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I've been wondering about an experience I had when interviewing for a new job. Before the final technical interview (a.k.a. no certainty of an offer yet) the recruiter brought up salary expectations and asked if I anticipated getting a counteroffer from my current company. It seemed odd considering that earlier, the recruiter had mentioned any offer would be significantly higher than my current salary. But I assumed it was just a standard question for all of their applicants.

Based on the answers to basically any question here about counteroffers, even if my company did counter, I shouldn't accept -- I assume a recruiter would know this too, so why would they be interested in this? Would my answer have affected their offer, or how seriously they might take my interest?

(This was an in-house recruiter for the company that I was interviewing with, not a third-party headhunter.)

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    They may just be probing to determine if you are doing this to get a counter offer. Just tell them you don't know and don't care. – paparazzo Nov 22 '16 at 16:04
  • Categorically turning down a counter-offer by your current employer is not good advice. Consider the situation and your boss's take on it. I accepted one and it couldn't have worked out any better. Never say never. – user8365 Nov 23 '16 at 16:37
  • @Paparazzi It's rare that I'd recommend converting a comment to an answer as is but that's pretty much all that needs to be said. You just typed it in the wrong box. :) – Lilienthal Nov 23 '16 at 19:09
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They are trying to gauge the likelihood of losing you to a counteroffer. While the general advice is to reject a counteroffer, some people do accept them. Some even go fishing for an offer to get a counteroffer from their company.

Does the question get accurate information? No idea. Some will tell the truth, some will lie, some will have no idea what they will do.

How they react to your answer is unclear.

Of course if you told them you wouldn't accept a counteroffer, but you do accept one - expect a guilt trip to get you to join them.

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Not everyone reads this site. Likely, the recruiter was ready to go into a dissertation on why you should not accept one if you answered "yes".

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I think time is important to him/her therefore he/she asked the question to cut to the chase. However this is at your expense. I would recommend responding with:

"I have not informed my current employer of my intention to leave, however at this moment I am focusing on my priorities and a good matching company where I belong"

I believe accepting a counter offer is fine and usually your work experience and responsibility could alter from that same conversation but don't bring that up to the recruiter. He/she can expect that you're looking at multiple places and you can simply state that you had accepted another offer.

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I can't say why this recruiter asked, but I can say why I might ask.

I would be asking as a proxy for:

Is your company happy with your current results and do they value you highly?

If I ask that question, you're going to answer yes regardless of whether it's true. Instead, I can ask questions that help me answer that question about you. Do you anticipate a counteroffer? is one such question.

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  • Hm, this is a very different take from the others so far! OldCo certainly valued me but the salary was low and the work not as interesting as NewCo. So I answered "no", thinking "If NewCo really offers that much more, 1) no way will OldCo match it and 2) NewCo is so much better that I'm not going to give them a chance to counter anyways". Would it be appropriate to tell a recruiter that? I don't want to overshare but I also wouldn't want them to get the wrong impression. – user812786 Nov 22 '16 at 17:03
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    I would probably say something like I'm not sure if they'll counter. I know they'll want to retain me, but they may not have the budget or may recognize that employees who accept counteroffers seldom stick around much longer. – Chris G Nov 22 '16 at 17:07

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