What to do When Your Top Choice Candidate Gets a Counter Offer

As the war for talent continues to heat up, companies are increasingly relying on proactive sourcing techniques to find top talent.

More companies are hiring, yet the talent pool remains the same size – so companies often poach candidates from one another to fill their own positions. As such, there is not just competition to hire top talent, but also to retain it.

For this reason, 62% of companies issue counter offers. Perhaps more alarmingly, 57% of employees accept those counter offers.

For a hiring organization that has invested so much time, money and energy into the recruitment process already, this can be quite a blow.

So, what do you do when your direct hire agency tells you that your top choice candidate has received a counter offer?

Step 1: Get the Details

First, get all the details from your direct hire agency. Your agency should find out exactly what the counter offer included, whether it be additional compensation, a promotion, paid time off, or any other combination of pay and employee benefits.

Your agency should also ask if the candidate is happy with the offer, and what it would take for them to accept your offer instead. In many cases, the counter offer may not address the candidate’s motivations for leaving, so you may be able to skip right ahead to step 4.

Step 2: Talk it Over With Your Team

Gather your internal team and discuss a solution to the counter offer. Determine if you want to pursue the candidate further, or rescind your offer and pursue another candidate instead.

Take into consideration what would take for your top candidate to accept, whether you have other viable candidates in your pipeline, and how time-sensitive filling your role is.

Step 3: Share your Decision with Your Agency

Once you’ve made a decision, let your agency know as soon as possible so they can follow up with the candidate. This is particularly important if you plan to one-up the counter offer, as the candidate is eager to make a decision either way.

However, it’s also important if you plan to rescind your offer – as your timeliness will factor into the candidate experience, which can affect your employer brand.

Step 4: Follow up Directly with the Candidate

If you’ve decided to one-up the counter offer, or if your candidate isn’t happy with the counter offer, it’s a nice gesture to have the hiring manager follow up with the candidate.

They should tell the candidate how much they’d like to have them on the team, and remind them how joining your company meets the reasons they were interviewing in the first place. This is also a good opportunity to see if the candidate has any final reservations about accepting the position, so that nothing stands in their way.

Do you ever deal with counter offers? What do you do to convince the candidate to accept your offer?

2017-08-03T05:17:04+00:00 April 22nd, 2015|

About the Author:

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and Bright.com, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she's not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe with her husband, traveling abroad, or enjoying a night in with friends and a good bottle of wine. She's a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Socio-Economic and Political Global Studies.