Dealing with a counter-offer is not ideal. But it is a situation you are likely to be faced with when recruiting top design and architecture talent. