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Executive Blog 27/1/2022

Countering the Counter-offer

Mal Stuart
By Mal Stuart
Countering the Counter-offer

Countering the Counter-offer


You have just secured the perfect candidate for the role! They have verbally accepted, and you have sent out the formal offer. Then, the news comes through they won’t be joining you after all… Their existing employer has won them over with a counter-offer.


Given the candidate short market, we are expecting to see this with greater frequency in 2022. Businesses will be throwing as much as they can towards keeping key talent, and the thought of having to find a replacement as opposed to spending more money (and some added promises) is an easy decision.


So how do you counter the counter-offer?


We suggest examining the candidate’s true motivations to leave their current employer.


For most professionals, changing jobs is a big deal. To get to the point of verbally accepting another offer means the motivations are genuine and compelling enough, beyond your everyday workplace frustrations.


Keep in mind, however, that often the strongest motivations as to why someone is willing to leave is not always what they communicate during interviews. For example, if a person has not received a pay rise in two years, they may avoid this point so as not to appear money focused. This is a counter-offer waiting to happen.


What we need to do is ask better and smarter questions, to allow candidates to comfortably express their true motivations for leaving their current role.

Here are some examples of what you could ask during the interview stage:


  • Culture – Do you feel that the culture in your workplace is compatible with you as an individual? If you could change some elements, what would they be?
  • Remuneration – Do you feel your current remuneration is market competitive?
  • Manager – How does your current manager compare to previous managers? What are the differences?
  • Career Progression – Do you feel there are career progression opportunities in your current workplace?


Once you understand the candidates’ motivations, you can then gain insight and perspective to anticipate the likelihood of them entertaining a counter-offer.


Although there are no guarantees, this will give you a chance to get on the front foot and avoid being blindsided.