Nothing is more frustrating than identifying the ideal candidate you want to hire, having them accept an offer, and then losing them to a counteroffer. With top talent, the chances of a counteroffer is high. Their current employer didn’t want them to leave and was willing to do whatever it takes to get them to stay. However, there are serious downsides to accepting a counteroffer – and recruiters know that. A skilled recruiter knows how to manage the process and greatly reduce the possibility of your candidate accepting a counteroffer. Covering the counteroffer with candidates is a process, not an event. Throughout the process, a recruiter should be constantly focusing on candidates’ motivation for change, where they want to go next in their career, and the gaps that exist in their current role. It’s critical to prepare them for a potential counteroffer well in advance. Here’s how a recruiter works with the candidate to mitigate the counteroffer risk.

Recruiters Look at What Motivates Candidates

A skilled recruiter will provide personal counsel at each step in the process and probe for potential red flags. If a candidate’s motivation to make a job change is purely driven by money and nothing else, then they are a potential counteroffer risk. Non-money issues with their current role need to be uncovered and brought into focus. Are they concerned about the commute? Do they feel disconnected from the company’s culture? Have they hit a ceiling and lack opportunity for advancement? Conversely, what are they looking to move towards? How does this new potential opportunity better align with their goals and aspirations? Ideally, both of these lists of motivating factors (negative towards their current role, and positive towards the new one) should be as long as possible.

Recruiters Will Prep You in the Case That a Counteroffer Is Made

From a process standpoint, it is critical to get a firm verbal acceptance before a written offer is made. Otherwise, there is a risk that the candidate will take the written offer and use it as leverage in hopes of getting a counteroffer. After a verbal acceptance is made, recruiters will role play with the candidate to play out their resignation, and what to do when the counteroffer conversation comes up. Through experience, recruiters know that during a resignation, whoever has the most certainty wins. Either the candidate is certain that their decision is final and they are moving on, or the employer is more certain they are going to convince the candidate to stay.

Recruiters talk to candidates to see what their current employer would need to offer for them to change their mind. In this case, knowledge is power. While a counteroffer might not happen, setting the expectation that is may is essential. Recruiters can help reveal the bigger picture. Candidates might think that a counteroffer shows that their current employer appreciates them more than they thought. The truth is that its’ going to cost the employer exponentially more to hire someone new than to throw some money at the candidate to get them to stay. Why did they have to hold a gun to their employer’s head to find out their true value and get paid what they’re worth?

Recruiters understand that changing jobs can be a stressful experience for candidates. During the process, recruiters build deep relationships with their candidates to ensure that when they have the right person, they will not only attract them to your organization, but land them as well. Motivation for change and the possibility of a counteroffer are discussed at length in advance. Getting them mentally prepared and focused on the best move for their career is key.

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