Published by John Geraghty

As I was driving my family to Ocean City on a recent trip the dreaded “are we there yet?” was asked by my 7-year-old son. I encouraged him to just sit back, enjoy the ride and the time we get to spend together as a family (not that we need any more time together during COVID). I reasoned that he should enjoy the moment, live in the present and, at the end of the day, we will never truly be “there,” that there is always something that is next. He looked at me and said “ok,” clearly not understanding what I was talking about but bored with the conversation and my existential rant.

This innocent exchange stuck with me and made me think further about how that simple question has so much meaning to the existence and viability of our businesses. We all struggle with our own COVID business challenges. The “are we there yet?” question always seems to pop up in one way or another:

Do we have enough resources for our employees?
Do we have enough money to cover our obligations?
Do we have enough work in our pipeline?

The list goes on.

This journey of running a successful and meaningful business is no small task. And, it’s not a destination. We won’t just get there one day. Rather, it’s an evolution, hopefully toward greatness, and a continual search for improvement and growth as individuals, team members, employees, and trusted business partners. This has given me newfound motivation to keep fighting and pushing for more.

Another challenge to open my eyes is remote work. As strange as it sounds, being apart from my team has made me realize how much more important our relationships – with everyone – truly are. Rather than focusing my energy and efforts on when we can get back to the office, when things will return to normal, or when we can we all go to happy hour, I was missing the fact that I still had 10 amazing individuals with whom I get to work with daily. The simple and limited interactions we have have made me miss them even more. What used to be mundane office tasks now seem like the greatest thing ever. The journey of being with others who share a common goal and passion for our business is what excites me. Sure, getting deals done is why we work, but the process and day to day interactions — water cooler talk about the Orioles, strategizing about a difficult situation, even eating lunch around a table – are what matter, make us a team and give us purpose. It is true that you can learn something new every day and by living in the moment, and fully appreciating this fact makes me a better person, colleague, business partner, and leader.

Lastly, I’ve learned that technology and accessibility is more important than ever. These new advancements of tracking our activities give us a sense of being together again and we know what everyone is doing. Zoom and MS Teams are a great way for us to stay in touch with each other. In January I remember questioning why video calls were better than regular phone calls. Now, I get it. Seeing others – facial expressions and body language – provides invaluable insight into how others are receiving our message. All of these things make me appreciate being in the moment and feeling like we are together. I used to say I couldn’t wait until this pandemic was over, dreading another Zoom call. Now, while I still do want to see people in person, hopping on a Zoom or Teams meeting still lets us feel connected. Now I try to enjoy and get the most out of these daily interactions.

We all have our moments of frustration and keeping things in perspective is not something you can do all the time. Personally, I need to slow down, stop focusing on what’s next, and live in the moment to the best of my ability. The only true answer to “are we there yet?” is that we never will be there. Rather we are here and should consider ourselves lucky to be here and to live each moment.

About John Geraghty

As a Founding Partner of Chesapeake Search Partners, John Geraghty has spent over 12 years in the Recruiting industry in Baltimore. After 5 + years of Accounting & Finance search, John, Rick Fribush, and Johnny Black started Chesapeake Search Partners to deliver a better experience for our clients and candidates as well and provide a positive team-oriented atmosphere for their Recruiting team. John now leads Recruiting Operations for CSP and helps support all 4 practices but primarily Accounting & Finance Direct Hire, Retained, and Contract roles.  Feel free to contact the Accounting & Finance Practice team or any of CSP’s Search Consultants at

The Counteroffer: Your Relationship Strategy, Protecting Your Personal Brand, & “Smaltimore”!

Published by Jason Nemoy

This one really stung. And it may have (unfortunately) burned a few bridges.

A candidate of our firm indicated to our team recently that he accepted a counteroffer from his current employer after having already accepted an offer from a new employer.

