Managing candidate counter offers

Written by Andrea Frith

What is a counteroffer?

A counteroffer, as the name suggests, is a reactive term. It signifies the action taken by an employer to retain their employee who wants to leave their company. The employer makes them an offer with either a higher salary or additional benefits or both to counter the offer the employee has received from another company.

What is the most common counter offers & why do they happen?

You have interviewed a fantastic candidate, you offer them the job, and everybody is happy. That’s the ideal scenario. Until….

  • More money – This is the most common counter offer as it’s very easy to forget the issues you’re having at work when you’re offered a sizeable pay rise – at least temporarily.
  • Promotion – It’s surprising how quickly a candidate can be promoted following a resignation. It may have been the title they always wanted.
  • Benefits – This can vary to whatever the preference of the candidate desires. (Holiday, Awards, Bonuses, etc.)

How do you handle the counteroffer?

Talk about counter offers from the start:

Talking about the possibility of a counteroffer at the early stages of the recruitment process can help you gauge how susceptible your candidate will be staying with their existing employer. You can then start to determine how to approach the situation if it arises.

Identifying emotional driver:

Take the time to identify their emotional drivers, their life situations, as well as their career ambitions. This way at offer stage you will have a stronger chance of being able to discuss any counteroffer in light of their aspirations, and remind them why they were not happy in their current role. (If increasing their salary is their sole motivation, there is a strong chance they will accept a counteroffer if it’s increased).

Keep checking in:

Open and honest communication is crucial to help navigate counteroffer conversations.  Knowing how your candidate feels at each stage of the interview process will inform you of their mindset and what forces are at play.

Stay in touch till start date:

If they accept the new role be sure to arrange some pre-employment onboarding meetings to minimise the risk of them pulling out ahead of the start date. A job move is a major life change and people can get cold feet.

Keep the client employing the candidate in the loop:

This gives you the potential to counteroffer the existing counter offer from their current employer. If you keep the client informed of what the candidates driving factors are, they could potentially sweeten the pot for the candidate, whether that is increasing the salary offer, or benefits.

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