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Navigating the counter offer

​‘Talent shortage’ and ‘Tight talent market’ are just some of the terms that are common place in the current market. With the current unemployment rate sitting at 3.4%, if you are looking for a job there are opportunities out there, and if you are an experienced candidate you are likely to get counter offered.

Below we explore some crucial aspects to consider from both the perspective of a candidate and an employer as you navigate through the counter-offer process.

The Candidates perspective

Our advice to candidates around counter offers is they aren’t always as attractive as they appear. At the outset of looking for a new job, ask yourself the question: ‘Would I stay here if I was offered more money?’ Consider aspects of the role like the company culture, work, flexibility, growth opportunities and the commute. If all these aspects align, but you feel undervalued in terms of salary, have an upfront conversation with your Manager around remuneration before you start looking for a new role. Through these conversations, if your employer meets your expectations with integrity, showing they value your contribution, stay with the knowledge you have made the right decision.

If you are at the point where you make the decision to start your job search, make a clear list of what you are looking for in your new employer including culture, work, progression and use this as a solid foundation to guide your decision when that counter offer inevitably comes your way. It’s important to also be realistic with your expectations and that’s where Assemble’s specialist recruiters can provide advice. At this point, hold firm as to why you were looking in the first place, remembering your employer didn’t give you an increase when you first asked and don’t be held back from your next exciting opportunity by a last minute act to keep you.

Statistics show that if a candidate accepts a counter offer, the probability of leaving that role within twelve months is extremely high – 80% is the figure often referred to. Counter offers are only a short term fix and you are likely to continue to have the same issues that prompted you to look in the first place.

The Employers perspective

For employers recruiting in this market, you are going to come across counter offers and your best approach is to head them off at the pass. When presenting your initial offer to a candidate, this is the time to put your absolute best package forward. This tends to leave little room for a counter offer to sway decisions and demonstrates your commitment. During the interview process, we encourage you to directly ask questions around salary expectations and candidates current package so you are well placed for a competitive offer.

As an employer, it’s important to have an awareness that your strong employees are likely to be approached with other offers. If an internal employee approaches you for a conversation, this is your opportunity to show them you are committed and keep them engaged by demonstrating that you value them.

It’s key to consider how you will handle a counter offer situation in advance. Understanding the key reasons for the employee leaving is crucial, if its monetary its relatively easily fixed, but if they have a 2-hour commute for a role where they need to be present in the office, it’s not so clear cut. Bump up your counter offer with additional benefits and if successful, ensure you have strong communication and a relationship building plan. After successfully retaining an employee in a counter offer situation, it is a crucial time to ensure you have delivered on your promises and engaging regularly with the employee, a process often not done well.

Here at Assemble, we work closely with our candidates from the outset, understanding motivations to move, encouraging upfront discussions between candidates and employers and assisting candidates to consider their priorities in a counter offer situation. If you are an employer looking to hire or a candidate thinking about a change, pick up the phone to have a chat with one of our specialist recruiters.