How to Avoid the Counter Offer
“When you lose a counter-offer candidate, you might be wondering what you could do differently to close them, but as the great Vin Diesel once said, “You almost had me? You never had me, you never had your car. At the beginning, it begins.
We are still receiving calls from our customers as a sales hiring agency, desperate to employ after losing an applicant from their current company to a counter-offer. The work market is booming, sales unemployment rates are the lowest they have been since 2000 and the best they have ever been,’ quits’ (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). It’s a candidate-led market that your rivals are willing to pay, driven by aggressive wage and benefit packages. It is just a part of the solution to do your research and work with a company that will educate you on the competition and the compensation criteria of the applicant. But what would you do outside of raising your budget to remain successful, attract talent and close candidates?
Headcount and Budget Approvals:
Nothing is worse than waiting for your CRO, CFO or someone else to approve budgets, draft letters of offer and sign off on agreements until you have found a top candidate and are ready to pull the trigger. At the level of the applicant, it also creates doubt. Imagine spending a few weeks and several hours interviewing a corporation and then hearing nothing because of “waiting for internal approvals.” It leaves the candidate feeling uneasy – if it takes this long to get a ‘simple’ offer letter out, how long does it take to get agreement on a deal? It makes the company seem unorganized, dated and stagnant in the fluid and agile work culture that today’s business demands.
Process – Make it simple:
Ensuring a seamless process for applicants is something that is absolutely under the control of the supervisor, but often ignored. Put yourself in the shoes of the candidate; wouldn’t it be great to know what the whole recruitment process looks like from the outset, who you are going to interview with, and what the time frame for hiring looks like? Long and long cycles of questioning are a thing of the past. Make sure you are on the same page with your HR and recruitment team as a sales manager and be prepared to move fast on strong candidates.
Ask Early, Ask Often:
Will you like to know where else an interview is for a candidate and how the company stacks-ranks? Hey, ASK! But you may still want to understand why the applicant is looking to make a move. This gives you an opportunity to see how competitive you are in the industry, what other employers can offer that you are not, and gives you the ability to adapt accordingly.
SELL SELL SELL:
Talk about your business, where you are in the industry, what you do, and what your career path looks like. Candidates not only want to understand what you are delivering now, but they want to know what they’re getting in the future if they join your team. Telling is not selling, as we all know, make them sit on your team with a rep who has faced some hardship, shown the grit to thrive, and was successful. Because of ambiguous or incorrect assumptions regarding progress or lack of promotion, several applicants are on the market. In helping to close a top applicant and set you apart, your current team can be one of your best assets.
Set expectations that an offer is coming and in 24-48 hours you will need a response. Tell them how their time frame lines up with that. More often than not, the person reaching out to extend the verbal offer would be HR or your recruitment partner. As a sales manager, you know the candidate and have established the relationship so that after an offer is extended, you make sure to follow up with the candidate. Ask them how they feel and what else they need for a decision to be made.
Get an idea of how resignation is usually treated by their organization; are they going to ask them to stay for the full two weeks? Are they about to walk them out the door? This could be a red-flag to the new employer if the company retains them for the two-weeks in revenue. The organization is obviously trying to find a way to maintain the worker. During the “accepted, signed offer to start-date window” make sure to keep applicants engaged. Follow-up on all reports and onboarding papers, have your choice for the type of computer/phone you want, and propose a lunch before the start date with you or the team. A few days prior to their start date, contact them and let them know where to go, what to wear, etc. The last thing that you want is for the nominee to accept your bid on the first day and then “ghost” you. It is imperative to keep them engaged and give them additional buy-in from the time the offer letter goes out to the day they start.
Candidates are selectively looking for a number of reasons in today’s market and you want your business to stand out and lock the talent down. Key considerations for attracting top applicants and growing the sales team are setting goals, recognizing the pushes and pulls of their quest, and remembering to keep the communication lines open before and after the interview process.