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Counter offer season.......

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  • Divisional Manager


With the economy taking a move in the right direction, it is no surprise that companies will be looking to retain their staff to cope with their bursting workloads. As a result, a term recruiters will have to start dealing with on a daily basis is ‘Counter Offer’. Having been in the industry for 10 years it is a term I know well from the previous economy boom back in 2006 & 2007.

How do you prepare for this? What ammunition do you have to overcome this should it happen?


If you don’t ask the question, then don’t be surprised if the answer comes up and bites you on the backside later down the line. Candidate control is going to be key during any upturn in the economy and if you don’t give yourself a chance to know about an objection, you have no chance to overcome it. Be thorough in your candidate qualification so that you are aware of the candidates’ motivations, but more importantly so you can choose whether to work with the candidate or not.

Wasting your valuable time by working vacancies or candidates with the wrong motivations is your biggest threat to your success as a recruiter, not necessarily how well the economy is performing. Be brave, the best recruiters will only work with candidates who are motivated to move for the right reasons - Career progression / glass ceilings, lack of projects, location, working environment, clashes with management, are words you want to hear to know counter offer is less of a risk!


If you do get into a situation where a candidate is tempted by counter offer, which I am sure you will at some point, it’s time to give your candidate some food for thought……


  1. After resigning, you have made your employer aware that you were looking and unhappy. Your loyalty will now always be in question.

-When promotion/raise time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.

-When making difficult decisions about cut-backs, the company may begin with those that are deemed less loyal.

  1. Where was the extra money for a counter-offer at during your last performance review? Most companies have strict wage/salary guidelines and you are probably just giving away your next raise early or giving your employer time to hire someone in your place.
  2. What type of company do you want to work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?
  3. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider making a change, almost always reoccur within the next 6-12 months.


  1. Once the word gets out, the relationship you now enjoy with co-workers will never be the same. You lose personal satisfaction of the peer group acceptance.
  2. Accepting a Counter-Offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, to simply be bought at the last minute.
  3. Accepting counter-offers after already accepting another position burns bridges with other companies, your recruiter, and ultimately shows all 3 parties that you can be bought.

Another thing that has worked well for me in the past if a counter offer does occur is to get your candidate speaking with someone you have previously placed at the company to get a true sense of what life is like there (make sure you pick someone who has good things to say obviously!). In this scenario the candidate will feel more open to ask questions around their objections as they won’t feel it is an interview scenario.  

Counter Offers are part and parcel an improving economy, so enjoy that fact! The key is not to cut corner, qualify thoroughly and only work with those candidates that are committed to moving on.


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