To be brutally honest…  we did not see it coming, nor did our client.  We received the call at the proverbial 11th hour. Most of the pre-employment and on-boarding tasks had been completed and a start date was set for the following week. Suddenly the excitement of the upcoming new hire came to a screeching halt for our client. As a team, we immediately began to reflect on where we may have dropped the ball. Did we miss an opportunity to prevent this for our client? Did we overlook any subtle “red flags” during the hiring process?

For candidates, searching for a new opportunity (actively or passively) requires building relationships. And there are many that will materialize throughout the process, from Search Consultant (like me), to the interview team of your future employer, and anyone else that has given you their time and energy along the way. Bottom-line, do you have your “relationship strategy” in place in the event you receive a counteroffer? Do you have a plan for what and how you are going to communicate with everyone that has been part of the process? And, are you in a position to protect your personal brand?

I’m not originally from Baltimore, and several years ago I heard the term “Smaltimore.” As a 10+ year resident… I now get it. Basically, you never know who you might run into again, personally and professionally. Baltimore is a small town, so as you dive into the process, keep in mind the professionals you engage with and impact along the way. You’re investing a lot of your own personal time and the time of others. And if you sense a counteroffer is on the way, it’s imperative to keep everyone in the loop.

 I offer a few suggestions to help you take the highest road possible so that if a counteroffer comes along, you’ve handled yourself with the utmost integrity and avoid (potentially) burning bridges.


  • Sometimes they are just not expected. On occasion, counteroffers come out of left field. You may think your company will just say “good luck to you,” maybe host a small gathering on your last day and lots of well wishes. So, when a counteroffer comes along, it’s natural to feel conflicted. It is flattering that your current company doesn’t want to lose you but it’s important to take a step back and reflect. What are your reasons for exploring a new job? Does this counteroffer change any of those things? What about your new role? You accepted the new job offer for a reason. It’s important to weigh the various factors that attracted you before deciding how to proceed.
  • Tough to say, tough to hear conversations. First and foremost, keep the lines of communication open. If you sense a counteroffer might be made or have already received one, notify the recruiter, the hiring manager or any other important parties. Your recruiter can talk through various scenarios as well as provide feedback, support, and advice on how to approach this. Additionally, your future employer deserves a heads up and the opportunity to try to strengthen their offer to you. By skipping that conversation, you eliminate any potential negotiating power for yourself and the company. These conversations are not easy, and you may dread making them, but you’ll give yourself a fair shot to explore all the options currently on the table.
  • Protect your personal brand. Mishandling a counteroffer could hurt your brand for quite some time. You have built countless relationships throughout the process and they can be quickly tarnished. How you handle a stressful situation like a counteroffer will be remembered, both positively and negatively. There is a level of trust, partnership and professionalism that can be tricky to rebuild once broken. Protect your reputation and your personal brand.
  • You may be circling back. What happens if things don’t work out and you want to move on again in 3- or 6-months’ time? Are the previous relationships you built still intact? Will those contacts be supportive, will they want to talk? If you had a good relationship strategy in place, you have a much better chance of circling back.

It’s okay to accept a counteroffer. It can be a great thing long-term. But whether you decide to accept the counteroffer or move on from your current employer, be mindful of your “relationship strategy” throughout the process. You will have built a foundation of meaningful relationships along the way (recruiter, the future employer/hiring managers, anyone that has supported you during the process) that all must be accounted for. And you never know, you just might run into one of those relationships down the road. Remember, it’s “Smaltimore.”

About Jason Nemoy:

A former HR practitioner of 20+ years and past President of Maryland’s largest SHRM Chapter (CHRA), Jason Nemoy heads the HR Recruiting Practice for Chesapeake Search Partners (“CSP”) in Baltimore MD, facilitating all Executive Retained and Contingent direct-hire HR searches. Jason also oversees the firm’s Outplacement Program. For counter-offer advice, feel free to contact the HR Practice team (Jason, Barbara Clark, Katie Dordunoo) or any of CSP’s Search Consultants at