The Basics Of Leveraging An External Job Offer

If you work long enough, you’ll find yourself in this situation….You’re in a job that you like (or at least don’t hate) so you’re not looking to leave, but you would like to be promoted / get paid more. I touched upon the basics of getting a promotion in this article, but as Anakin Skywalker once said sometimes a situation calls for aggressive negotiations aka negotiations with a lightsaber.

Some things to consider before you head down this path.

Treat this like a chess match and know what you’ll do 5 moves ahead. What I mean is that you’re going to make the first move by bringing this external offer to your company. In the most simple terms your company can either counter this (aka promote you / offer you more money) or not…regardless of what they choose, you should know how you’ll react to both of their moves.

Think of this tactic as a shot across the bow of your company. It’s an aggressive way to put your cards on the table and force them to show you their hand. Best case scenario, you’re a highly valued employee and your company would rather counter the external offer to keep you. Worst case, it’s time for you to go weapons hot (figuratively of course, calm down gun folks) or waive the white flag.

So they said “no”, obviously this sucks, but now you know where you stand with your company. If they could keep you they would have, but you’re just not valuable enough to them to offer you more. This is where it’s important to keep in mind the quality of the job you’re trying to leverage your company with. Is it something you actually want? As Omar from The Wire once said, “if you come at the king, you best not miss”, remember that here because this tactic is an one time thing. Think about it, if you try to leverage one offer against your company and they say no, why would the second time be any different?

Option 1: You take the external offer and peace the phuck out

Option 2: You stay at your current company and don’t take the external offer. Your company now knows that you were bluffing and they essentially have you by the balls. They know it and you know it. If bringing them the external offer was DEFCON 2, then you’re now at DEFCON 1. aka you are officially looking for new jobs that you will not be giving your current company the option to counter. *

Here’s a basic Game Theory Decision Tree to help you visualize the entire process


*There is a 3rd option that I’m hesitant to even mention, which is to stay at your current job and just live with the fact that they value you just enough to not fire you. We’ll call this the Sansa Stark (season 2-3) option. Don’t pick this one.


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