A demonic figure that makes Bram Stoker’s Dracula seem more at place with his numerical namesake on Sesame Street. Much like the folklore perpetuated in Lost Boys this evil presence can only harm you if you invite it in your home. For those who are in the dark let me shine a ray of pure sunlight on the topic; I’m talking counteroffers. It’s something that should be talked about in your initial conversation with your candidate especially if their main reason for looking for a new opportunity is rooted in money. Guaranteed if it’s happened to you recently, it’ll be the first thing you ask your next candidate; “If your current company were to offer x is that something you would consider!?” listen to the silence, the looking upwards and the elongation of the first sound coming from them, all things that make a neck look irresistible to The Count.
You would think in my line of business that counteroffers would be less prevalent, I mean as recruiters we should know the stats. Depending on what article you read the percentage varies, the common theme is that it is still VERY high. Up to 90% of candidates who accept a counteroffer are out of the business within 6 months. Why? Well, as a male having been managed by other males throughout my recruitment career analogies on the recruitment process have centered around girls or football. As it was eloquently put to me; If you cheat on your partner and they take you back, is the relationship the same? No! It’s a trust killer. All of a sudden meeting a candidate offsite automatically conjures up images in you managers mind of some sleazy motel, you lighting a cigarette post-coitus in the arms of another employer with the gentle hum of neon lighting filling the room.
You also seem less and less like a team player and are essentially given the side-eye because of your ambition. Dealing with candidates who are looking for more money isn’t a bad thing just as long as that isn’t their only driver as you will be surprised by how much is left in the budget when a resignation letter slides across. It’s a question you need to seriously ask yourself, “Am I only getting what I want because I’m leaving?” Short answer, yes. Long answer yes. Working on the assumption there is more at play here than just money, a potential personality clash or lack of access to key accounts for example. Why have these things been ignored until this breaking point? Because it’s harder to employ/train someone new than it is to finally listen.
If you get that bump that you were “always going to get anyway” (🙄) you can rest assured that’s your lot, kiss goodbye to any more salary increases, as for promotions!? Those are for loyal staff members! Not vocational hussies putting it all about town! From a consultant’s perspective counter offers are never a good thing and having never employed someone I’m unsure on how to give the opposing view for a balanced article. It’s all about your questioning in the initial stages and what a candidate’s motivations, aspirations and their ‘real’ reason for leaving. I’d love to believe every candidate when they say they’re ready ‘for a new challenge’ and have ‘learned all they can’ but dig a little deeper you’ll uncover some softer but no less important factors.
Remember, you don’t just recruit, you consult! This maybe your 100th placement but it could very well be the first time a candidate has moved organisation. I always tell my candidates that they should expect a counteroffer, they’re good at what they do so why wouldn’t an employer fight for them? It also takes away the flattery of the offer and creates an expectancy. The acceptance of a counteroffer is very much the path of less resistance, it’s tied up in a lot of emotional baggage that can cloud a decision. Sympathy and misplaced empathy have killed a lot of careers. It is important to be respectful and appreciate that your candidate has spent a significant portion of their life with this group of people. Pointing out inaccuracies in a counteroffer needs to be done with a level of care. You need to consult your candidate using your experience and knowledge gained from being in this situation numerous times. Really, the only necklace of garlic to ward of the beast is that initial question; “Will you accept a counteroffer?” it can save you a lot of darting around NZ this winter Van Helsinging in the rain 🧛♂️