A recruiter can fight the epidemic of counteroffers the same way a
family doctor might handle a town ravaged by an infectious virus. That
is, the candidates in your care should be tested, treated and protected
against future outbreaks.
To diagnose counteroffer symptoms before they can kill a placement, test
your candidates for the following:
Motivation. Look for the underlying source of job dissatisfaction. If
one can't be found (or the motivation is simply money-related), you may
be headed for trouble.
History of past occurrences. A candidate who's accepted a counteroffer
at least once before might just do it again.
Naivet'. First-time job-changers are especially vulnerable to
counteroffers, and are less resistant to a current manager's newfound
Early detection and treatment of counteroffers are the key to a healthy
search practice. While some candidates are naturally immune to a
counteroffer attempt, others may be more susceptible, especially those
who are fundamentally mismatched with the position you're trying to
fill. If you feel a candidate falls into the high-risk category, you may
find it necessary to quarantine that person, so as not to infect your
placement (or your client relationship).
An Ounce of Prevention
Of course, candidates respond differently to various forms of treatment.
While some will embrace an explanation as to why an accepted
counteroffer may be counterproductive in the long run, others will view
your dire warnings with suspicion.
An overly aggressive stance on the
subject of counteroffers can sometimes backfire, in much the same way a
parent's repeated lectures about the evils of smoking or sex will cause
a teenager to think, "Gee, if it's really that bad, I guess I'd better
To protect the health and well-being of your deal after an offer has
been accepted, carefully prepare each candidate for his or her
resignation. By dispassionately previewing the coming storm, you can
effectively diffuse the counteroffer attempt-unless, of course, your
candidate was angling for a raise or promotion all along.