money, and received 'competitive' counter-offers from their employer. After accepting however, when raises and bonuses come around they get told 'well we already gave you such a generous pay increase to stay with us, so we aren't giving you a raise this year' or 'your bonus is lower this year because after your raise it's not in our budget to give you a large bonus this year'. So if the company comes back with a big pay increase to try to get you to stay, you have to point out to them that you're leaving because you're unhappy with the promotion/raise/bonus structure at the company, not your current salary rate.

Basically, whatever you tell them, make sure its honest. If you don't like your projects and company politics, and you tell them that you love the company but you're leaving for a higher salary, don't be surprised if the company comes back with more money. Then, when you turn down the counter offer, they'll have sentiments along the lines of "Well what the heck man?? Do you know how many hoops we had to jump through to get you this offer? We thought you really wanted to stay with us. You told us you would stay if we matched your offer and now you're not going to?". If you're genuine and honest with your employer about why you're leaving, a good employer will understand.


The best thing here is to put it back on the company.

I am not comfortable trying to define what sort of offer I would be comfortable requesting. I would entertain an offer by the company if it feels that I am under-compensated currently, or should be advanced to higher position, and consider it appropriately.

This gets the onus of action off of you, and places it it back on the company. If they make you an offer great, you can consider it. But as you said you are looking at more than just compensation. At the same time there might be a number possible that the company could offer you that might make you reconsider. Either way it should solve your problem of not wanting to burn bridges.

  • 1
    the question is "how to reject" Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 19:31
  • @WorkerDrone No the question is how do you reject politely and that is what this answer explains. Put it back on them in such a way that if they were to counter they are effectively admitting they underpaid and exploted you in the first place. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 20:24

You just have to spin up a bunch of nonsense that you probably don't mean. Something like, "While I am grateful for the opportunities that were presented to me during my time here - I feel that at this juncture its best for all parties if I move on" Then say something about how you will do all you can to transfer knowledge and help in the transition prior to your departure

Then in your exit interview you say a bunch of nice things and leave.

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