One of the most demotivating aspects of a recruiter’s life is the candidate who accepts a counter offer. In a moment of disbelief your placement evaporates. How can you prevent your candidate from accepting a counter offer?
Raise the counter offer early in the process : Once you’ve identified a strong candidate, raise the prospect of the counter offer as early as possible. Find out what their employer does when a key team member hands in their notice. Is there a history of counter offers at their company? Addressing it early in the process increases your chances of staying in control.
Understand their motivations : Employees leave their jobs for a variety of reasons, of which money is rarely the number one motivator. A lack of career development opportunities and poor leadership are both key reasons for quitting. Identify those reasons during your candidate assessment.
Prepare your candidate : Counter offers are ego boosts which lead the candidate to mistakenly believe the employer values them. Some points to raise during the interview process or after a counter offer has been received are:-
- If it takes a resignation letter for the employer to show some appreciation, do they truly value or recognise their contributions and commitment?
- A counter offer is the employer’s way of buying themselves time to find a suitable replacement.
- If they accept the counter offer, their boss, your client and you know that they are available to the highest bidder. It doesn’t bode well for their professional reputation.
- Re-iterate your candidate’s reasons for wanting to leave their job when you started this process. Money won’t resolve issues such as leadership, lack of career opportunity or long working hours. Emphasise where your job meets all of their aspirations.
- Most people who accept a counter-offer are back on the job market within the next six months.
Don’t leave it to chance : You may believe you have all the reassurances you need but no recruiter can ever be 100% certain that your candidate will turn down a counter offer. Once a job offer is made, it’s vital to stay in touch while they make their decision. If you’ve worked closely with them and addressed all of their objections through the process, a ‘yes’ should be (almost) automatic.
Stay in touch through the notice period : You may breathe a sigh of relief but the pressure will now be on your candidate as they work out a month’s notice. Get them to call you as soon as they have formally resigned to discuss their boss’s reaction. Encourage your client to send a note to say how much they are looking forward to them joining their business and start the onboarding process immediately. Remind them of the opportunity and career prospects that lie ahead of them. The notice period can be a lonely time; as a recruiter it’s your job to focus on the positive.
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