How to counter the counter offer?
Why do some recruiters never seem to have candidates change their mind about job offers? The answer is their thoroughness in the interview process and their willingness to discount a candidate if they are not convinced about the candidate's intentions to move.
As the advent of non-traditional means of sourcing candidates become more prevalent, recruiters need to take more care in assessing a candidate's motivation to move. Candidates may be headhunted or sourced through social media. They may not have been looking but willing to “see what's out there”. It's a bit like when you go window shopping; you had not planned on buying, but naturally there is a chance you might see something that you like.
So what can you do to avoid sending a candidate to interview who ends up declining the job offer or withdrawing from the position leaving you red-faced having wasted both your time and the client's time?
Whilst a candidate may on the surface seem keen on moving, there are a number of key questions which must always be covered in the initial interview to decrease the chances of a candidate withdrawing from the position.
Here are some key questions to ascertain the candidate's intention and to help clarify in the candidate's mind what is important to them in moving:
- Why do you want to leave your current job? If they say, they want more money ask if they are offered more money to stay, whether they would. Likewise with most things they want e.g. shorter hours, more flexible working arrangements, more training, more coaching, more mentoring, more responsibility, less staff etc.
- Have you discussed this desire/ dissatisfaction with your boss? If not, why not? Or what was the outcome?
- How is your boss going to re-act when you resign? Will he/she offer you more money (see list in no 1).
- If he/she offers you more money, will you take it? You can advise your candidate that surveys have shown that if you are truly unhappy where you are, then money alone will not change anything and most leave after 6 months of accepting a counter offer.
- What are your values? See if the candidate's values correspond with your client company's values. E.g. if a candidate has a strong social conscience and your client offers time off every month for community work, this will help you get the placement across the line as the candidate's job/life satisfaction will be enhanced by joining your client.
- Why are you prepared to take a substantial drop in salary? (if this is the case) Work through with your candidate how much the drop means on a weekly basis. Ask if this represents any hardship to them; how will they replace those dollars if it does?
- What other jobs are you waiting to hear the outcome of? How does this job compare with those on a scale of 1-10?
Also always take into account whether the candidate applied to you, or you headhunted them; were they actually active in the job market; in other words were they shopping or even window shopping?
Whilst it's true that many candidates in a skills short market are not even looking and you have to spend your time searching for them in a resourceful way, it is also your duty to ensure that, they really want to make a move and that you are not just looking for a quick fix and avoiding asking the tough questions.
Your ability to assess the candidate's true motivation to move can be the difference between making the perfect match or a disaster for client and candidate. Attention in this area will pay off for you in the long run!