Article main image
Jan 6, 2016
This article is part of a series called Ask Barb.

Dear Barbara:

I’ve recently lost four placements because my candidates accepted counteroffers. Three of them accepted a counteroffer more than eight weeks after they started. I cover the topic of counteroffer immediately after I extend an offer and email an article about the negative impact of accepting a counteroffer. Do you have any other suggestions how to prevent this from happening again?

Danielle B., Dallas, TX

Dear Danielle:Ask Barb

The following are five solutions which will drastically reduce counteroffers.

  1. When you are interviewing a candidate and want to uncover their real reason for talking to you, ask them the following question: “If you were your boss, give me five changes you would make.” This question uncovers the real reason they are contemplating a career move. If the only changes they list are money and advancement, they will accept a counteroffer. You need to suggest they meet with their employer and attempt to obtain their next raise and promotion. If they don’t get the raise and promotion, you have a viable candidate.
  2. Cover the topic of counteroffer in your initial interview. You will be amazed how many candidates will admit they would accept a counteroffer if one was extended. You need to walk away and surface another candidate.
  3. If the candidate insists they will not accept a counteroffer if one was extended, ask them to give you the reason why (in their words). Draw a square on your application form and write down verbatim what they say. When a counteroffer is extended, you read them their own words. This brings them back to the other reasons they were contemplating a change, which cannot be solved by a promotion and raise.
  4. Always discuss the lack of trust They might forgive the fact that you were out interviewing with other companies, but they never forget. When another opportunity becomes available in the company will they offer it to you or someone they know has been 100% loyal to them?
  5. Follow-up, follow-up and follow-up. Your job begins after the candidate accepts the offer. Walk them through their resignation, give them samples of resignation letters and have them fill out tax papers or benefit papers before their start date to align them to your client’s company. If at all possible have their new boss take them to lunch prior to their start date.

The new trend in counteroffers is not an immediate counteroffer, but one that happens on day 13 of a two week resignation or 30 days after the person starts their new job. We have seen counteroffers being extended 6 months after a person leaves, because they have not found a replacement. You must mentor and guide this new employee through their first year with the company. You have to become their trusted adviser so you can uncover any problem areas.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

This article is part of a series called Ask Barb.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!