Counteroffers should be expected as you hire top talent. It’s a lot easier and less expensive for an employer to make a counteroffer than to let a good employee go. The key to managing counteroffers is to take a proactive approach and be ready for them – even before they occur.
Stay in the Game
Throughout the hiring process, actively communicate with your candidate and ask qualifying questions about their true level of interest in moving to your company. If you’re straightforward and authentic, you’ll weed out those individuals who’d be more likely to accept a counteroffer and leave you hanging.
- Mitigate the chance of a counteroffer by addressing it early. Ask candidates directly about their reasons for leaving and what they would do if their current employer asked them to stay. Initiate this dialogue as soon as there’s a genuine interest in hiring a person. Begin the process of convincing a candidate to commit to you by asking them to put their word on the line.
- Understand why they’re making a move. Probe to find out what’s motivating them to leave their current company. Rarely does it come down solely to salary. Usually, there’s another reason such as lack of growth potential or the fact that they’ve reached their limit there. Find their pain points and be sure your position addresses them.
- After making an offer, keep the motivation high. Stay in contact with your prospective hire and remain at the top of their mind. Ask them how it went when they gave notice. Has their company announced their pending departure or asked them to wait? If there’s a waiting period involved, be prepared for a counteroffer. Meet again with the candidate or better yet, invite them to a staff or company meeting. Involve them in a project and include them on emails as appropriate. Begin the process of integrating them into their new job and your culture.
When You Get a Counteroffer
Your candid, assertive approach needs to continue till you win this battle – or gracefully bow out.
- Don’t get into a compensation war – because you won’t win. Make your best offer and leave it at that. If you up the ante and the candidate accepts, chances are they’ll never be satisfied. They may leave at the first opportunity they get for a higher salary or continue to hold you hostage.
- If you’ve been consistently addressing the issue, respond accordingly. For instance” “We made you what we think is a good offer – and our best offer. You indicated you weren’t leaving due to money and now it appears that’s not the case. Our culture is built around high integrity, trust and values. It would be a good thing for you to accept the counteroffer, because you probably wouldn’t fit in here.”
Work with a Recruiter
A professional recruiter is invaluable throughout your hiring process, including the crucial salary negotiation stage. As your staffing partner, they are well versed in the different forms, implications and outcomes of counteroffers. And, they will properly qualify a candidate’s search motivations before they even introduce them to you – saving you significant time, money and aggravation right from the start.