5 Ways to Prevent Candidates from Accepting Counteroffers

Among discussion about which recruiting software to use, how to streamline your recruiting process, and how to overcome objections, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about counteroffers.

In this candidate’s market, counteroffers are quite a problem for recruiters. In fact, candidates are accepting counteroffers even after they’ve started working at their new employer! How can recruiters combat this trend?

Below are five ways to prevent candidates from accepting counteroffers:

Solution #1

When you’re interviewing a candidate and want to uncover their real reason for talking to you, ask them the following question: “If you were your boss, give me five changes you would make.” This question uncovers the real reason they are contemplating a career move. If the only changes they list are money and advancement, then they will accept a counteroffer. You need to suggest that they meet with their employer and attempt to obtain their next raise and promotion. If they don’t get the raise and promotion, then you have a viable candidate.

Solution #2

Cover the topic of the counteroffer in your initial interview. You will be amazed by how many candidates will admit they would accept a counteroffer if one was extended. You need to walk away and surface another candidate.

Solution #3

If the candidate insists they will NOT accept a counteroffer if one was extended, then ask them to give you the reason why (in their words). Draw a square on your application form and write down verbatim what they say. When a counteroffer is extended, read them their own words. This brings them back to the other reasons they were contemplating a change, which cannot be solved by a promotion and raise.

Solution #4

Always discuss the lack of trust. Their employer might forgive the fact they were interviewing with other companies, but they’ll never forget. When another opportunity becomes available in the company, will they offer it to the candidate or to someone they know has been 100% loyal to them?

Solution #5

Follow-up, follow-up, and follow-up. Your job begins after the candidate accepts the offer. Walk them through their resignation, give them samples of resignation letters, and have them fill out tax papers or benefit papers before their start date to align them to your client’s company. If at all possible, have their new boss take them to lunch prior to their start date.

The new trend in accepting counteroffers is not an immediate counteroffer, but one that happens on day 13 of a two-week resignation or 30 days after the person starts their new job. We’ve seen counteroffers being extended six months after a person leaves because the company has not found a replacement.

You must mentor and guide this new employee through their first year with the company. You have to become their trusted adviser so you can uncover any problem areas.

Training Video: Uncover Hidden Candidates 

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Barb Bruno, CPC/CTS is a guest writer for the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Blog. You can hire her for your next conference or event or for in-house training. Barb’s training techniques have guided thousands to a higher level of sales and profits. She is best known for her methodical, easy-to-implement strategies that she shares with her audiences. Her enthusiasm is contagious! If you would like to hire Barb, please call 219.663.9609, email support@staffingandrecruiting.com, or visit Good as Gold Training online.

2 responses to “5 Ways to Prevent Candidates from Accepting Counteroffers”

  1. I love this topic because it can creep in without you knowing unless you address it at the very start of the conversation and derail your placement. I ask a candidate to describe to me what it will look like when they resign – what is company standard procedure. I ask them if their employer has a practice of using counter offers. And the next question – what would it take for you to accept a counter offer? This gives me insight into their motivation. After an offer has been accepted, the “hand holding” truly begins. I ask my candidate to notify me to discuss how the resignation went and to fill me in on what their boss had to say. Then I email the hiring authority (not HR) with suggestions on how to engage their new employee during that two week period. i.e. send them a company handbook, have others on the team call them and welcome then to the team – make them feel needed, check in with them every few days to see how they are doing because during that last two weeks they are typically ostracized. They are considered a traitor of sorts. It can be very uncomfortable for them.

    • Casey Stevens says:

      Thanks for the feedback! The counteroffer can be a tricky situation for candidates and recruiters alike, and it requires strategic planning and careful execution to navigate it successfully. Thanks again!

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