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Today’s fall-offs, turn downs, and counteroffers are avoidable!

Despite being avoidable, they are also on the rise! Recruiters are faced with fewer job openings to search for so their desks are less full. Thus, when there are only one or two candidates in the mix for a potential hire with a client, recruiters become more desperate to “make a deal”.

In their desperation, these recruiters become “sloppy” in their recruiting and are working with counteroffer-prone candidates and not qualifying hard enough.

The solution requires recruiters to qualify candidates better. One of my favorite questions is “What do you think your boss will say when you give your notice?” Listen carefully to the candidate’s response. If their response is along these lines:

  • “My boss is gonna flip!”
  • “They will be lost without me.”  
  • “We’ve recently lost two co-workers, and I’m sure they don’t want to see me leave too.”
  • “My boss will probably give me the raise I’ve been seeking and deserve.”

Then, you’re engaged with a candidate that is ripe for a counteroffer.

Conversely, if their answer to the same question is similar to the following:

  • “Oh, they will be glad to see me leaving so they don’t have to lay me off too.”
  • “My boss is my reference, and we both agree my career will be best served by moving on.”
  • “I don’t care what my boss says I have to get out of here — it is toxic.”
  • “My old boss retired, and my new one is a jerk so I can’t wait to give my notice!”

In these situations, your counteroffer concerns are minimal or nil.

When recruiters don’t have a lot of desk activity or qualified candidates, they forgo asking the tough questions fearing answers they don’t want. That is a short-sighted approach and leads to counteroffers and turndowns. I cannot think of anything more depressing than getting an offer turned down due to an avoidable counteroffer. You need to start asking serious questions regarding your candidate’s upcoming big decisions they will be facing when an offer comes.

A colleague I recently enjoyed lunch with was lamenting about her lack of business and a candidate’s turn down and counter-acceptance.

The recruiter said she worked hard to get the $145k offer and package from her client. Only to get a turndown and then she went and got a $5k increase to the offer, losing her “deal” to a counter. I did not hear from my friend how she qualified her candidate so hard with statements like these:

  • “Now if I can, and I mean IF I can get you $145k, are you prepared to accept the offer?”
  • “We guarantee our candidates for a year, so if there are any concerns whatsoever I want you to let me know immediately, as I have other candidates begging me to talk to our client.”
  • “What do you think your spouse or significant people in your life would say about making this change?”
  • “Is there anything your employer could do or say to make you want to stay where you are?” (Counteroffer question as well).

I’ve shared presentations on when and how to kill deals early on and the warning signs you need to uncover. Job candidates are not going to willingly show you signs that their interest is not genuine. It is a recruiter’s job to anticipate their clients’ and candidates’ moves in the process. Ensuring everything is moving towards everyone’s best interests. You need to avoid engaging in less-than-solid candidates and in sketchy contingency searches – especially in today’s market – or you will find yourself being disappointed.

Written By: Mark Rowbottom, President of the Recruiters of Wisconsin

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