Three Ways to Avoid Wasting Your Time With Candidates Susceptible to Counteroffers

The single biggest recruiting expense is time.

Never waste your time trying to recruit someone who is unrecruitable. The following guidelines will save you from murdering your own time. Hoping and betting on long-shot candidates will kill hours and weeks of your life. Save yourself from the misery and heartbreak that comes from counteroffer acceptance:

Tip #1--Take a hard look at tenure with the candidate’s current employer:

  •   2-5 years:  Recruit hard. This is the window of opportunity. Go for it.
  •   6-7 years: Proceed with caution. Review counteroffer multiple times and confirm candidates’ motivations to resign.
  •   8-10 years: High risk. Only recruit if there is an unchangeable and legitimate reason for leaving the current employer. Potential qualifying reasons: Company is going bankrupt, long term most favorite boss left, solid plans already in place to relocate.
  •   11+ years: Don’t bother. Period. You will not defy the odds. Hope (yours) won’t change the fact that this isn’t going to be a winning bet. Move on.

Exception: If the candidate has already taken a counteroffer with their current company within the last twelve months. This is a green light go sign. They have most likely learned from the experience and are now ready to switch employers.


Tip #2--They tell you how much they admire, respect, and value their boss.  

You sense there is a strong passion for the current manager. Usually this manager is the person who hired them. On resignation day, this boss will be pulling all the stops to convince them to stay put. Avoid thinking this won’t happen. Move on to someone who is recruitable. Try someone else who’s of equal talent. But their boss has already transitioned to another company, regularly neglects them, or simply isn’t cut out for leadership.
 

Tip #3—They want to leave their current employer because of one reason: money.

Candidates leave jobs for money all the time. Compensation is a top-shelf reason to change employers. But as a standalone reason for leaving, it’s never enough. The candidate needs to have a heart-to-heart with the boss about a raise and/or taking on more responsibility. If this conversation has already transpired, the odds of counteroffer acceptance go down dramatically.

Leaving an employer can be difficult. Sometimes candidates think they’re ready to make the move, but they aren’t. It’s important to guard your time and invest in people who are serious about making a change. Spend time recruiting applicants who are eager, ready, and compelled to take on new challenges. The hungry, driven, and ambitious are out there. Fill your recruiting pipeline with them. It takes relentlessness, the right timing, and an eye for knowing when the odds are in your favor.