Fight Back Against a Counter Offer

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You’ve worked hard to land your top candidate. Her initial resume submission resulted from careful sourcing efforts and a well-targeted post, and after falling love with her credentials, you’ve kept your fingers crossed throughout her series of interviews, company tours, salary negotiations, and the drafting of your all-important final offer. Her signature is now on the dotted line, her start is set for two weeks from today, and you’re in the clear…right?

Not exactly. After providing their current employers with two week’s notice, candidates are often presented with counter offers that can be extremely difficult to resist. So how should you respond when a frantic employee calls to tell you that her current boss will provide anything—including a double digit salary increase—in order to keep her on the team? Here are a few things you can say to gently nudge your candidate out the door of her current company.

1. Remind your candidate why she decided to leave in the first place. In order to possess this information, you’ll have to ask for it during the interview process, and you’ll have to listen carefully to her answer and take notes. When the counter offer comes in, remind her about her long commute, or the stifling environment, the limited room for growth, the impossible boss, or the draining culture at her current workplace. She should recognize that these problems won’t go away overnight.

2. Let her know that despite her current employer’s current enthusiasm, he won’t forget that she once expressed interest in leaving. Down the road, her questionable loyalty may be provide a reason to cut her position or pass her over for a promotion—salary raise or no salary raise.

3. Let her know that opportunity only knocks once (even if you’re bluffing). If she says no to this position in your organization, she may not have another chance here. Explain to her that this kind of job doesn’t become available very often, and the next time she applies here, she may not have such an easy time stepping in the door. Make sure she’s prepared to live with potential regrets.

For more information on how to counter a counteroffer and shepherd a candidate safely through the application, hiring, and onboarding process, contact the Little Rock staffing and management experts at CSS.

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