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HIRING MANAGERS – The Counter Offer

It pays to always be aware of the potential for a counter offer. It isn’t always going to happen. But being aware and prepared will help increase your chances of not losing that ideal candidate at the eleventh hour.

It should be expected. If the candidate you want to hire is as good as you think they are, their current employer won’t want to lose them. Remember – good candidates don’t get fired.

So how do you prepare for the counter offer?


When you are interviewing your candidate you need to try to understand the motivator for them leaving. Try to understand if they are leaving for more money, a better career opportunity, or perhaps a change in culture or leadership. By understanding the motivator, you are able to navigate the interviews with this potential candidate. During that interview you can explain to them how your role can offer them the new opportunities they seek.


Now you understand their motivation for leaving. During the interview process you should be educating the potential candidate on how your role will meet their individual needs and wants.

Don’t forget that the interview process is about the candidate too. Now more than ever. We are turning into a more candidate driven market and the job needs to be right for the candidate as well. During the interview process, don’t take for granted that this candidate wants or needs your job. Along with interviewing the candidate about their experience, make sure you are educating them about the role, company and opportunities that you are offering. If you understand their motivators for leaving, you will be able to cover these off during your conversations.


If you are partnering with a recruitment consultant, this is where they will be doing a lot of work behind the scenes. The recruiter will be talking with the candidate and workshopping through their options. A good recruiter will know what is motivating the candidate’s need for change. The recruiter will be helping find the right solution and fit for the candidate and guiding them to make the right decision. Work with the recruiter to help the candidate and ensure they understand your role will meet their needs and wants.


You need to know what the role is paying. You should know what you can afford to pay before you start the interview process. Don’t waste time interviewing people you cannot afford or who have unrealistic expectations about the salary they are after. Equally, once you have identified the candidate and there has been a conversation around salary expectations, don’t lowball your offer if you are hoping to get them across the line.

When money is in play, it is important to be transparent and honest with the candidate. If you have verbally discussed a figure, make sure you are true to your word or you will paint your company and its ethos in a bad light.

It might be too late to negotiate if you’ve lost integrity by offering a lower salary than discussed.


How a candidate handles a counter offer is a valuable time for you to learn about that person. A little negotiation is never a bad thing. However – how a person conducts themselves during this negotiation period can be very telling. Occasionally you can find more out about a candidate before it is too late and have signed on the dotted line.

If the hiring manager assumes a good candidate will be counter offered, they are able to prevent a lot of stress at the final hiring stage. Most candidates don’t want more money. They have other drivers for leaving. But money can cloud people’s judgement. So be prepared and ensure that during your interview process, you are covering off any issues that may come up once the candidate is given that tempting counter offer.