You’ve spent many hours sorting through résumés and interviewing candidates. You narrow the field to your top three applicants, bring them in for a final interview, make your decision and your offer…. And it’s accepted!
The next day, the candidate calls to tell you his current company has made a counteroffer and he’s decided to stay where he is. Obviously you have two other strong candidates to choose from, but is there something you could have done to avoid this situation?
- Once you’ve begun collecting résumés, keep things moving at a quick pace. Waiting weeks to begin interviews and then spending too long selecting candidates for second interviews can seem like a red flag to applicants.
- Early in the interview process, talk about why the candidate is leaving his or her current job and the possibility of a counteroffer. Author Paul Falcone suggests finding out if money is a primary motivator. The question of counteroffers fits nicely into the discussion about the work the prospect is currently doing and why they’re planning to leave. If the candidate indicates that compensation is a large part of the equation, Falcone suggests that you advise him to discuss his needs with his boss now. “Joe, why don’t you go back and speak with your department head about your needs before we go any further? If you get the extra money that you’re looking for, then you’ll have to agree that my suggestion was good for your career. On the other hand, if you don’t get the added compensation that you’re looking for, then call me back and I’ll address our offer a little more seriously.”
- Be passionate about your organization and the job. Don’t sugarcoat, but do be enthusiastic about the great things your company has to offer.
- Handle hiring paperwork quickly. While you do want to give candidates time to consider the offer you make, be sure that the offer letter reaches the candidate the same day you make the verbal offer. Delays in getting this paperwork out leave room for candidates to change their mind or secure counteroffers. Quick, efficient handling also shows the candidate that getting them on board is a priority for you.
- Stay in touch with the candidate after you’ve made the offer and they’ve accepted it. Let them know about new things happening at the company. Email press releases. Have your HR department call to touch base (this is in addition to, not instead of, your own personal contact). Or call and invite them to lunch before their actual start date. These contacts can help keep your candidate mentally involved from the get-go.
Just finding and hiring the perfect job candidate can be tricky and time-consuming enough. Don’t let counteroffers from existing employers undermine your efforts. Anticipate these offers and counteroffer-proof your candidates … and don’t let your recruitment efforts be derailed.