On the seventh week of Christmas, my recruiter gave to me – Tips on how to manage a counter offer candidate!

Staying in a job you’re not entirely happy with is hard to do. Leaving your comfort zone, is even harder, and this is where a counter offer can strip a business of their perfect new hire in a hot minute!

So what is a counter offer? It’s an offer made by an existing employer, when an employee tries to resign from their position because they have found a new opportunity. Counter offers are rife in industries with severe skill shortages because employers know the difficulty of having to go looking for staff to replace resignations. They’ll offer the world to keep them.

When a candidate applies for your position, something has obviously triggered the potential move. Is it that they don’t have a quality work life balance? Is it money? The culture and team dynamics? It’s important to get to the bottom of the reason for leaving so you can do everything possible to avoid the dreaded counter offer.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re ahead of the counter offer game:

Ask the question in the interview – “what is it about your current workplace that you find challenging, that you want to ensure won’t be a problem here?”

A good candidate won’t whinge about their employer straight off the bat, but this is a valid question that will get them talking about their current experience and why they are leaving.

If their challenges will likely be the same working in your business, then you know it’s not worth pursuing them further, but if you know you can provide them with relief from these challenges, this is your time to shine, which brings us to our next point.

Sell your points of difference

As an example – If your candidate has found a lack of work life balance in their current position a real challenge, talk up how your business has made positive changes around this. Be specific about decisions that have been implemented that have directly impacted your existing team, and then also give insights into how those changes will benefit the candidate themselves.

The recruitment process is no longer just about the candidate selling themselves, its about the business selling themselves, too.

Ask them how their current employer would react to them resigning and whether they would accept a counter offer, if provided.

This can seem really forward, but its best to know in advance so you know what you’re working with. Some employees are very upfront with their current employers about leaving, and other resignations will come left of field – often resulting in counter offers.

If the employee accepts a counteroffer and pulls out of the job – keep things sweet.

It can seem like the ultimate betrayal when a candidate pulls out of a job offer but as we mentioned above, leaving their comfort zone can suddenly become difficult, especially when the old employer has promised the world to keep them.

Something to keep in mind – Statistically, according to global recruitment agency Hays Recruitment,  around 4% that accept a counter offer stay for less than 3 months and a staggering 21% only stay between three and 12 months.

Just 29%, on average, stay longer than 12 months!

Keeping the lines of communication open with that candidate might be useful sooner than you think!