Believe it or not, there are candidates out there who will put themselves through what most people see as a challenging, stressful interview process purely to draw a counter offer from an existing employer and stay in their job on an improved package – wasting everyone’s time. They see this is as a win/win situation – they don’t have to make a new start somewhere else, can coast securely where they were, but on better compensation. We’re here to tell you that it’s actually a lose/lose scenario.
Firstly, from the employer’s perspective, while we agree that staff retention is hugely important, any employee that interviews elsewhere, often with a competitor, to elicit a counter offer is clearly not happy where they are. They also don’t feel that they have a solid enough relationship with their superiors to bring up the subject of compensation, either in or outside of an appraisal.
Is an unhappy employee who can’t maturely discuss his or her own future really someone you want to be making a counter offer for? Do you know that compensation is the real issue and that they won’t leave six months down the line for a different reason? Top performers don’t quit to get a pay rise.
Secondly, from the candidate angle, accepting counter offers is a poor strategy. You’ve waved a huge flag to let your employer know you’re not happy and worse, now given them plenty of time to consider your ultimate replacement and transition your role elsewhere.
Employers hate a resignation that comes out of the blue, but someone who has signalled their intent so clearly has realistically just given them plenty of notice of their intention. Then there’s your integrity and reputation to consider. Word travels fast in any sector, so do you really want to be that person?
This lose/lose scenario is easily avoided by being open when it comes to communication. It’s not uncommon that a candidate looking to move may have multiple irons in the fire. The trick is to keep them all genuine and not use any for leverage. Bear in mind that hiring managers know other hiring managers and recruiters work on lots of mandates. There’s nothing wrong with a recruiter knowing you are also talking to X and considering an offer from Y – chances are they will find out anyway! A true professional won’t waste anyone’s time.
Our top 3 tips on how to minimise the chances of a counter offer happening:
- Discuss the candidate’s main reasons for leaving – if they are purely financial, the candidate is more likely to be swayed by a counter offer
- Bring up the counter offer scenario during the interview process, prepping the candidate about they might best handle it.
- Increase contact with the candidate through the end stages of the hiring process, having the candidate meet future team members and feel like they are already transitioning.