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Counter Offers

I was asked to comment on the issue of counter offers as presented on one of my competitor's websites.

This is not a response to your article, but I was wondering what your take is on the 'counter offer' situation as described in http://www.procom.ca/newsletter_11_1.aspx

Since I was wondering what today's blog might be about this seemed like an appropriate topic!

My take is a little different than the author's but I can also empathise with their point of view. As a recruitment company we invest a great deal of time in finding, screening and matching candidates to our client's needs. Then we work with the candidate through multiple interviews and hopefully to the offer stage. It is hard work and there are many reasons why that work will end up with no payment ... a candidate deciding to take a counter-offer is amongst the most frustrating.

Having said that, we are talking about the candidate's career and ultimately they have to decide what is best for them. The only thing we can do as recruiters is to really understand their level of commitment to moving to a new role. We try hard to ensure people we put in front of our clients are serious about moving or we end up looking bad for wasting our client's time, in addition to suffering the frustration of a lost sale! Sometimes we get surprised, sometimes we don't really uncover their true motivations and sometimes we just get it wrong.

I don't think you can state that someone should never accept a counter offer. Sometimes it takes the reality of someone at the precipice of leaving before an employer wakes up to their true value ... or the candidate realises that in the cold light of day the devil they know really isn't so bad.

In my experience, running a company for the last 12 years it has not been a common practice but when we have counter offered I have felt it was the right decision, some people left and some stayed. I don't believe that makes us a poor employer or them poor employees. We have also had a number of people return to the company and even more who have enquired about the possibility ... and that has been very positive. Is that very different than choosing to stay?

I'm not a black and white person ... I don't believe there is a Golden Rule of counter offers. Good people are in demand, we try to get them for ourselves and for our clients. If we do our jobs well then we will win more than we lose ... but they will decide what is best for them.