The hiring process can be tricky to navigate. Whether you’ve been recruiting for five years or fifteen years, sometimes, there’s just no accounting for human behaviour. And one of the biggest recruitment trends we have noticed in the past few months is that of candidates accepting counter offers at the last minute.
A counter offer is a competing offer from the candidate’s current employer. They don’t want to lose the high calibre talent you’re about to gain.
This can leave you, the person tasked with hiring, back at square one. And, if you’re under pressure to get a role filled quickly, it could mean making rash hiring decisions that ultimately do more harm than good.
So, how do you ensure that you engage with your “dream candidate” in a positive way? You can’t afford to assume that just because they’ve said yes that a candidate will actually start.
Here’s our advice:
There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve performed well in an interview and then hearing nothing for days on end. If you want to secure your candidate, you have to move quickly. Even in these times of uncertainty, good candidates will always be in demand. So you have to communicate regularly and clearly throughout your hiring process (and please note, including and especially after the offer has been made).
If you interview someone on a Monday, aim to pass on some feedback within 48 hours at the very latest. You are a considerate and well-organised employer. Make sure your reputation in this area reflects this. Hesitation could lose you your candidate.
Make an offer over the phone
Use your recruitment partner to convey your offer in a way that will ensure it will be accepted. This is what your recruitment partner does for a living – so they will handle the situation very well.
This is the perfect opportunity to ensure that the candidate is still interested and isn’t withdrawing from the process or accepting elsewhere. Your recruitment partner will reiterate what the salary and benefits package looks like so that, if there needs to be any negotiation surrounding this, it won’t slow the process down.
Follow your phone call with a formal letter
Follow your phone call up with a clear, detailed offer letter promptly. This should include details such as job title; formal start date (and end date; if it is a temporary position; the probationary period; any conditions the offer is subject to; and any actions the candidate needs to take before starting.
Whilst this isn’t a binding contract of employment, it’s good to have signed copies of all these key points to mitigate any potential disputes further down the line.
Be prepared for a counter offer
Good quality candidates are hard to find – your candidate’s current employer knows this! They won’t want to lose a talented member of their team and so may well offer things such as a higher salary, more responsibilities, more flexibility or a different job title. It can be an emotionally charged situation.
The best thing to do is remain diplomatic and have your recruitment partner outline a few key points for your candidate to consider – Will their employer still trust them now that they know they have interviewed elsewhere? Will more money make the problems of their old role disappear?
Work with your recruitment partner to make them aware that counter offers rarely work out in the candidate’s favour – 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer end up leaving their employer within six months or are terminated. It is worth leaning on your recruitment partner at this point. They need to do a lot of hand holding, both for you and the candidate. They should and must be do all they can to ensure that your candidate appreciates the downside of accepting a counter.
Do your pre-employer checks
Once you’ve successfully managed to see off any counter offers, you should work with your recruitment partner on your Pre-Screening process for your candidate. This can include components such as personal and professional references, criminal checks and right to work permits.
If you’re worried about a candidate “failing” any of these checks, it might be worth starting the screening earlier in your hiring process. Equally, if anything negative does come up, give the candidate the chance to explain any discrepancies.
Keep in touch
It is vital that you continue to communicate with your candidate even after they have received your offer. In this day and age, you mustn’t assume that an acceptance equals a done deal. Invite them for a virtual coffee, arrange a meeting with their future colleagues, send them a welcome to the team card. All this will help them feel included and begin to build a bond between them and you, their new employment home.
Don’t forget those who didn’t quite make it over the line! These candidates have also invested time and effort into your recruitment process. So, be timely and courteous with your rejections, too. These candidates could be future employees or competitors and you want them to still reflect on their experience positively. Otherwise, you risk potential damage to your employer brand.
If you are looking to secure high calibre candidates for your business, our teams cover a wide range of disciplines – from Law to Manufacturing; from Accountancy to HR. Click here to see the sectors we cover and get in touch with our teams.