Hiring Tips: Prevent Losing Your Top Candidate to a Counter Offer

Some of the most important hiring tips hiring managers can heed when involved in startup recruitment are related to the prevention and handling of counter offers. Few things are more frustrating to hiring managers and recruiters than when they have spent the time and money to find the top candidate for a position, extend them an offer, and then lose the candidate to a counter offer from their current employer.

While the threat of a counter offer will not be removed completely (nothing is 100% when you are dealing with people!), the chances of your top candidate accepting one can be decreased if you follow the four tips below.

Four Tips On How to Avoid a Counter Offer
1. Find out the candidate’s true intentions for wanting to leave their current role. Often, the first answer which is given is not the true one. Take a deeper dive to try to understand the motivations of the candidate, so you will know whether the position at your company addresses their needs. If it does, this information will help you to make it clear to the candidate that the opportunity with your company fulfills what they were looking for when they began their job search.

2. Discuss the potential of a counter offer as soon as there is genuine interest in the candidate.
This may be as early as at the end of the first interview. Asking a candidate how they would react should they receive a counter offer is a good way to find out how serious they are about leaving their current company, and requests of them an increased level of commitment in the recruiting process.

3. Don’t get into a compensation war. You likely won’t win, and do not want a candidate to make a decision to join your company solely for this reason anyway. Make the candidate a fair offer and leave it at that. Let the candidate know you are making your best offer, and only offer, to remove the possibility of getting into a wage war.

4. Continue your relationship with the candidate after they accept your offer. The momentum and the candidate’s excitement about joining your company have likely been building throughout their interview process. Once the candidate has accepted your offer, resist the temptation to feel as though the hiring process is over. Check in with them to see how their current company responded when they put in their notice. Invite them to join in a company meeting or outing, include them in some emails related to projects they will be working on, and allow them to feel that they are transitioning to your team.

For additional information on handling and preventing counter offers, check out:
Careerbuilder for Employers
The IMPACT Hiring Solutions BlogAdweek

Diana Martz
Diana Martz
VP, Human Capital

Diana Martz is Vice President, Human Capital atTA Associates. She was previously the Director of Talent at OpenView.
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