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Why the Top Candidate You Just Hired is Going to Receive a Counteroffer

There are many things about the current job market that are unique. As an executive search consultant and Veterinary recruiter for 25 years, I have seen many things including counteroffers being made to candidates who resign in order to entice them to day. Counteroffers are not unique to today’s marketplace. Counteroffers, to one degree or another, have always been part of the employment landscape. The rule was simple: the more valuable the candidate (or employee), the more likely it was that they would receive a counteroffer. When I first became a recruiter, counteroffers were neither rare nor common, but they were certainly part of the hiring dynamic.

However, times have definitely changed.

Assume there will be a counteroffer

The main catalyst for this change is the worker and talent shortage that currently exists in the marketplace. I am talking about the job market overall and the conditions that exist within the Veterinary profession. The country is still in the throes of the “Great Resignation,” as people continue to quit their jobs at record rates. I have chronicled what is happening in the Veterinary profession in previous articles.

The unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession is nearly non-existent. In addition, based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and other sources), there will be 14,500 new veterinarian jobs created between 2020 and 2030. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to recruit and hire top talent toward the end of the decade, because there are plenty of obstacles and challenges right now. And one of those challenges involves counteroffers.

Many years ago, employers were able to make certain assumptions. One of those assumptions is that when a candidate accepted their offer of employment, that candidate was going to show up for their first day of work. In fact, a hiring manager would not even seriously consider the possibility that the candidate would not show up. Today, though, there is a very real danger that the candidate will not show up. There are two reasons for this:

  1. The candidate accepted an offer from another employer because they thought that offer was better and they may not bother to let the first organization know what they’d done.
  2. The candidate accepted a counteroffer from their current employer, and they may not bother to let to the first organization know what they had done.

Honestly, though, even if the candidate does let you know that they have accepted another offer or a counteroffer, it is not much consolation. The result is the same: you have lost them as a new employee and now you have to reconsider your options. Whereas in the past, when a candidate accepted an offer, the hiring manager would not give a second thought (or a first thought, really) to the possibility that the candidate would accept a counteroffer.

In today’s job market and especially within the Veterinary profession, when a candidate accepts an offer, the hiring manager has to assume that the candidate is going to receive a counteroffer.

This is critical for a number of reasons. First, if you are not prepared for a counteroffer, then you won’t be ready to effectively combat it. Second, if the candidate is not prepared for a counteroffer, then they won’t be able to effectively combat it, either. And from the employer’s perspective, it is definitely a problem if the candidate is not able to deal appropriately with a counteroffer.

Candidates ‘shocked’ by counteroffers

How frequent have counteroffers become, especially in the Veterinary profession? I have had candidates tell me that there was “no way” that their current employer would make a counteroffer to them. They were adamant about it. They could not conceive of a situation in which that would happen, even if they were to give their notice. And then, when they did give their notice, you can probably guess what happened: their employer made a counteroffer.

These candidates were shocked that their employer made the counteroffer, and their amazement was 100% sincere. The reason is simple. They are not fully aware of what is happening in the broader job market and specifically with in the Veterinary profession. And because of this, they are more susceptible to accepting a counteroffer, which is going to seriously disrupt the plans of the employer that just secured acceptance of its job offer.

Yes, when an organization makes a counteroffer to an employee, it is all but admitting that it was underpaying the employee all along. However, as we all know, some people look for the path of least resistance and fall into the trap of wanting to be comfortable. As a result, they will often overlook the fact that their employer had been underpaying them for what is likely a considerable amount of time. And when they do that, then it is easier for them to not only accept the counteroffer, but also rationalize it in their mind.

So, what can you do as an employer? I have addressed this topic in the past, specifically with the article, “How to Combat the Counteroffer Your Star Candidate Will Receive.” When I wrote this article, counteroffers were not as prevalent as they are now. In that article, which I encourage you to read, I outlined three things that employers can do:

  1. Accurately gauge the candidate’s sincerity (and their motivation).
  2. Prepare the candidate for the possibility of a counteroffer, even if they don’t believe it’s going to happen.
  3. Provide a superb onboarding experience.

Employers can also enlist the services of an experienced and reputable recruiting firm like The VET Recruiter. With 25 years of experience, we at The VET Recruiter have experience dealing with situations that involve top candidates and counteroffers. We can help you to prepare candidates for the possibility that they will receive a counteroffer, so they can effectively handle it when it happens and understand the ramifications of accepting one.

Recruiting top candidates and convincing them to accept your offer of employment is tough enough. Watching them accept a counteroffer from their current employer is even more difficult, considering the time, energy, effort, and talent that you’ve just lost.

You can click here to find out more about our services for employers. Click here to learn more about our recruiting process.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.