Counteroffers – How to deal with them.


Lets set the scene, you’ve spent weeks searching, qualifying and re – qualifying the perfect candidate. You send them over to your client, set up an interview, set up another, then comes the final leg …. offer! Paperwork is out and now its down to your candidate management and how your candidate deals with their resignation. An hour goes by, another hour goes by, then you get that call …. “ah well I need to tell you something …”, you know exactly what there going to say. Counteroffers happen its part of the recruitment cycle and how you over come it is what the outcome will be.

Don’t panic, take a step back and breath. Counteroffers have become far more sophisticated then just “chucking” money someones way so there could be a lot more to take into account such as, life style benefits, job title, responsibility’s, opportunities, global travel etc. Don’t underestimate the power of the counteroffer.There are a few methods that if followed properly should have the candidate side with you:

  1. Discuss counteroffers early in the recruitment cycle – When is the right time to discuss counteroffers? There is no right time however when you think that your client is interested in the candidate. Bring up the counteroffer, discuss it and how you both will deal with it. Look at this way, if they don’t offer you wasted 5 minutes of your time, if they offer the candidate you have already bought up the counteroffer conversation.
  2. Prepare them for what might happen – You need to spend time preparing the candidate making sure that they know and understand all their options. For example they might spend all their efforts on this one candidate wineing and dinning them, or they may have an old mentor fly in. In the case this happens that this happens – there prepared and they will also know “This is exactly what the recruiter said would happen”
  3. Find out the in’s and out’s of the candidates current company – Like anything companies may have certain behaviors that they exhibit. Find out what happens when people resign, how they deal with candidates etc. You’ll be in a much better position when dealing with the counter offer.
  4. Coach them through the resignation РSpeak to them exactly how they should resign and how they should deal with objections. The day they do decide to resign keep in touch make sure they call you before and after they have resigned, They have gone through a uncomfortable meeting and a friendly voice will help.
  5. Keep in touch – Keep in touch with your candidate. See how there getting on, talk shop, meet them for a coffee. Constant communication helps and also helps you build a lot more rapport.
  6. Dont assume anything – Don’t assume that because the candidate has told you they wont accept the counteroffer, they actually wont. This is not a way to just avoid the counteroffer conversation. Follow the steps for all your candidates or you maybe getting that call … “Ah well I’ve been thinking” ….

The way to avoid the counteroffer situation is to have the discussion and make sure their prepared. Act as a trusted adviser, guide them through the process it will be a lot easier both ends. For the candidate it maybe a lot more then just another job, this could be life changing, the next step in their journey, new colleagues, new places for lunch etc. With all of this comes a sense of fear and anticipation – help them. You owe it to everyone involved, client, candidate and yourself that everyone is informed and that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.


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