Combating the Counteroffer Your Candidate is Sure to Receive

Combating the Counteroffer

Combating the Counteroffer Your Candidate is Sure to Receive

Every organization hopes to hire the most skilled candidates with proven track records and excellent reputations. Given the 4.2% unemployment rate, you can bet that those candidates are probably not on job boards right now. You need to utilize some old school recruiting efforts to find them where they’re working and make them excited about a position with your company. That is just the beginning. Even after you’ve managed to engage that candidate, maneuvered through the interview process and extended an offer, you can expect one final challenge in this current market; the counteroffer. Because turnover is so costly, and has a negative effect on performance and morale, companies are focusing their efforts on retention tactics. The average cost per hire as reported by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is over $4,000. Counteroffers 25% or more by employers in our local market are not unheard of to retain top performers. As an employer, you want to hire the kind of candidates that add value to an organization, and are coveted in their industry. But how do you counteract the counteroffer?

Listen to them
It sounds obvious, but in many initial phone screens and interviews, the recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t ask them why they are looking to make a change. You need to gauge a candidate’s level of commitment to leaving their current job. Asking he or she to talk openly about what they are looking for, and what they are not getting from their current employer will give you an idea of how likely they are to accept a counteroffer. If their primary motivation is financial or related to career advancement, they would probably consider staying at their current company for the right salary increase or title modification. Whereas an employee who is dissatisfied with management, a long commute or an unhealthy workplace culture will be more likely to commit to an organization that will provide alternatives to these issues. Once you know those reasons, you should subtly remind them of these things throughout the hiring process. This will help them mentally prepare for the counteroffer and further affirm why they were entertaining your offer in the first place.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse
Making a competitive offer from the start is necessary to compete for top talent, and even more crucial in the current job market. Start by determining the current market value for the position. A article advises employers look at compensation data from sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics or websites like or to gain perspective. These resources, coupled with your knowledge about the candidate’s experience level will help you to make a competitive offer. Salary benchmarking within your organization will help guard against bringing in a new hire that will be starting at the height of your organization’s pay scale with nowhere to go in the future. A recent survey conducted at Bradley Staffing Group revealed compensation and benefits was the most important job satisfaction contributor among our top candidates. The same survey revealed that nearly 75% of those candidates would require no less than a $5,000 annual pay increase to consider leaving their current job for another position. Undervaluing a position will consistently cause you to lose top candidates in a competitive market.

Onboarding is EVERYTHING
According to an article written by Barb Bruno, recruiting trainer, speaker and author, the new trend in accepting counteroffers is not an immediate counteroffer, but one that happens later in the process. She mentions the issue of counteroffers being extended six months after a person leaves because the company has not found a replacement. This is where your organization’s onboarding process becomes crucial. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) onboarding is a prime opportunity for employers to win the hearts and minds of new employees. There are many creative ways that you can make an impression that will stay with them for the duration of their careers. Having the team take new employees to lunch off site is a great way to welcome them into the social fold. Giving new employees a basket that includes company logo merchandise sends the message that you are excited to have them be part of the team and want them to be proud to work for your organization.

Onboarding software company Click Boarding, compiled some statistics that make a strong case for creating a comprehensive onboarding program in your organization:

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
  • New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.
  • Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new-hire productivity.

Don’t delay
Despite the competitive nature of the job market, the hiring process seems to be taking longer than ever. The average time to fill a job has increased to 68 days. In our experience, when high performing candidates decide to begin a job search, they are often inundated by LinkedIn InMails, calls and requests to connect. If your offer or even your request for an interview does not come in a timely fashion, you are very likely to lose those most desired candidates to other organizations. Through social media, candidates are able to review the hiring processes of many companies. Your organization may earn a reputation for having a long hiring process and result in the fewer high-quality applicants, and candidate drop off. There is a good chance that the most sought-after candidates are interviewing with your competition. Even if they like your company better, they may not pass up an offer from another employer in the hopes that they will get one from your company.

You may find yourself in the position where you are receiving an employee’s resignation notice and have to decide if you should extend a counteroffer to make them stay. As recruiters working with A-level candidates, we are often in a position where we must remind them of the dangers of accepting counteroffers. If the primary reason for making a change was job dissatisfaction, and that issue is unaddressed, the offer is irrelevant. Statistics show that the average person who accepts a counteroffer ends up leaving his or her job within six months anyway. Retention will still be an issue. There is also a risk of resentment on the part of other employees at the idea that a coworker was rewarded for giving notice. Some companies have a policy of never extending counteroffers and others do it with more regularity. If an employee wants to leave your organization, there is value in finding out why they’re leaving, and if there are improvements you can make to deter it from happening in the future. Just be careful that you’re not simply throwing money at the situation to buy their happiness in what may only be a temporary solution.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike.


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