Counter offers are on the rise. Candidates’ susceptibility to accepting them is also increasing. In fact, there is a definite increase in candidates dropping out of processes at every stage.

We are lucky to work with so many different recruitment businesses, in so many different specialist markets. This helps us to see the bigger picture across the recruitment landscape and we’ve worked with a lot of clients to increase the conversion of live jobs. Some clients haven’t been fully aware of the situation until we’ve recommended they do a six month analysis of offer conversion and interview drop outs. If you haven’t, then we’d recommend you review the last six months and compare it to the year before. (If you’d like to talk about the metrices we recommend you review, drop us an email and we’ll give you the ratios to review).

This is a different economy for the majority of recruitment companies. Some clients are still acting like it’s 2016. Some are still acting likes it’s 2009 and everyone is looking for a job and grateful to get an interview.

We are in a VUCA recruitment market:

  • Volatile
  • Unpredictable
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous

The political and social environment has created high levels of change, uncertainty and hesitation. This will naturally impact on your placement processes with your clients. Some clients may become jittery. Candidates, on a diet of BBC News and Daily Mail journalism are more cautious about making a change. If you’ve got a job, you get approached by a recruiter about a “genuine opportunity” and get offered it – what are you going to do? If there is doubt, counter offer is a genuine option.

Other than the political challenges that are impacting client and candidate decisions, there are other ecological factors:

 #1 Talent is proving to be harder to find – what used to be a talent pool has dried to become a talent puddle. The talent shortage isn’t as bad as many think. The issue isn’t one of availability of talent, it’s the processes that companies (and agencies) use to find and engage with it. In some cases old engagement methods are not as successful. Good talent engagement increases buy in. just consider this interaction and often it has occurred in your business in the last four weeks:

Consultant: “Good news! The business we discussed last week who are hiring for a X have confirmed they’d like to see you for an interview”

Candidate: “Remind me again, which job is this?”

Consultant: “The X role based in Central London. With the high growth fintech company”

Candidate: “Oh right. How much is it paying again?”

There are so many red flags waving around in the breeze of this interaction. Just how engaged are your consultants with the candidates they’re working with?

Are they placing buzzword Boolean bingo on the job boards, chasing and placing CVs? Or, are they genuinely building relationships with individuals to help them achieve the right role in the right company that matches their long term career aspirations?

#2 Telephone assessment of candidates focuses on surface based motivations with little  digging to truly understand the drivers of the candidates they work with. People leave jobs for development opportunities, quality of leadership and empowerment. How well do your consultants explore the reasons for leaving companies and what the candidate is seeking in their next role?

#3 Consultants live under the misconception that a counter offer has to be a payrise. Counter offer takes many forms. Some more real than others. If you consultants believe some of the myths that circulate around why candidates shouldn’t take a counter offer then they are stuck in the past.

“If they offered you more money to stay, would you take it?”

If the above question makes a consultant believe they have covered off the counter offer (even if they do this at every stage in the process) then there will be candidates who “say one thing and do another”.

As a learning and development manager, it is important to help your business operate as effectively as possible adapting to the ecology of today’s market. Our self delivery Counter Offer Prevention workshop is content rich, highly relevant to the 2019/20 market and a great way to plug and play great training.

Fully branded as your own training it creates an immediate solution to the biggest issue currently facing experienced permanent recruitment consultants.

View Counter Offer Prevention workshop


Written by

Jeremy Snell


28 March 2019