Counteroffers In The Candidate-Driven Market

In what has shifted to a very clear candidate-driven market, candidates have more opportunity for choice among the offers they are fielding. At a quick glance, this is great news for those who have been slogging through a difficult last few years. Since the recession took hold, the market has been largely employer-driven, giving companies the opportunity to be selective about who they bring on board.

A deeper look uncovers a much more unwelcome trend. As with any candidate-driven market, the incidence of candidates accepting counteroffers and/or reneging on offers tends to increase. This is detrimental to both the company hiring and the candidate who experiencing second thoughts. On the company side, there are costs associated with advertising and recruiting for a position. In addition, there is the cost of time spent on interviewing. The interviewing cycle takes time away from completing company initiatives. For those companies, this process needs to begin all over again.

And what of the candidate? It would be easy to assume that they have made the best decision for themselves. Whether it’s a larger compensation package, a more senior level position, or some other factor, the candidate seems to have set themselves up for success. Except, it’s not always exactly true. There is plenty of discussion on why accepting counter-offers are not good decisions. And does it sometimes work out for the candidate? Sure. But that doesn’t make it universally advantageous. So, consider a few points before you go forward with accepting an offer after you have committed to an employer:

  • Your Reputation Is Damaged. The recruiting community in many cities is a very closely knit one. Trust me on this. These are communities where recruiters share information about candidates, current searches, and other things that they have encountered. And this isn’t just griping. It’s how recruiters learn from one another. But it’s also a way for them to protect the interests of the company that they work for. For example, If I’m aware that a candidate I’m speaking with has reneged on an already-accepted offer, I can assure you I will not be proceeding forward with them. And if they did it to me and come back later on, that’s a no-go too.
  • What’s really changed? Sure, you are making some more money now. Maybe you have a new title. But what else has changed? Some of those same headaches and frustrations are still going to be there. Just because you are in a higher tax bracket, the problems that caused you to look in the first place largely still remain.
  • The counter-offer is really for the current employer’s benefit. By spending a little extra money for you now, they avoid a loss of productivity and the need to recruit for your role – for right now. Psychologically, they know people like to avoid big life changes, and this money buys that sense of security. (hmm, I wonder if that counter-offer was your next raise coming to you early?)
  • Think about your integrity. We each need to live with ourselves each at the end of each day when our head hits the pillow. And our integrity is one thing we have 100% complete control over. Think about how important your integrity is to you.

It’s OK to ask for extra time to review and compare offers. The employer will tell you if they have a hard deadline. It can never hurt to ask. This extra time gives you the opportunity to evaluate and weigh the pros and cons of all your opportunities without making a rash decision. This may be a decision with the potential to come back to haunt you down the road.

 

This post originally appeared on Careers In Government

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