Why you should always say NO to a counter-offer

As a Talent Acquisition Manager specialising in the recruitment industry, it is inevitable that all potential consultants coming into the market will be counter-offered at the point of handing in their notice. Preparing these consultants for when a counter-offer is made is a fundamental aspect to my role.

A good, successful Recruitment Consultant would never actively look for a new role, because why would they? Successful desk, high billings, easy life, so they must be happy right? Not always! These recruiters work tirelessly and put in endless hours to keep their desk at such a level – answering emails on holiday, speaking to candidates at 10pm, or even speaking to them on your phone whilst on a tractor ride with your 2-year-old little girl on a Saturday afternoon trying to sound as professional as possible – all because if you don’t take that call – you could miss out on a great candidate.

And deep down, if they stopped to think about this for 5 minutes, they could probably find a better work-life balance, the correct job title, benefits that don’t necessarily involve holidays to Ibiza, but the chance to take time to go to the doctors without being made to feel guilty for the next 2 months.

So, our assumption that these consultants are valued and constantly offered attractive career pathways, development and support to make the next career step, should be revisited – and this is where I come in as a Talent Acquisition Manager!

Throughout my career, I have individually headhunted each and every consultant – not one of them has come to me first to ‘find them a new job’. This has ranged from consultants with 1 years’ experience to consultants billing £300k a year. However, they all have one thing in common – they all want something more to their career and they nearly all get counter-offered.

Personally, I am very picky who I work for – I will only work for organisations that I truly believe value their employees. After all, how can I sell the dream if I don’t believe in it myself? I love to work with different companies, helping with their recruitment needs and supporting them in exciting times of growth. 

What I ask each consultant to consider is ‘Why are you being counter-offered a better work life balance and package, only at the threat of leaving?’

Is it because they’ve suddenly realised you’re underpaid and worth more?... To be frank, no – going through their head they are panicking and thinking to themselves – who’s going to pick up your desk, will others follow and leave, will you take clients with you…. Who’s going to make sure you aren’t breaking the covenant in your contract, who’s going to ensure you’re not speaking to any candidates…. The list is endless – so in short, it’s easier to throw some more money at you in a counter-offer. 

So, I ask all consultants the question ‘Have you mentioned to your current employer that you would like more…(ie. flexible hours, working from home)', ‘Have they over promised and under delivered?’  The answer is always 'Yes'. Therefore, will your feelings change for that company because you’ve had £5k added to your basic…. The answer should always be 'No'. – It’s time to leave, move on and follow through with your next career move.

My only bit of advice to Recruitment Managers is to work with each of your consultants on an individual basis, don’t assume because they are billing £300k a year that they are happy and that they are going to be with you forever. If they mention they are unhappy, Listen and Act – because around the corner is a Talent Acquisition Manager who is good at their job and is introducing them to a better company with better values.



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