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Counter offers – what to do?


by Giles Hampson

So, you’ve been through a rigorous recruitment process, conducting all the necessary assessments and due diligence on prospective candidates. You’ve arrived at your star candidate and offer them the role, and everyone lives happily ever after......

Suddenly you find your star candidate has accepted another offer, or heaven forbid has accepted a counter offer from their own employer…

There is a lot of conjecture around the long term view of counter offers…

“If my company is only offering me what I deserve on receipt of my notice then they’re not for me” Whilst this is an legitimate principal, the harsh reality is that companies are fighting tooth and nail to keep their best people, and a solid counter offer can do just that.

This is great news for high performing candidates, but not so great news for hiring companies. The age old etiquette dictates that once invited for interview, a candidate should be falling over themselves to work for your company. Whilst this is a nice thought, to think of it as reality is a little fanciful.

There are now 3 boxes to tick when looking to land your star candidate…

•    Is my offer in line with their expectations?
•    Does this offer entice the candidate to you or leave them considering other offers?
•    Does this offer ensure the candidate doesn’t settle for the obligatory counter offer from their current employer?

If all 3 aren’t satisfied, then the chances are you’ll lose your candidate. 

The key point to understand here is that this isn’t all about money. Whilst a healthy package will do no harm, it’s important that your holistic offering is in line with what the candidate is looking for –This is where flexibility needs to come into play – A great example is a senior marketing head I recently recruited; the individual had an offer from another company and a counter offer from their current employer, both of which were financially superior to the offer my client had made. The difference was that my client offered an element of flexible working which was important to my candidate, and tangibly demonstrated a career pathway for the individual. They went out of their way to prove to the candidate that they were without doubt the company to commit their career to for the foreseeable future.

One of my first lessons in recruitment was that “great recruitment is a two way street”; given the skill shortages and increasing expectations from employers and candidates alike, this statement has never been so appropriate.

 


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