Counteroffers - Why Do Candidates Take Them?

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a hiring manager or a recruiter is finding a fantastic candidate and hearing the excitement in their voice when you call them to make the job offer. However, despite feeling like you’ve got it all right, there is still a chance that it could all go wrong.

Once a candidate has accepted the job offer, it is not uncommon for them to receive a counteroffer from their current employer. In this article, we’re going to discuss why some candidates accept counteroffers and explore some of the steps you can take to avoid finding yourself in a counteroffer situation.

A few counteroffer statistics

As a hiring manager, if you’ve never found yourself in a counteroffer situation, then you’re one of the lucky ones. Counteroffers are surprisingly common, with surveys suggesting that around 50% of candidates that resign are counteroffered by their current employer.

However, while the lure of more pay for doing a job that the candidate already knows can be strong, the truth is that accepting a counteroffer rarely ends well.

According to research from one software recruiter:

  • Around 80% of candidates who accept a counteroffer from their current employer leave within six months
  • 90% of candidates who accept a counteroffer leave within 12 months
  • 50% of candidates who accept a counteroffer from their current employer are back on the job market after two months

Why do candidates accept counteroffers?

Given those statistics, you’d think candidates would steer well clear of counteroffers from their current employers, but the statistics say that counteroffers are accepted 57% of the time. But why?

At the time, accepting a counteroffer can seem like an easy option. After all, the candidate won’t have to get used to the working methods of another company or build relationships with new colleagues and managers. As they already know and are used to their current role, the thought of staying in it for more money can seem quite attractive.

However, as the statistics show, it rarely ends well. Often candidates who accept a counteroffer find that their standing within the company has been diminished. Questions about their loyalty and commitment arise, which can mean they’re overlooked for a promotion. All the reasons why the candidate wanted to leave in the first place also remain, and if anything, their diminished standing in the company and the damaged employer relationship make their day-to-day reality worse.

What can you do as an employer to avoid a counteroffer situation?

1. Determine a candidate’s reasons for leaving

To mitigate the chance of a counteroffer situation arising, it’s important to ask the candidate direct questions about why they want to leave before it gets to the interview stage. At PER, we conduct a video interview with every candidate before recommending them to our clients for exactly this reason.

A potential red flag would be anything along the lines of, “I like the job and my boss is fine but I really want more money”. We would then ask what sort of action they’d take if they were offered more money to stay. Depending on their answer, we may decide to focus on other candidates.

2. Keep in contact throughout the process

As a prospective employer, you should keep in touch with your new hire between the job offer and their first day. With notice periods potentially extending beyond three months, there’s plenty of time for the enthusiasm and excitement to wane and the fear of the unknown to kick in. This delay also gives the current employer time to reconsider the candidate’s value to the company.

Staying in touch helps to maintain the momentum and keep the candidate’s thoughts fixed firmly on the new role.

3. Invite them in

Once a job offer has been accepted, invite the candidate to your workplace to meet their new team, their boss and other important colleagues. People buy into people, so giving them a chance to meet and interact with key personnel at an early stage will help to get them through the door.

Use a recruiter

Specialist recruiters like PER understand the way the industries they serve work and even how certain employers operate. We know who has a pattern of making counteroffers and for what positions. We also know what form those counteroffers typically take.

Our recruitment consultants also qualify every candidate’s job search motivations before introducing them to potential new employers. That means candidates who want to use a job offer as a bargaining tool don’t make it onto the shortlist and you don’t get dragged into a bidding war.

Hiring the best candidate every time

With employers seriously concerned about the availability of skills in the power electronics, SMPS, UPS, power semiconductors, semiconductors and RF sectors, counteroffers will always have their place. However, working with a specialist recruiter like PER International will help to mitigate the impact they have on your business.

Read more about how we recruit the best electronics candidates from around the world, send us a few details about what you’re looking for and start hiring today.