As employers, many of us will have been in the position that we’ve made a job offer to what we believe is the perfect candidate but two days later they come back to us to say that they’ve been offered a better role internally or more money with their current employers.

This kind of thing is actually more common than you might think. Most people don’t intend to hand in their notice just to be able to engineer a pay rise. Sometimes it will just happen and they will be shocked and not sure how to handle it, and in some cases they might decide that it’s ‘better the devil you know’ so they might opt to stay put. It’s important to remember that their current employers will have got to know them well and are in a strong position to use that existing relationship to try to convince them to stay. In reality, the cost to any business of losing a member of staff goes beyond the actual salary, especially when you factor in the training and development that may have been provided and the fees associated with recruiting. If you find that you’re competing with a counter offer, it can be worth matching the salary.

However, this isn’t helpful if you are the one looking to hire a new member of staff. So, what can you do about this? We believe that there are three fundamentals here:

  1. Make sure that the candidate has a really good experience throughout the interview process, and therefore sees you and the business in a positive light.
  2. Ensure that you introduce them to a few colleagues to start building relationships and forming that sort of camaraderie that many people look for and thrive on. Meeting and engaging with their future co-workers can help them to start envisaging themselves working with you.
  3. Request that your recruiter, talent manager or whoever is making the initial contact asks them how they would respond if they were to be offered the post with you but then received a counter offer from their current employer. This will allow time for them to imagine themselves being in that position and start to think about the physical act of writing the letter and handing in their notice, and thereby really realise that they have made up their mind to leave.

For Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, while they might be inconvenient, counter offers shouldn’t scupper your recruitment and are often avoidable. ‘As an established recruitment agency we’ve come across almost every scenario you could imagine,’ says Rosa. ‘Cambridge, in particular, is a very active market with thousands of talented and highly qualified candidates so it’s not unusual for them to receive counter offers when they think about moving jobs. We see it is our role to try to reduce the likelihood of a counter offer occurring by preparing candidates for the act of leaving. We also constantly encourage employers to create a fantastic impression of their business so that the candidate feels inspired to join and is less likely to have their head turned by an alternative, higher offer. It’s a two-way street, and we aim to connect motivated candidates with dynamic employers to create a win-win scenario.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to attract the best candidate for your new vacancy or to engage an experienced recruiter team, please contact us for an initial conversation.