What to Do When Your Candidate Is Considering a Counter Offer

You’ve put hours of work into a candidate, and everything is going great! You’ve built a bond with the candidate and a high level of trust. You’ve made it to the end of the recruitment process and it’s time to offer this candidate a job! The candidate gets a new, well-paid job, you get a happy client, your employer praises you for placing this candidate, and you get a nice commission – everyone wins!

Everything is going great, and all you need to do is wait for the candidate to accept the offer.

Then, unexpectedly, you get that dreaded call/email from the candidate letting you know that they received a counter offer from their employer and is considering staying put.

What do you do next? Do you scrap everything and look for a new candidate? Do you panic, complain to the candidate and say, “I trusted you!”? There are a few things that you should do first, and these are not them. Rather, you need to talk with the candidate and explain WHY it’s not a good idea to take a counter offer.

Here are some tips/talking points to help you with this type of situation — and perhaps even avoid it altogether:

Start this discussion early. If you are working with a great candidate who is currently employed, there will always be a chance that they will receive a counter offer from their current employer. You must discuss this possibility with your candidate early on and ask them questions like, “If you were to receive a counter offer, what would you do?” or, “What motivates you – career growth or money?” Having discussions like this will build trust with the candidate and may lead them to choose your offer in the end.

Does staying for the money fix anything? Ask your candidate, “Why did you apply to this job in the first place?” The candidate could mention many things: They don’t like their current manager; they want to change career paths; they don’t like the culture; or anything else! Make sure you let them understand that none of this would change if they took this counter offer; the only thing that would be changing is the paycheck they get every two weeks. Is that worth it?

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Management will lose trust in the candidate. Imagine being in a management position and looking at an employee that you know has been looking for a new job. In addition to that, you had to pay more to keep them around. This would naturally leave a bad taste in your mouth. This is exactly what you should mention to a candidate considering a counter offer.

Realistically, a big reason employers counter is because it’s inconvenient to lose an employee. If a candidate accepts a counter offer and now costs their employer more money, it may only be a matter of time before the employer replaces that candidate with someone who is just as good, but cheaper.

These are just a few pointers and topics to help you out with a candidate considering a counter offer. While you can’t control whether an employer counters, broaching the subject early with your candidate – and being honest about the pros and cons of accepting a counter offer – can greatly increase your offer acceptance rates.

Brian Syracuse

Brian Syracuse
Brian Syracuse is a marketing support specialist with Haley Marketing. He can be reached at bsyracuse (at) haleymarketing (dot) com.

Brian Syracuse

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