Human Resources

Navigating the Counteroffer as a Hiring Manager

How to Navigate the Counter-Offer as a Hiring Manager

The Candidates Employer’s Retaliation: The Counteroffer

You’ve got a candidate all the way through the process. You’ve gone through all the hoops and hurdles and done all the interviews . All the stakeholders have signed off and you finally get to the point where you make that offer. . . Don’t be so fast to pat yourself on the back.

Don’t set off the the balloons and the streamers in the headquarters quite yet, because there’s always what hiring companies hate and they dread; the counter offer.

The age old wisdom is that no candidates should accept a counteroffer, but that trend might be changing as shown in this article from HBR, “Consider Your Counteroffer.”  So here’s exactly how you prep the candidate for that situation.

How Will the Candidate Manage Their Resignation?

Whenever you make an offer and they accept. You want to know what is the candidate strategy for resigning and making that transition? Are they, are they doing a one week, a two week? Is it a situation where often when someone quits they’ll give them two days to pack their stuff and get out? Are there special projects that they’re working on? Maybe it’s a month notice – you just need to know their timeline.

Provide Support and Direction for the Candidate

So you understand the transitional period there. You can always give them a template, a resignation letter that sometimes helps folks whenever they go to resign. If they’ve never done it before, or they’re a little nervous, give them something to work with so they can go in, have the meeting, leave the letter and everything is pretty much well understood.

Consult the Candidate to Understand Their Mindset

Talk with them about the possibility of the counteroffer directly. Do you think your employer is going to counter? If they counter, are they going to offer you 50% more than we offered you? Where are they going to come in at? Would you stay if they offered you 50% more than we’re offering? If they offered 25%, more, 10% more? If they matched, would you stay?

Aside from money, you need to focus on the value that you bring. That’s why you talked with them earlier about their career aspirations and you talk with them about the gripes they have with their current company.

You have to learn that in order to make up for a gap that might show up. People are money interested, but it’s not always all about the money. If you’re helping their work life balance, if you’re helping them accelerate their career, if you’re getting them in a better environment, you need to make sure that they’re aware of that during the process.

Make Sure You Have a Seat at the Negotiation Table

If the only person that is fighting for them at that point is their current employer and they’re throwing that money in their face and you don’t even get an argument – it’s not a good spot to be in. You want to be able to be a part of that negotiation as well. If that happens.

Remember to use the tactics cited in “How to Manage a First Interview” in order to have all of the necessary information BEFORE the counteroffer is a possibility…

So that’s what you should do whenever you make an offer and they’ve got to resign. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at I look forward to getting introduced.

By James Aiken

President of Legacy Search, James Aiken has been dynamically involved in recruiting the elite candidates within the building materials industry for many years. With strength in sales and operations, James has built out multiple sales teams for manufacturers and distributors alike. Email him at

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