Preparing Candidates for Counter Offers: Four Tips Every Recruiter Needs to Know

Over the last several years we have seen a steady increase in the number of candidates receiving counter offers. Candidates often interpret receiving them as an indication that their current employer values them as an employee and does not want them to resign. However, this is not always the case. Often it is a strategic tactic by their current employer to limit the need to hire someone else to fill their role, or it is used as a stalling tactic to give them time to find a replacement

The four most common counter offers candidates receive are:

* The ‘Financial’ Counter Offer- This is where an employer will offer their employee a financial incentive to stay. When you consider how much it costs an employer to replace an employee, this is often a cost-effective solution for them.

* The ‘Emotional Blackmail’ Counter Offer- This is where an employer uses the employee’s sense of loyalty and commitment to their current team/organization to get them to stay. Comments from managers such as “don’t go, the team will never be the same if you leave”, or “I can’t believe you are leaving us after all we have done to help you”, are examples of how employers can use this tactic.

* ‘The Final Days’ Counter Offer -This is where an employer capitalizes on the final weeks of an employee being with their organization to show them what they are going to miss.

* ‘The Future Looks Bright’ Counter Offer – This is where an employer promises the employee that should they stay with the organization that there will be the ‘possibility’ of a promotion/a corner office/pay raise/change in duties. Many employees find that these ‘possible’ incentives never actually become reality.

The following four tips will help any recruiter to prepare their candidates for a counter offer and assist the candidate to view it objectively:

Tip 1: Discuss counter offers during your initial interview with the candidate. Explain the differing forms they come in and ascertain what their current employer typically does when someone resigns.

Tip 2: Ask the candidate questions about why they are looking to leave their current employer. Rarely do these issues get resolved if they accept a counter offer. As the recruiter, you may need to remind the candidate later in the process why they wanted to move organizations, when faced with a counter offer.

Tip 3: Identify if they, or someone they know, has ever accepted a counter offer and how that worked out for them. Statistics show that over 90% of employees who accept a counter offer leave within one year.

Tip 4: If the selection process is taking longer than expected, keep your candidate updated on what is happening. If the delay is inevitable (for example, they need to meet the CEO who is currently out of the country), have the client invite the candidate to meet the team, come to a product launch or visit the facility. This should help to maintain your candidate’s interest in your client during this time.

By integrating these simple tips into your recruiting process will increase the number of quality placements you will make and reduce the number of candidates who accept counter offers.

To learn more about raising your performance as a recruiter, we invite you to sign-up for our free monthly newsletter that highlights best practices, interviews with subject matter experts and updates on the latest developments in the recruitment industry: []

Helene Buchanan-Dunne (Head of Performance Management at Buchanan-Dunne Associates) has an extensive background in the recruitment industry, having created and delivered successful performance development programs for many of the world’s leading recruitment organizations in over 40 countries. As a performance consultant to the recruitment industry, she and her team are dedicated to developing recruitment professionals around the globe to perform at their best. Through consultancy services, specialized training workshops and mentoring programs, they work with organizations to develop their recruiters to achieve sustainable growth and profitability

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