MWA - Merlin Wright Associates

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    Managing a Counteroffer

    After a challenging recruitment search, a diligent interview process and many hours of your time, you have made a great offer to the top candidate. Then, they receive a counteroffer. So, what do you do next? 

    Expect a Counteroffer: 

    Addressing the potential of a counteroffer at interview stage is the best way to mitigate the situation. Always explore why the candidate would like to leave their current role; delve into their working values and long-term career goals. What are they hoping to get from a new position and why is it not achievable in their current role? You need to understand both the push factors (those encouraging a candidate to leave a job) and the pull factors (those enticing them to consider a new role).  

    Towards the end of the interview process, ask the final candidate the following questions:  

    1. What could your current company offer you that is as good as or better than our opportunity?  
    2. If you were offered the position with us, what would your boss say? How do you think they would react? And how would you manage this?
    3. We believe that there is mutual beneficial alignment here for both our company and your career. With this in mind, we would like to understand more about how you would handle a counteroffer?
    4. What would your employer’s motives be, if they made a counteroffer?
    5. Ask about their resignation process. It is important to prepare and walk the candidate through what this might look like. Ask the candidate about their resignation period, how the company usually manages staff resignations and whether counteroffers are commonplace.  

    Promote the Company Culture:  

    Over 50% of employees place a higher value on a company’s culture compared to salary. So, make sure the candidate understands why your company is a great place to work. Share insights into the following and more: how your company supports its team, how it celebrates success and how it supports those needing development and growth. Candidates join a company because of the bigger mission they are going to be part of. What does the future look like for the company, and wider industry? Most importantly, how they will play a part?


    Focus the Candidate’s Mind on the Long Term: 

    Here at MWA we follow a matrix process to document Year One and Beyond Year One qualities and objectives, so that the candidate is fully aware of what career changing benefits they are moving into. This is collated throughout the recruitment process and is something we would advise our clients to undertake. Ultimately, if the move does not represent a career step, then the candidate should not be considering the position. 


    Be Open & Encourage Communication: 

    Keep the momentum in the process and keep the communication and interface clear. Ensure both HR and line managers are in regular, open contact with the candidate. Encourage the candidate to engage with other colleagues, propose an informal lunch or coffee meeting with the team to build interest and allow first-hand experience of the team and culture. 

    Utilising the approaches above could help to avoid a counteroffer situation. They promote the sincerity of your interest in a top-quality candidate and can ignite their interest and connection with your company. Subconsciously, the approaches and topics above will lay the foundations for a trusting, respectful working relationship. One that begins even before an offer is made.  

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