On a recent trading group call, Scott Love of GreatRecruiterTraining.com gave a presentation on counteroffers. For a recruiter, it is crushing to have a candidate who’s already accepted your client’s offer renege and accept a counteroffer from their current employer. You saw the light at the end of the tunnel, the placement fee was almost in your pocket, and now it’s back to the drawing board. What Scott Love told recruiters was: an easy way to keep candidates from taking counteroffers is to prevent the process. But how can you prevent it?
Have a conversation with the candidate — not the night before they’re putting their notice in, but earlier in the process, before or after the first interview. It behooves a recruiter to assess the risk of any candidate they are considering presenting to their client considering a counteroffer.
The likelihood of the candidate taking a counteroffer depends on their motive. Fear of change is the biggest killer in the recruiting field, so ask them flat out, “Before I present you to my client, can you actually see yourself moving forward in the next 30 to 90 days?” and “Is there anything that would keep you from it?” If they tell you “I’m prepared, I’m ready to move,” that would be someone to assess for the role early on.
Tell them the process – “I present you to my client, you interview, and if they like you, they will give you an offer. Can you see yourself resigning from your current company?” Once they realize and understand the process and timetable, it puts everything into perspective and they’re more likely to envision themselves making the move (or not being able to).
He often tells candidates that his role is to facilitate the process of the candidate and client getting to know each other, and if at any time the candidate is not interested, that’s fine, but he requests that they just be honest with him. If they have concerns, he wants them to tell him, not just disappear. He says the recruiter’s role is kind of like a pressure valve — not to put pressure on, but to remove it. To get into a candidate’s head and figure out if it’s a deal-killer.
Then, put them in a hypothetical scenario: “How do you think your employer will respond?” If they indicate they believe their employer will try to keep them, ask the candidate “How will you respond if they give you a counteroffer?” If the candidate seems to be at the point where they’re not sure, and their employer might be able to convince them to stay, you’re at risk. Scott Love advised not putting a candidate in the process if they have a high likelihood of taking a counteroffer.
If a candidate says they’d consider a counteroffer, it’s time to be honest and cut your losses. The way Scott goes about is telling candidates that he doesn’t want to put them in a position of permanent career damage, as accepting a counteroffer often instills a sense of distrust in the candidate’s current employer. Because the candidate was ready to leave, they will always be thinking that he or she is unhappy and/or looking for a new job, and are unlikely to promote that person.
How do you handle counteroffers when it comes to your candidates?