Agency recruiting firms have long repeated the stories of employees accepting a counteroffer only to be fired weeks later. We have all heard the numbers. Eighty percent of employees accepting a counteroffer are gone within a year of accepting the deal. That doesn’t stop counteroffers from happening. More and more employers are using counteroffers as an active strategy. They have become aggressive during recent years.
At one time, many employers refused to make counteroffers. Instead they accepted the resignations and asked employees to pack up immediately. Where there was no competition to the recruiter, now there is an all-out battle with agency recruiting businesses. Companies are aware of the cost-to-hire, the cost of positions left vacant and most importantly how easy it is to offer a candidate a big increase that they will never fully payout. Employees are by nature willing to entertain the counteroffer as it means less change in their lives and if the employer is creating a perceive windfall, all the better. This change may be largely a result of the shortage of good employees. Employers, desperate to hang onto top talent in this tight labor market, have been increasing the use of the counteroffer. Yet experts agree, accepting a counter is typically a poor career move.
What are agency recruiters to do?
Those working the agency recruiting side of the equation need to prepare for the counteroffer on the initial candidate contact. Make sure you know the motivation for change and confirm it on every call to the candidate. The motivators are rarely just money. While the existing employer can beat the agency recruiter’s new job’s salary offer, they cannot effectively address poor company culture, bad managers, and the host of other reasons the candidate started a search with an agency recruiter in the first place.
What have you experienced? How many recent turn-downs are a result of a counteroffer? Are the wage increases significant? Have those accepting the counters stayed? How long? Do you see this in one industry or profession more often than in others?