Talent Management • 3 min reading

What to do when a candidate receives counteroffers?

After investing a lot of time, money, and effort into recruiting talent, you think you’ve finally found the gem you’ve been looking for. After receiving your offer, the candidate gets back to you, stating that their current employer has made them a more interesting counteroffer, thus declining the invitation to join your team.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Several participants in our Live Discussions have shared their experiences on this subject. So, do you know how to react when a candidate receives a counteroffer? Are you well prepared for it?

Why worry about counteroffers?

This phrase has been on everyone’s lips lately: the labour shortage. That’s already one good argument for worrying about the counteroffer phenomenon, which is likely to become more and more frequent in the context of a candidate-focused job market. Indeed, while 44.8% of hiring managers believe this is not a long-term solution, this outbidding tendency is on the rise.

To illustrate the situation, here’s some recent data. It’s estimated that these days, around 54% of employees are offered a new job when they aren’t even looking for one. A quarter of these employees then look to receive a counteroffer from their current employer. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 55% of counteroffers are accepted.

How can you make sure to put all the chances on your side?

If you don’t want to go through a bidding war, you obviously need to adopt a strategy to limit the damage. While every situation is different, the following few tips can be applied to most of them.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the interview. During the interview, it’s important to question and listen to the candidate in order to understand the reasons that led them to coming to you and to considering changing jobs. Here’s an example of questions that could guide the interview:

  • What are the elements that could be improved in their current job?
  • What are their career goals?
  • What are the working conditions they’re looking for?
  • What are their passions?
  • What are the aspects that attract them most to a business, to a job?
  • How will their current manager receive their resignation?

In short, take an interest in them. Take notes and see if you can use this information to present them with a personalized offer centered on their expectations. You can even ask them directly if they would accept a counteroffer from their current employer.

Present your best offer from the outset

To avoid aimless negotiations, present your best offer from the get-go ,and do so in a transparent manner. The offer should be clear and concise, and it should highlight the benefits the candidate would enjoy if they accepted it.

Take advantage of this moment to:

  • Showcase your strengths;
  • Highlight your corporate culture;
  • Mention the flexibility offered by the company, and anything else that could make you stand out;
  • Emphasize the importance of the position;
  • Emphasize the new role and the new team if the candidate is looking for new challenges;
  • Remind the candidate of their initial reasons for meeting you.

Indeed, the issues of interest often go beyond the salary. The candidate will be more inclined to accept your offer if the job in question promises to give them purpose, motivation and recognition.

Follow up with the candidate

Regular follow-up makes the candidate feel valued. However, it should be noted here that the talent acquisition process should be quick and straightforward for an optimal candidate experience.

Before their start date:

  • Offer them a meeting with their colleagues and an office visit;
  • Invite them to a less formal activity so that they can interact with future members of their team in a friendly context;
  • Offer your support for the job transition period.

In short, show your enthusiasm for the candidate joining your team.

What to do if you’re losing candidates to counteroffers?

If, despite all your efforts, candidates still seem to be getting away due to counteroffers, it may be time to question your employer brand.

As mentioned in that piece, you can also look to your current employees to act as ambassadors. Indeed, it has been shown that employees have three times more impact than managers when it comes to talking about the working conditions of a company.

If recruitment still represents a challenge for you after trying all these strategies, it may be worth it for you to turn to experienced talent hunters. Indeed, the latter are generally skilled at building relationships with candidates and at carrying out regular follow-up. They also ensure the commitment of the desired employee to the process and the compatibility between the candidate and your organization.

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