How to Fight the Counteroffer Bug

 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 appreciation.

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 try it!"

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.

By Bill Radin
 BlackDog Recruiting Software Inc.
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