Preparing for Counter Offers before they Occur!

Slouch’s blog post on “ A Counter Offer of Biblical Proportions” enticed me to share some thoughts on why it’s important to deal with the Counter Offer issue very early on in the recruitment cycle; regardless of whether or not your candidate will get a Counter Offer.

Some veterans may disagree that the minute that candidate walks through your door part of the interviewing process has to deal with whether or not the candidate will accept a Counter Offer- it is after all apart of the closing process “Before the candidate meets your Client for the first time”. Is he or she fully closed or as I like to always say “ Have you made the hire for the client?” . It’s what we do folks.

I will even go one step further and say that you stop the interview all together if the candidate tells you they will accept a Counter. “But I am Oldschool” .... He/She does not get to meet your client for that initial interview... And you let them know point blank “ I can’t waste my time or my Client’s time you are obviously not serious about making a move at this time. I understand ...” That sounds like what I would say verbatim ...

Why do I feel this is necessary, for starters-you get a chance to determine the real reasons the candidate is on the market in the first place outside of: closer to home, less travel and work life balance etc, and so on.., is the candidate looking for a raise from his/her current employer and if so perhaps he/she should be asking for one now and not later.

Your time and more importantly your Client’s time is valuable and important –the candidate is forced to re-evaluate whether or not they are ready to make the move as you have educated him/her on what happens when you accept counter offers.

And, Ofcourse the candidate can look you in the eyes and tell you “ I will not accept a counter offer” even if it was a $20k increase and you probe them because he/she supposedly gave you the “Real” reasons they want to leave and in that process they gave you the dollar amount they would accept to make the move to your Client... The candidate is closed... and closed before they meet your Client ...

If after that process you still feel deep down the candidate would accept a Counter you can now aptly prepare your Client for that possibility and have them ready to make a Counter proposal and at the same time look at your backup candidate.

We can’t control everything in the Recruitment process - but the more we can control the better. So now you have a Client that really respects the fact you covered all your bases regardless of the deal outcome, you have prepared them. You have a ton of ammunition for the candidate who is contemplating a Counter offer (Reasons the candidate provided in making the move to your client in the first place) – also part of the re-closing effort – Outside of a (Slouch’s) Google /FB Counter offer, its going to be more difficult for the candidate to take the Counter and harder to swallow even if he/she does eventually accept it.

In the end, by dealing with the Counter Offer head on, you eliminate surprises, you know you have fully closed the Candidate for your Client’s opportunity. Your Client is prepared for all outcomes. The Candidate respects you in the end- your reputation stays intact.

Views: 422

Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 17, 2010 at 11:14am
Excellent post Paul. Any of us who have ever lost good placements to buybacks are well reminded that people who are looking for a job are always in a situation for a potential buyback.
Comment by Paul Alfred on November 17, 2010 at 11:18am
Thanks for the feedback Sandra .. Some of us often forget that ...
Comment by Paul Alfred on November 17, 2010 at 1:42pm
Thanks for the full Summary RA ... I appreciate the plug ...
Comment by Donna Svei on November 17, 2010 at 1:54pm
Help the candidate understand that if s/he accepts a counter offer they will tarnish their brand forever. Current employers don't like the "gun in their ribs" approach to being "asked" for a raise and prospective employers always feel as though the candidate was using them to get a raise from their current employer.

If a candidate is looking for a raise, not a new job, it's much better for their long-term reputation for them to be straight about that with everyone.
Comment by Paul Alfred on November 17, 2010 at 1:58pm
Indeed Donna - But we can't control whether or not people wish to be straight up! Some folks don't really value their reputations in the long run...
Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 17, 2010 at 2:43pm
Believe it or not some candidates never think about a buyback. They just don't until it happens. Their thought process is to decide all by them baby selves that it's time to look for another job . It never occured to them to ask for a raise either they just thought they would get one if they worked hard. They did, didn't get a raise and went looking. Many are surprised and shocked when they do get one. All the more reason to discuss it day one.

When i get the first comment , "I love my job and the company i work for but i am stuck or I have no opportunity for upward mobility. I ask the candidate to go back to their boss, sit down with the boss and ask for a career plan for the next year that will enable them to either get the raise or promotion they want. If they do that and do not get some kind of positive response from the boss psycologically they know they have already explored the future, then if the buyback comes it is less likely to be accepted .

In reality a candidate who takes a buyback only leaves a bad taste in the mouth of one company so the dammage to their reputation is minimal. With the recruiter who gets thumped if they come back around later , nothing has a better memory than a recruiter who lost one due to buyback. However it has been my experience that a buyback accepted that went bad in a year makes for a candidate who will never but never take another one. I love being able to say, "I told you so".

Some buybacks work out well for both the candidate and the current employer. There are certainly times when a supervisor has been trying to get someone a raise or a promotion and can't get approval until the company is about to lose someone. In many cases it also depends on how long the candidate has been unhappy or if it is a kneejerk reaction to something that happened that day or that week. Lots of digging needs to be done on the part of the recruiter.
Comment by Paul Alfred on November 17, 2010 at 2:57pm
Sandra you hit the nail on the head about the digging part with respect to Recruiters and their initial interviews - they gladly interview a candidate submit them to their client without closing the candidate fully... Leaving things wide open for a more experienced Recruiter ( The Competitor ) to pull the rug right out from underneath them ...
Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 17, 2010 at 3:26pm
Famous last words from an old rug puller.

"You have an offer, that's great, let's be sure that you have checked out all the opportunities available before you make a final decision. Tell the other recruiter you will give their client a final answer by close of business next Friday. Your interview is this afternoon let's compare the two so you never look back."
Comment by Paul Alfred on November 17, 2010 at 3:35pm
Sandra I would hate to call you my competitor on a big deal ...
Comment by James Todd on November 17, 2010 at 4:18pm
This is an excellent thread Paul, I feel like I owe someone a tuition check, very instructional.


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