Counter the Counter Offer
After a grueling, time consuming process, you finally find your dream candidate, make
an offer, negotiate, and get them to accept.
Is their current employer going to just “let them go”?
In this climate, they are going to almost certainly make a counter-offer. After all, if they are as good as you think they are, their current employer doesn’t want to lose them.
If they let them go easily, would that be reason for concern? You’ve heard the term “war for talent”. What does that mean, exactly? Maybe it’s not war, per se. Most companies aren’t using spies, guns, and bombs.
It’s certainly a serious competition, though.
Your career is on the line, after all. You can’t reach your goals without the talent you
need in your company.
t’s a very emotional decision to leave a company. It’s right up there with death and
divorce in the most difficult things people face.
When the currrent employer shows visible disappointment, gives a big fat raise, tells
them about all the “big plans for them in the future”, gives them a promotion, and they
don’t have to leave….it’s very appealing. It’s always risky….the whole “devil you
So how do you successfully compete so you land this person and fend off a counter-
On the front end, make them feel like they are already part of the team.
• Make sure your candidate has sufficient motivation to make a change. This should
happen before the offer is made, along with them confirming they will not consider a
counter-offer. Hopefully you have created a lot of excitement about the job with your candidates.
● Give them a draft of a resignation letter that does not allow room for a counter offer.
Keep them involved in their new business from they day they accept. Have someone contact them every couple days. Have them choose their phone, computer, business cards and other work-
related items. Give them company Swag. Give them projects to begin reviewing. Have the hiring manager call about current projects to “keep them in the loop”.
• Have a “welcome party” dinner before they even start. It’s easy if they are local, but if relocating, schedule this welcome party with spouses/significant others and involve the entire management team. Make them the VIP guest and reserve a room at a nice restaurant.
● A signing bonus goes a long way towards fending off a counter-offer. Most counters don’t include
One thing is for sure….if you aren’t paying attention to them….if they are just left in the dark while they work out their notice period, you are at risk of losing them.
If they do receive and accept a counter-offer, what then? Do you throw up your hands and say something like “well, now we know their true character”?
Do you just give up and let them go? Or do you go back and secure them? I’d say if they were the right person before the offer, they are still the right person and you need to go
get them. Show them that you want them.
● Get the management team together and have them visit again, or at least have a conference call and reinforce all of the reasons why this is better than what he has. Pour on the love.
• Probe why they decided to accept the counter offer.
• Ask what it would take to get them to join your team.
• Offer a signing bonus &/or bump the pay.
• Reinforce the career path and all of the awesome reasons this is a great opportunity for them.
You won’t win them all, but you certainly can win a lot of them.
If they accept your counter-counter, you will almost certainly land them. Most companies won’t counter twice.
This is absolutely a competition. Who is going to win? Happy Hunting.
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