The market is increasingly buoyant now and very much candidate-led, so that when employees come to move on, they often have several offers on the table as well as a counter-offer from their current employers. At Live Recruitment, we deal with these situations day-in-day-out, so hopefully we can share some insight to help you on the right track when it comes to navigating candidate buy-back.
A counter-offer occurs when a candidate has an offer from a company and their current employer tries to get them to stay with the business. This usually occurs at the point of the employee handing in their notice and is increasingly common in the events industry.
Often this is a company’s knee jerk reaction to a candidate handing in their notice to the business; while it can seem flattering, on the flip side why did it take you handing your notice in to get that pay rise or promotion that you have been promised all year?
Counting the Cost
It is also a lot more economical to keep someone in the business with a salary increase than it would be to have to recruit someone new – regardless of whether using a recruitment agency. It is still a costly process and can add stress to the current team during handover periods and training expense. Keeping the employee in situ is definitely the easier option for the company for sure!
Resource planning is another reason; often when a key member of the team hands in their notice, the impact if they are running events for a key account can be massive. We will often get not only counter-offers, but requests to extend notice periods in order to fulfil current projects and maintain key relationships for the agency.
On the Up
Counter offers have always been around; especially in times of skill shortages, however in the current marketplace as the niche for skilled event candidates tightens, it is increasingly common for companies to want to retain their existing talent: candidate buy-back is on the rise.
It is really important to stay strong when you hand in your notice; we always advise candidates to remember why they wanted to leave in the first place. Promises of more money, different projects or a better role are easy to make when a company is worried they are losing someone – however 90% of those who choose to stay are back on the market in less than six months due to empty promises.
On occasion, the counter-offer is something that really does address the key reasons a candidate is looking to move. Perhaps plans for a merger with another agency will create a new role or give them a team to manage, and this wouldn’t have been something the candidate would have known about before embarking on their job search. These candidates do feel it is the right option to stay, and sometimes it does work out, but be super diligent when considering this.
We have known candidates to only embark on the interview process in order to get a better package from their current company – this is not good form and could burn bridges with both companies. The events industry is small, and word does get around!
In the current market, as a counter-offer is very likely, it is more important to make sure that you are really sure of the reasons why you are looking to leave your current role. Make sure your reasons are valid and if you are after more money, a promotion or a new skill set, then you should explore whether your current company is able to offer this to you in the timeframe that you want.
Use your appraisals and reviews to ask about progression, salary increase, different accounts, changes in your role – also make sure your employer is aware of areas you might be unhappy in or wish to develop further so they can have a chance to rectify this. A counter-offer conversation is often started with ‘why didn’t you tell us you weren’t happy?’
Handing in your notice is tough, so make sure you re-familiarise yourself with your reasons for moving on before you have the conversation so you are fully prepared.
Counter-offers may seem flattering, but are a double edged sword. Before you go out to the market, make sure you have scoped out the opportunities at your current company so that you are really sure you are ready for a move.