Candidates With Counteroffers

After navigating through a tedious hiring process, it’s a huge sigh of relief to finally find and secure your perfect candidate. Your new hire signed your offer letter, their start date is set and things are finally starting to get back to normal — but this all comes to a screeching halt when you find out the person has received a counteroffer from their current employer.


On one hand, this is further proof that you’ve chosen someone really great, but it’s also incredibly frustrating to have to reopen a door you thought was closed. Regardless, you can’t avoid this counteroffer, so now it’s time to figure out what you plan to do about it.

Have an Honest Talk With the Candidate

Meet with the person to learn exactly what the counteroffer entails — more money, better job title, bigger office — because you can’t react until you know exactly what you’re working with. Ask how the candidate feels about this proposal and why they haven’t ruled it out yet. Most likely, they’ll be confused and unsure which route to take, so this is your chance to remind them why they accepted the job at your company.

Weigh Your Options

Now that you know the terms of the counteroffer, it’s time to create a strategy. Basically, you can either sweeten your offer, do absolutely nothing, or opt to rescind your offer. The path you take will likely depend on how badly you want the person to stick with your company, the number of qualified alternate candidates at your disposal and the amount of room in your budget. If you had a hard time choosing between your top three candidates, you might want to circle back and see if the other two are still available, but if this person was by far the most qualified, it might be in your best interest to up the ante of your offer.

Make Your Move

Time is of the essence in a counteroffer situation, so don’t wait too long to take action. As soon as you’ve decided which path you’ll take, contact the candidate to discuss your choice. There’s a 50/50 chance you’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and start your search again, so give the person a deadline to make their decision. If possible, invite them out to lunch or dinner with your team to try to reignite that initial excitement they felt when accepting your offer, as they’ve been under the spell of nostalgia with their current employer since receiving the counteroffer. Leaving a job can be a difficult decision; sometimes people need a reminder that they’re doing the right thing.

Ultimately, there’s nothing you can do if the person decides to accept the counteroffer. You’ll just have to take it as a learning experience and try to avoid falling into the same situation next time. To learn more about how we can help you find top behavioral health talent, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at

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