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How to minimise the risk of a counteroffer

So, you’ve spent weeks searching for the perfect new team member; and finally, you’ve found the one! Not only that, but you’ve offered them the job – and they’ve ACCEPTED!

Job done. Or is it?

Often, the next stage is just as difficult as the rest… when they hand in their notice. A whopping 50% of people are counteroffered by their current employer! Have you experienced the pain of losing a candidate at the eleventh hour?

We’re here to help, with tips on how to avoid losing a candidate to a counteroffer.


You need to identify candidates who are at high risk of accepting a counteroffer, so you can discount them in the early stages. The way to do this is by asking questions. What are their reasons for leaving their current job? What motivations do they have for their next role? Why are they leaving? Is it for an increase in salary or because there’s no career progression?

You then need to find out whether they have addressed their issues with their current employer. If they haven’t, encourage them to do so. They may find their problems could be solved with a simple conversation. The people who take your advice and go back to speak with their employer are those who would have been a high risk for accepting a counteroffer. It’s better to lose them at this stage than at the end!

You can also ask them hypothetical questions to get them thinking. “If your employer was to offer you X, would you stay?” The candidates who are least likely to accept a counteroffer will usually come up with additional reasons as to why they want to leave. This should give you peace of mind that they really are serious about moving on.

Minimise the risk

Even if your candidates have told you they won’t accept a counteroffer, they still can!

It’s better to have the conversation about counteroffers before one takes place, otherwise it will look like you’re just saying anything you can to get them to come to you. Have the conversation with them in the first call you have! Try this…

“Something that’s happening a lot recently is that candidates are being counteroffered when they’re going to hand in their notice, because employers know how hard it is to replace staff quickly. Is there anything your employer could do to make you stay?”

This should help lead you into a conversation about counteroffers and how employers generally don’t live up to the promises they make. The stats should do the talking for you. 80% of people who accept a counteroffer still leave within six months. That’s a staggering fact, which you can tell candidates from the outset. You’ll already be planting the seed about the negatives of accepting a counteroffer!

When they’ve verbally accepted your offer, it’s important that you get the offer letter and contract to them quickly. Candidates can get nervous, so you need to show them that you’re really excited to have them join you. Once they’ve signed the contract, find out when they’re handing in their notice and call them beforehand. Wish them luck, offer them support and tell them how much you’re looking forward to having them. The idea is that, when they’re in the meeting with their current employer who is ‘laying it on thick’ and asking them to stay, they’ll be thinking about how excited they are to join you.

Finally, don’t forget to stay in touch with your new staff member throughout their notice period. It’s likely to be four weeks, which is a long time for their current employer to be talking to them, daily, about wanting them to stay. So, stay consistent and maintain the excitement levels!

If you need more advice or simply don’t have the time to do all of the above, let us do it for you. Get in touch on 01625 509182