Like an illness or anything that will cause you harm, an ounce of prevention is the best medicine. In the case of counteroffers, the sooner you reach an understanding about this subject with your candidates, the better. This means finding out if they have ever accepted a counteroffer in the past and if so, why. Even in times like now where you might think a candidate is less likely to consider a counteroffer, the best and the brightest are always in demand. Don't find yourself behind the eight ball when each and every placement is critical to your business. You also don't want to lose a placement to a counteroffer because it can be detrimental to your client relationship.
Why do people consider counteroffers?
The Selection Process
Surprisingly, a lot of people say they seriously consider counteroffers because of how they were treated during the whole selection process. Lack of communications, poor or disappointing interviews, and long delays in the decision-making are just a few of the reasons identified. There's nothing more frustrating than sitting around waiting to hear back about an interview. As a recruiter you can't always control the response rate from your client but you can let the candidate know you are staying on top of things and keeping them in the loop.
The compensation package is obviously another reason counteroffers are considered. If the offer is not very enticing, candidates are going to look more seriously at someone else's proposal. Make sure you know exactly what the candidate is looking for in terms of the actual job and earnings so you can set the expectation levels on both sides ahead of time and head off any unhappy surprises.
Third Party Input
Words of advice from family, colleagues and references also influence a candidate's opinion about a job. You've got to sell, sell, sell the job and the company - and not just to the prospect. For example, when you are talking to their references, be enthusiastic and let them know what a great opportunity this is. They are much more likely to respond favorably if asked their opinion about the job.
Raising Objections to Counteroffers
You have to be careful here. It's perfectly all right to inform candidates about the pitfalls and downside to accepting counteroffers but you don't want to come off so aggressive it's a turn-off and you sound like sour grapes. Here are a couple of facts to arm yourself with when it comes to "battling" counteroffers:
Taking the above steps doesn't guarantee a candidate won't entertain and/or accept a counteroffer, but at least you know you did what you could to head it off and help preserve the relationship with your corporate client.