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The Dreaded Counteroffer

Imagine a situation where the perfect candidate accepts a job offer. Your entire team is excited for the help they have been waiting for and have started making first day preparations for the new hire. Then, the dreaded call comes – the candidate has accepted a counteroffer from the current employer. The candidate had legitimate reasons for finding a new job and was shocked when a counteroffer was presented. Now his head is filled with thoughts of instant gratification, promotion, comfortability and most importantly – more money!

Over the past 10 years, nearly 50% of candidates who quit their job received a counteroffer and over half of those accepted the counteroffer. This means employers stand to lose 1 out of every 4 candidates that have accepted their job offer. To combat losing candidates in today’s labor market, it is imperative that employers prepare candidates for the possibility of a counteroffer.

  • Understand the Risk: Find out how serious the candidate is in finding a new job.  A passive candidate is much more vulnerable to a counteroffer.
  • Address It: Speak of the counteroffer early and often, and do not be naïve in thinking candidates will not receive one. Inform candidates that it is not a matter of if it will come, but when it will come. Ask candidates to put thought into a response if the situation occurs.
  • Identify the Pain Points: Money is important, but there are underlying reasons why a candidate is unhappy. Find the pain points a candidate has with their current employer and use it to sell them on the new opportunity.
  • Counter the Counter: Hit candidates with some facts on counteroffers. For example, 80% of candidates who accept a counteroffer from their current employer will ultimately leave anyway. Provide candidates with additional articles on why accepting a counteroffer almost never works out.

There is no fool proof method to perfectly prevent a counteroffer, but being open, honest and up-front will significantly decrease the number of candidates who fall victim to the often-inevitable reality. Even the best recruiters lose out to counteroffers. No matter what, do not stop sourcing & screening until you know a candidate has given notice and is on their way out the door.

For expert advice on how to protect your candidates against a counteroffer, contact one of the HR professionals at EctoHR. The EctoHR team is available at 810-534-0170 or

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