Season 7 | Episode 6

guiding candidates through offer acceptance

In this week’s episode of Recruiter Fuel, we continued our discussion on counter-offers. We sat down with Melissa and Mary Ann, two of our most experienced recruiters, to hear the take on the issue.

As a recruiter, it’s important to handle this situation with care and help guide the candidate through offer acceptance. Mary Ann and Melissa offer their thoughts on how to counsel candidates and clients to ensure the best outcome for all.

What’s Your Motivation…Really?

So what happens when a candidate gets a counter-offer from their current employer? For Mary Ann, it all circles back to your initial conversations with the candidate.

“My first question to that candidate is…wait a minute. You’re all of a second getting this offer for an increase in pay? Why didn’t they think about this beforehand?”

“I always tell a candidate before we even discuss an opportunity…what is your motivation? Why are you even open to speaking to me? You already have a good job, you sound like you’re doing very well…what’s your motivation? And then I’ll bring that right back up after he says, “well I have this counter-offer from my company!”

Understanding a client’s motivations ahead of time can help you call into question whether accepting a counter is really a good idea. Sure, more money is great, but is it really going to address the issues that prompted the candidate to consider another opportunity in the first place?

“My goal is to always see what that candidate is looking for. And talk about why they were even open to speaking to me in the first place.”

The Fine Line Between Negotiating and Asking for Too Much

Melissa then asked Mary Ann how she handles negotiations at this point. When a candidate gets a counter-offer, they often try to use that as leverage for a better offer from the client – whether it’s for more money, more vacation days, etc.

“Ultimately, my goal is to always go back to initially what the candidate was looking for and why they were open…why they were looking to leave, why they were frustrated with their current employer, and now why all of a sudden they want to give them more money.”

Mary Ann also brought up the drawbacks of accepting counter-offers. If a candidate accepts one, then it can create some level of distrust between the candidate and their employer.

“You have to be careful, and I’ll tell the candidate that…your employer now knows that you’re looking, and that’s a sticky situation.”

Melissa also mentioned that she’s had to warn candidates not to push it with negotiation.

“I’ve had to tell a candidate…where I possibly know that the client they interviewed with might take away the offer if they counter with too much.”

“That’s also something…being very open and honest with a candidate. They might not be the only person that’s interviewing…there’s a fine line between asking for enough…but sometimes it can cross that line where it might upset the client.”

Mary Ann agreed and followed up that it’s always good to have a Plan B during negotiations in case someone rescinds an offer!

It’s a Recruiter’s Job to Let Candidates Know the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Melissa wrapped things up by talking about how recruiters try to prepare for everything…but there’s often something unexpected.

“I think we as recruiters try to prepare for all the curveballs we get…but you as well as I do that there are things that come up that you’ve never had happen before. All we can do is prepare for it.”

Mary Ann also brought up how a recruiter’s job is to be open and honest.

“That’s our job as recruiters…to let them know the good, the bad, and the ugly. And that they need to have a back-up plan in case the client says no.”