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3 min read

Is Your Hiring Organization Prepared to Deal with Counter Offers? [Infographic]

Counter offers can be a tricky situation for all involved. The company offering it doesn’t want to lose a key employee, but also doesn’t want to question that employee’s loyalty if the offer is accepted. The employee may be offered exactly what they wanted, but wonder why it wasn’t offered before they gave notice to quit.

And, finally, the hiring company had picked their top choice candidate, but had already negotiated a final offer that they felt matched the candidate’s requirements.

As the war for talent heats up, more and more of your candidates may begin receiving counter offers and it will be critical to learn how to deal with them. In fact, a study last year by The Creative Group found:

  • 62% of companies make counter offers. (Click to Tweet)
  • 20% of companies are increasing their use of counter offers. (Click to Tweet)
  • 39% of companies make counter offers to avoid losing an employee with hard to find skills. (Click to Tweet)
  • 67% of employees will accept a counter offer. (Click to Tweet)

That last statistic is the one hiring organizations should be most concerned with. After all the hard work that comes with finding great talent, you don’t want to lose your top choice at the very end of the recruitment process.

So, what can you do to mitigate the risk of your candidate accepting a counter offer over yours?

Understand and Address Your Candidate’s Motivations

At the beginning of the recruitment process, work with your headhunter to understand each candidate’s motivations for finding a new job. Then, address them throughout your recruitment process to make sure that you truly understand their motivations and that you’re able to explain why your company would be a better fit for them.

For instance, if a candidate is looking for opportunities for advancement, set up an informational lunch interview with one of your star employees who has moved up through the ranks.

Pre-Close the Candidate

Before sending an offer, ask your headhunter to reach out to your candidate to see what it would take for them to accept the offer. This should include a verbal offer of sorts where the headhunter would present the salary, benefits, and any other parts of the package discussed during the interview process.

This way, the headhunter can find out if the candidate will accept the offer as-is, or if there are any concerns that need to be addressed. It’s critical to address any concerns before a counter offer is made, so the candidate knows that the grass may just be greener on the other side.

Make the Candidate An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Once you have an understanding of why your candidate is making a move, and what it will take to get them to accept, make an offer that can’t be refused. Include everything you discussed: salary, benefits, bonuses, PTO, perks, as well as how your company addresses their needs and wants.

Encourage them to reach out with any questions, or additional concerns that may come up, and be sure to let them know how excited your company is at the prospect of them coming on board.

Follow Up After Extending An Offer

Most candidates will take between 24-48 hours to review your offer, discuss it with their families, and respond. If it takes much longer than that, the candidate may have additional concerns or may be mulling over a counter offer.

Don’t assume the worst – your candidate may simply be nervous about giving notice, and may just need some coaching – but ask your headhunter to follow up and speak candidly with your candidate about their thoughts on the offer.

How to Deal with a Counter Offer

If the candidate is, indeed, in possession of a counter offer, the headhunter can remind them of their reasons for leaving and how your company will be a better opportunity. In the event that the other company matched your offer (for instance, offered a promotion to a candidate looking for opportunities for advancement), you may want to see if you can improve your offer to show the candidate how serious you are about bringing them on board.

Alternatively, your headhunter may coach the candidate on counter offers, perhaps mentioning that 90% of people who have accepted counter offers resign within 6 months or are terminated between 6 and 12 months. While a counter offer is indicative of the company’s desire to hold on to great talent, companies will often question accepting candidates’ loyalty and whether the same issue will come up again later. Generally speaking, accepting a counter offer can do more damage than good.

Finally, the headhunter may suggest to the candidate that they speak with the hiring manager to address any looming questions or concerns, and to drive home that the opportunity offers much of what they’re looking for in a new role. Considering that the #1 reason people leave their jobs is because of a bad boss, hearing directly from the hiring manager can make a lasting impression and get the candidate to sign your offer.

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