Dealing with counter offers

There can be nothing more frustrating than having done all the hard work at the selection and interview stage, to have found your ideal candidate and offered them a role only to discover that they have been offered an improved package to stay with their existing employer.

Counter offers are often used as a last-ditch attempt to hang onto their talented employees and with staff retention so high on most companies’ priorities it is happening more and more often. Some candidates are offended that their employer has suddenly found a few more thousand pounds or the promotion they were seeking is suddenly available, but others value the offer and are tempted to stay.

Here are a few steps that might help…

Discuss a counter offer at interview:  Understand the motivation behind the candidate’s desire to leave. If their sole reason for leaving is financial or a promotion discuss what would happen if their employer offered them more money or created a new role for them. If you have any concerns at all probe a little further, it may well be that you need to focus your efforts on other candidates who are fully committed to the opportunity you are offering.

Sell yourself:  Use questioning to understand what the employee is seeking within your company and reinforce your commitment to those values, for example if they are looking for a better work/life balance remind them of the benefits your company offers in this regard.

Communication:  There’s a good chance that if you think they are a great candidate so do other companies including their current employer. The time spent between interview and offer is often too long and very often silent; it is during this time that their excitement at the prospect of working for you begins to wane and the likelihood of them accepting a counter offer increase. Make the process as quick as possible, take up interim telephone references and make an offer based on successful credit check rather than waiting for it. In any event KEEP COMMUNICATING with your recruiter and your candidate.

Make the most of IRC and all of our years of experience: We are very experienced at dealing with counter offers and will often have discussed this before you have even met them for the first time. If an unexpected counter offer arises we will assist with reinforcing the value of the new role and can be a very useful go between in the negotiation process. Be reassured that if our consultants believe that any candidate is attempting to secure a job offer as a bargaining tool they will not be presented to you for interview.

Offer a final meeting: Sometimes a final meeting can be useful for the candidate to remind themselves of what you have to offer and for you to be sure that they are totally committed to working for you. Perhaps arrange for them to meet some of their prospective colleagues.

Know when to move on: Don’t be drawn into a bidding war, there are other candidates who truly want to work for you and do not need to be bought. Make your first offer the best possible offer and remind the candidate of the benefits of working for you then let them decide. Adding cash at the last minute can be viewed as an attempt to get them cheaply first time.

We understand that this is a very frustrating position for us all and we will do all we can to qualify candidates appropriately to avoid this situation and should it arise unexpectedly we will work with you to achieve the best possible outcome.