Handling a hiring counter-offer

You’ve made the job offer and you believe that the most difficult part of the interview process is over. Your ideal candidate has accepted your offer of employment.

Is it time to pour the champagne? Unfortunately, not quite yet, you learn that your new employee has been given the choice to remain with their existing job, possibly with a raise in pay or benefits or a promotion.

A counter-offer to employees who are considering leaving is frequently a last-ditch effort to retain their top talent. At The Sales Experts, post Covid19, we’ve seen a big increase in companies trying to “buy back” their employees.

Five actions to take to avoid a counter-offer situation

  1. Cover counter-offers at interview

To minimise the chance of a counter-offer situation, it’s best to address it during the interview stages. Ask candidates directly about their reasons for leaving and the action they’ll take if their current employer asks them to stay. If they are only leaving for a salary increase they will be easily convinced to stay. Don’t be drawn into a bidding war and consider candidates who are actually interested in the full opportunity that you’re offering.

2. Structure offers to appeal to candidates actually looking for a career

Explain the advantages succinctly to those who are experiencing a crisis of confidence in their decision to change. If a prospective new employee was drawn to your company by the possibility of professional advancement, a better work/life balance, or your organisational culture. Remind the applicant of the reasons they initially decided to join the business and reassure them that there are opportunities within your company. Layout our clear opportunities for growth and advancement with your company.

3. Offer the opportunity for further meetings

When a candidate is weighing up your offer, invite them in again to meet with key stakeholders and even their peers. People buy people, so give new hires the chance to get a feel for those they’ll be interacting with – the leadership team and any direct reports. Make them feel welcomed and engaged. Manage any concerns raised with open feedback and practical examples – this is often easier face-to-face than over the phone.

4. Use a recruiter

An experienced recruiter will understand the different forms of counter-offers and their outcomes, a good recruiter will manage the process. They will also properly qualify a candidate’s job search motivations before introducing them to potential new employers. Those who are looking to make a move simply to use an offer as a bargaining tool for a higher salary in their current role don’t tend to make it onto the shortlist. A recruiter can also act as a third party to manage offer expectations.

5. Know when to walk away

The hiring process is a two-way street and as much as you’re looking to attract the best candidate for the job, so should your potential new employee be enthusiastic about joining your company. It’s essential to make your first offer your best one; sell the benefits of the role and organisation throughout the process and let it be the opportunity that attracts the right talent – not the extra cash added to a salary at the last minute.

Each counter-offer situation is different, so for more advice on a specific situation please get in touch with The Sales Experts.