Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
How to Avoid the Counter Offer

How to Avoid the Counter Offer

Today, one of the biggest challenges when making an offer to top talent is the chance that the candidate will receive a counter offer.  After you have finally found the best fit for the job, it can feel like a slap in the face when your offer just isn’t good enough compared to the counter.

There are ways to avoid this counter offer slam:

Understand what the candidate wants

Never fail to investigate the candidate’s desires.  There may be many reasons for the candidate’s job search, but always make sure that you understand the primary reason.

For example, some job seekers may be simply searching for a lateral move, with no real desire to increase salary or take on additional responsibility.  Quite often, these job seekers will be unhappy in their current job due to company culture.  If you are interviewing a candidate for a position that would be a lateral move for him, it is very important that you find out why he is looking at a lateral move.

Likewise, it is important to know if you are considering a candidate who is primarily interested in upward career growth, greater responsibility and salary increase.  If this type of candidate has applied and interviewed for a lateral position, you could be looking at potential counter offer situation.  Sometimes, these candidates will use your offer to go back to their current employer for a counter, therefore increasing their pay without leaving their current position for a lateral move.

Understanding what the candidate wants is key for you to avoid a counter offer.

Set proper expectations

Setting expectations before hand is another important way to avoid a counter offer.  This starts in the very beginning of the process – job requirements, opportunity for growth, salary range, and employee benefits.

In today’s limited pool of top talent, many of these job seekers are interested in opportunity for growth with not only fair salary ranges but also with other employee perks and benefits.  It is important to always be honest and upfront with candidates from the get-go.  If you have a specified salary range that is far below the candidate’s expectations, make this known.

If you want a greater chance of having a successful offer acceptance, never beat around the bush or avoid candidate questions when it comes to salary, job requirements, growth opportunity, or benefits. When everyone is on the same page you have a greater chance for a successful hire.

Be competitive

One of the best ways to avoid the counter offer is to make sure that you are being competitive in your industry when it comes to making offers.  Find out what other companies in your industry are offering top talent and consider how your company can compete.

Also, find out the going rates of pay for certain positions within the industry.  For example, what is the average salary range for an entry level engineer versus a senior level engineer?

When you are able to come in with a competitive offer, you have a greater chance of avoiding the counter offer.

What are some ways that you avoid counter offers?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

Image: Wavebreak Media Ltd/

Julia Weeks

Julia is a skilled Recruiter with over 8 years of experience in sourcing, interviewing, and hiring within many industries globally. She works closely with hiring managers and job seekers to understand needs and desires, while offering guidance and ensuring the right fit. When not recruiting or writing, Julia enjoys spending time outside cycling, taking her dog for walks, or honing her sailing skills.