One of the most frustrating parts of the recruiting process can be where you find a great candidate, but as you make the offer they decide to pull out after accepting a counter offer from their current company.
In truth, considering the current climate where employers are struggling to hire and retain critical talent, you should not be surprised to see more and more employers adopting aggressive counter offer strategies to ensnare their top talent and to prevent them absconding to the competition.
Arguably, counter offers from their present employer could be a bigger threat than offers from other external competitors. So, employers would be wise to develop strategies to address potential counter offers and I have outlined them below.
1. School the candidate about potential counter offers early in the interview process
Counter offers can catch candidates by surprise and this can leave them at a disadvantage and open to persuasion to stay with the employer. So, prepare your most promising candidates by making them aware that they may receive a counter offer and that they should be ready for it. Forewarned is forearmed.
2. Try to find how out ready they are to leave
Try to ascertain how committed the candidate is to actually leaving the employer. If they don’t make the right noises and appear committed to leave, you might favour another equally promising candidate who has more conviction. Equally, it could help you to design an offer that is more resistant to a counter offer from their former employer.
The sort of questions you can ask to help ascertain their commitment to leaving are:
- Can you explain to me your reasons for wanting to leave? Money? Career Development? Other?
- Have you tried asking for more money or a promotion?
- If not, why not?
- If so, what did they say?
- What does our role offer you that you don’t have presently?
- Which parts of this role or company inspire you or are you passionate about?
- When was your last pay rise or promotion?
- When was your last personal or career discussion with your manager?
- Do you think they will make you a counter offer and what would make you accept it?
3. Find out how prepared they are to deal with the pressure of resigning
It is also worth trying to find out if they are prepared to handle the anxiety, pressure, conflict and potential alienation that they can face when resigning. You can them coach them on strategies to deal with the potential fallout surrounding resignation. You can ask questions such as:
- Do you think your manager will be surprised when you tell them you are leaving? How do you think you will respond to this?
- Does the prospect of resigning concern you?
- How do you feel your manager will respond to your resignation? How do you think you will respond?
4. Give them your personal number so they can call you at any time
It can be a very lonely time for a candidate in the run up to, during and after resignation. Provide the candidate with your mobile number and/direct line and tell them they can call you any time if they have any questions or concerns or just need some support. This will be very reassuring and help to address any anxiety around the offer.
5. Encourage them to call you right after they have resigned.
This is the acutest point when the candidate is most isolated (and most vulnerable to a counter offer) so engage with them at this time to show your organization is there and ready and waiting for them.
6. Keep the candidate looking forwards not backwards
To combat any potential wavering and looking backwards, keep your candidate focused on the future and working for you. Send them press releases, put them on the company mailing list, invite them to socials, have a scheduled welcome dinner, have HR call them for payroll details, have finance call for pension/401K arrangements, have the office manager call for seating preferences. Have as many people as possible contact them during the post resignation period to keep them focused on looking forwards. Ideally, talk to the candidate on a daily basis throughout the notice period.
Preparing a candidate for a counter offer, supporting them during the resignation process and keeping them looking forwards, onwards and upwards during the notice period are three crucial strategies for combating counter offers.