By Daniel Abramson, HRSource

As I talk to BrandSource members around the country, I hear more and more stories about hiring deals that go sour as a result of candidate counteroffers.

Look, we all know that employers don’t want to lose their “A-Players,” especially now as the labor market continues to heat up with lots of job openings and no candidates!

Here then are five questions you need to ask every job candidate, to determine if they might be inclined to accept a counteroffer from their current employer:

  1. “What are your reasons for leaving?” Challenge, location, advancement, salary, and security are the answers you’ll generally hear. Probe the money issue!
  2. “How do you think your employer will take the news of your resignation?” Listen carefully and observe the body language.
  3. “Will your company try and persuade you to stay?”
  4. “What would convince you to stay?”
  5. “Bottom line, would you accept a counteroffer?” Keep probing and listening until you feel comfortable with the candidate.

And here are five strategies for counteracting the counteroffer:

  1. Don’t forget to sell and promote your company, i.e., longstanding business; core values; independent ownership; family atmosphere; backed by BrandSource; great place to work; long-term staff.
  2. Simplify and speed up your hiring process, as time kills all deals!  Put an expiration date on your offer (48 hours).
  3. Forget the low-ball offers, not in this job market.
  4. Stay in touch through the start date. Just because a candidate accepts your offer doesn’t mean that it’s time to celebrate. The two weeks’ notice they gave for their current job provides their employer plenty of time to come up with a counteroffer. So stay in contact with the candidate. Communicate the benefits and perks they can expect in their new position, and even get them started with the onboarding process.
  5. Understand what the candidate values and communicate what you offer. Going back to Question #1, learning why they want to leave their current position and what they value in a job and in a company will help you position your business as the solution. Do they want more money? Room for growth? A change in scenery? Understanding this will help you better communicate the benefits you have to offer.

Finally, here are a couple of interesting statistics to leave you with, courtesy of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

  • 62 percent of employees accept counteroffers; 
  • 70 percent of candidates who accept a counteroffer wind up leaving the company within six months. Often a resignation is seen as a lack of loyalty, and employers might question whether they can trust the returnee with more responsibility and future growth.

Need help or guidance? Call me. I also suggest you review the HRSource Hiring Playbook that was distributed at the BrandSource Convention in Nashville and is available online.

Daniel Abramson is Managing Lead of HRSource, a comprehensive collection of customized employment tools and turnkey solutions exclusive to BrandSource members. For more information, contact Daniel at (540) 535-8484 or

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