Counteroffers – Come Together, Right Now…..

I had been thinking alot about how the job market has been rather competitive as of late, and started thinking about counteroffers, as I began to hear more about them. As I was perusing Twitter the other day, I found a gold nugget that brought me back a few years.  Seriously, what did we do before Twitter? I think we waited overnight for news and trends about our respective industries or something like that.

I happened to stumble on a great blog post from Kristina McDougall (I highly recommend the follow on Twitter), about how we’re starting to see the return of the counteroffers and “tire-kickers” in their full glory, a la the great tech boom of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I suspect that it’s like the infamous killer animals, the Poison Dart Frog and the Box Jellyfish, where people tend to shiver when they hear about these. I digress…..I think Kristina did a great job of walking through the things you should talk to the “tire-kickers” about to vet them out, and do the heavy lifting early on to avoid being window shopped.

And in reality at the end of the day, I think counteroffers will only ebb and flow,  but never disappear. So what’s the fix? The burden of responsibility probably lies with both the recruiter and the candidate. But what can each side do to reduce the chances that a counteroffer will interfere with things?  For starters, both sides need to work together in a relationship-driven, and not a transaction-driven model.  Everyone will feel more engaged. With engagement comes trust.

Here are a few ideas:

Recruiters

  • Be upfront. Talk about the potential pain areas of the role or company, while still accentuating the positive aspects of the organization. Trying to sell everyone sunshine and butterflies only ends up making you look silly, and your candidates know it.
  • Discuss early on the potential that there could be a counteroffer, and discuss this with your candidate. Don’t dance around it. It is an uncomfortable situation, without a doubt. However, it’s not quite as uncomfortable as having to tell a manger or client that the candidate that was hired is suddenly not going to be there for Death By Powerpoint orientation.
  • Don’t badmouth the current company that the candidate works for. It’s cheap and doesn’t make you look any better.

Candidates:

  • Be upfront. Talk to me about why you are really looking. Tell me what you make, and what you want to make going forward.  The more I know about your motivations and what you are looking for, the more I can do in working with managers to get that for you. Skip this, and we’re all just gambling.
  • If you are unhappy now, it’s probably not just about money.  So, more money isn’t going to solve whatever is making want to leave there.
  • Know that if you accept a counteroffer, you are wielding irreparable damage on your relationship with this recruiter. The chances that they will work with you in the future are very slim. If it is a successful and well-networked recruiter, remember that word travels fast.
  • If you accept a counteroffer, know that it is something that will forever be linked with you at your company. Companies rarely give out unexpected sums of money under duress without it being followed by some type of angst.

At the end of the day, if both candidates and recruiters get on the same page with one another from the beginning, we will see fewer  “tire-kickers” and counteroffers accepted.

Feel free to comment on what other things each side can do to reduce the potential for an 11th hour fiasco.

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