Talent Acquisition

5 Ways to Deal With a Counteroffer

With great talent in short supply, businesses are doing everything they can to retain employees. So when your candidate goes to hand in their resignation, a counteroffer from their existing employer is not out of the question – in fact, it’s more common than ever. A higher salary, improved package, change in responsibilities or even a promotion are just some of the ways organizations will look to hold on to their spectacular staff, in turn presenting a sticky situation for the candidate. Do they stay or do they go?

As recruiters, handling this situation in the right way is essential as it can make the difference between a candidate accepting your offer and reverting back to what they know. Here are five things to consider when faced with a counter-offer:

1. Broach the topic early

If your candidate is actively looking for work but currently employed, make sure you cover the possibility of a counter-offer throughout the shortlisting and interview process. Establish why your candidate is leaving and enquire what they’d do if they were to be counter offered. It’s always worth knowing what could tempt a candidate back to their original role. What’s more, by bringing up the concept early, the candidate won’t be caught by surprise if it does happen and they’ll have thought about the situation before being confronted with it.

2. Advise on the resignation process

For many candidates, the thought of resigning can induce anxiety and alienation. After all, unless gardening leave is an option, the employee will have to remain in their workplace to work out their notice and depending on the company, this may be a less than positive experience. Providing a steadying hand throughout the resignation process can reassure the candidate of their decision and stop them from reneging on their decision. Consider asking questions like ‘Will your manager be surprised? How will they respond to this?’ to prepare the candidate appropriately.

Providing tips and tricks on best practice when it comes to resigning, such as how much notice to provide and how to deliver the news, can make a huge difference not only to the relationship your candidate leaves behind but their enthusiasm and confidence moving forward.

3. Remind them of what’s on offer

There’s a reason the candidate has gone through the process of applying, interviewing and accepting your role – so remind them of such! Emphasize the fantastic elements of their new role, including the team, responsibilities, company culture, the potential for career progression, title, offices, location, flexibility, and benefits – whatever attracted them to the role in the first place. Often, a candidate isn’t moving for a straight pay rise – there are other factors at play which their current employer can’t counter against.

4. Organize a tour or additional meetings

If your candidate needs some reminding of what they have in store, collaborate with your client to organize a final office tour or meeting. If you haven’t already, ask their new employer to show the candidate where they would be sitting, where the local café is and who they’ll be working with, giving them the best chance to visualize what their new working life could look like. If the team is hosting any social events during the candidate’s notice, ask your client to invite them along, so they can get to know the team outside of the working environment.

5. Remain in close contact

The candidate has resigned and they have worked a week of their notice with no fuss. Suddenly, their manager pulls them into a meeting and offers a better package, along with a new title. If you haven’t maintained consistent contact with your candidate throughout the recruitment process, they may be swayed. Make sure you are touching base regularly via email, a phone call or best-case scenario – in person. It means you can maintain momentum, while also ensuring the candidate will maintain confidence and enthusiasm for their new role. It’s also worth communicating that you are accessible at all times, should a situation like the above arise. You should be the first person they go to.

By David Morel

David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, London’s leading recruitment agency for business, private and virtual support recruitment. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.