What Do You Do When Your New Hire Gets A Counter Offer?

brett fox
5 min readMar 21

“How do you think Maxim (Integrated Products) will react when you resign?” I asked Jeroen. We had just signed a $12 million term sheet for our initial funding, and Jeroen and I had agreed that now was the time for him to resign and become our full time Vice President of Engineering.

Picture: Depositphotos

“I don’t know,” Jeroen said.

“I’ll tell you exactly how they’re going to react because I worked there (for over ten years),” I said. “They’re going to do everything in their power to keep you.”

Jeroen’s joining our company was critical to any success we expected to have. In fact, let me go one step further. There would be no funding if Jeroen backed out at the last second because our investors would, rightfully, back out. It’s difficult to have a technology startup without a VP Engineer or CTO to lead your technology team.

It’s on you, the hiring CEO, to make sure anyone you recruit doesn’t back out.

Jeroen resigned the next day. And, not surprisingly, Maxim’s management put a full court press on to keep Jeroen. I checked in with Jeroen every day for the length of his two week notice.

I asked Jeroen how things were going at Maxim, and Jeroen told me everything they did. It was quite impressive because they didn’t want to lose him. And none of it surprised me:

A. They offered to promote Jeroen if he stayed.

Gee, what a surprise. Why not appeal to his ego. It’s a classic maneuver that actually works a lot of the time. In fact, when I left Maxim, Maxim’s CEO, Jack Gifford, offered to promote me if I stayed.

It works because there’s the safety of staying combined with the prospect of increased responsibility. And, many times you, the hiring company, are being used a stalking horse so the person you’re hiring can get a better deal by staying put.

You know what, it’s tough to turn down a promotion. It’s up to you to make the promotion irrelevant by giving your new hire something they can’t get anywhere else.

That’s exactly what we did with Jeroen. I made Jeroen a co-founder. Jeroen now would be a key member of the team…

brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at https://www.brettjfox.com