How, as the new employer, can you respond to a counter offer?

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As an employer, it can be frustrating when you’ve almost secured your preferred candidate and – at the last minute – they receive a counter offer from their current employer.

In fact, 50 per cent of candidates will be presented with a counter offer when they hand in their resignation. For those that accept the counter offer, 90 per cent will then leave their current employer in the following 12 months. Nevertheless, you’re left feeling like you’ve missed out on the opportunity to bring a talented new member of staff on board.

When considering how to respond to a counter offer, it’s essential that you consider why the applicant was looking for a new role, and the differences between yourself and their current employer. Counter offers are much more common when there are skills shortages, as employers are looking to reduce the time and money required to hire a new member of staff. So, with a better understanding of the candidate’s needs and desires, you may just be able to swing the odds in your favour.

Challenge financial incentives

An increased salary is the most common counter offer, but there are a great number of personal reasons why the employee may have been planning to leave in the first place. Take advantage of this – regardless of whether you can match the salary – and reinforce your offer of a fantastic work environment and the chance to work with a talented team of professionals.

Acknowledge long-term loyalty

Perhaps the employee has worked at their current employer for 10 or 20 years. They’re hardworking, trustworthy and know the company inside out. How can you compete with this and persuade the candidate to swap their comfortable career for a fresh start with you? By demonstrating your opportunities for long-term career progression, of course.

Demonstrate career progression

The candidate’s current employer may well be making a counter offer to avoid the time and money investment required to recruit a replacement. To an extent, this is understandable, but seize the opportunity to remind the candidate why you can offer more – whether that’s ongoing training, career progression or employee benefits.

Keep up appearances

If your candidate currently plays a key role, there’s a chance that their current company’s reputation could be on the line if they leave. If their current employer is one of your direct competitors, this problem may intensify. But when the situation is handled in a professional manner, there should be no need for serious concern.

About the author

Lucy Evans is an Executive Recruitment Consultant specialising within the Wealth Management industry. She works for Heat Recruitment, a specialist recruitment agency based in Bristol operating across the UK that specialise in EngineeringInformation TechnologyInsuranceFinancial Services and the Legal sector. They place candidates in both permanent and contract roles.

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