The Challenge of Counteroffers: Why Employers Need to Beware

It’s a situation nearly every employer has faced: they extend a job offer, it’s accepted, and then a short time later, the candidate gets back in touch to decline the position – deciding instead to take a counteroffer to remain in their current job.

Whether it’s a case of receiving more money to stay, or a fear of change or concern about job security amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing an increasing number of counteroffers being accepted of late. This is not only frustrating to an employer trying to fill a key role, but it leaves them back at square one, again conducting a job search instead of focusing on getting the job done.

Protecting yourself from a counteroffer

There are a number of proactive steps employers can take to prevent being blindsided by a counteroffer. Many involve having open and honest discussions with candidates, particularly during the interview process.

It’s important to ask a candidate why they’re looking for a new job. If their interest is merely about making more money, that could be a red flag; employees often use job offers to seek a raise from their current employer.

If it’s not about money, make certain their reasons align with both the position and your organization. If they don’t, move on; if they do, share the benefits of how working with your organization matches their career goals.

Finally, ask a candidate point-blank what they would do if they received a counteroffer. Putting them on the spot gives you a chance to explain how accepting one could hurt their career, and there is a host of data to back that up.

Keeping counteroffers from harming your business

Even if you’ve done your due diligence, an employer can be surprised by a candidate accepting a counteroffer. So how can you minimize the impact on your organization? The best way is to have another candidate waiting in the wings – a strong backup that enables you to fill the position quickly if the initial choice backs out.

In addition, don’t make the mistake of being swayed by a candidate that uses a counteroffer to try to renegotiate the compensation package that’s been offered. Say goodbye and don’t look back. That person has demonstrated they are a flight risk, and you’re lucky to have found out before they started.

Avoiding the adverse impact of counteroffers

The best defense against counteroffers is a good offense; namely, ensuring you’re doing all the right things during your recruiting, screening, interviewing, and onboarding processes. It starts with building a strong employer brand, highlighting the reasons why high-performing employees should want to work for your organization. It includes providing a great candidate experience, from the moment they submit a resume, to their interview, to the day they accept a job offer. And it means making someone feel welcome immediately upon deciding to join your company.

The expert team at Alaant can assist your organization in any and all of these areas. Contact us today and let’s get started on helping you attract, acquire, engage and retain a great workforce!

About the Author

Miriam Dushane

Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner

Miriam is all in when it comes to doing whatever she can to help the Capital District grow and thrive. She is passionate about helping talented professionals find the right job and her work in the community is focused on furthering our area as a center of economic vitality. Miriam likes to garden and care for her pets. She is a member of an adult-only skate group where she rollerblades every week. She loves the Mets! And she is obsessed with vacuum cleaners; she really likes to vacuum and has 6 right now.