Make an offer they can’t refuse

by 31 Jul 2012

More than half of all CEOs and HR professionals believe heads of other companies are seeking to poach their top people, according to recent survey results. What’s more, even once a top candidate has been nabbed – counter offers have resulted in 50% of employers missing out on their first choice.

Survey data compiled earlier this year by consulting group Right Management revealed just how hot the competition is for top talent. As worldwide demand for certain skills sets rises, senior and operational leaders are realising that talent is the last remaining source of competitive advantage, Michael Haid from Right Management said.

Haid added it’s no surprise that there’s a global war being waged for human talent, and warned that no organisation can consider itself immune from needing effective retention strategies or offering the most competitive recruitment packages. “CEOs and HR staff are right to feel enormously vulnerable and many are stressed seeking ways to hold onto their rising leadership,” he said.

Data from Robert Walters found most candidates prefer to receive two offers before they make a decision on a job and chances are one is a counter offer from an existing or competing employer. For this reason, HR must have a clear strategy for dealing with counter offers in a way that suits individual recruitment needs because nearly half of all employers have lost an employee to a better offer.

Interestingly, according to the findings, 14% of professionals have used an offer to compel their current employer into giving them a raise or promotion and it was successful for 87% of professionals who tried this strategy.

Key reasons first-choice candidates didn't come onboard:

  • 48% got a better offer from another employer
  • 22% said further research of the organisation put them off
  • 15% reported the offer made was different from what was discussed in the recruitment process
  • 7% were put off by an excessively long or mishandled recruitment process
  • 5% Family/friends/colleagues advised against accepting the job
  • 3% Unable to commit to a start date

According to expert consultants at Robert Walters, in dealing with counter offers the most important thing HR can do is to be prepared to negotiate and ask questions. “If a potential employee indicates they have another offer on the table, do not be afraid to ask questions and negotiate. With many industries experiencing talent shortages, be prepared to negotiate to win over that candidate. The difference between the offers could be something very simple your company can also offer,” the research report noted.

Hire the next best candidate or start again?

If you have lost a candidate to the competition or due to a counter offer, the dilemma is whether to go to the next best candidate, or start again. The best way forward is to do it on a case by case basis.

Starting the recruitment process again can be costly and time consuming however, if there is no other candidate suitable for the role, don’t settle – it is much easier to start again, rather than  recruit someone into a role that is not suitable. However, do take the time to look at your remaining candidates. You may find that one of them has the potential to deliver as much, if not more, to your company than your first preference.


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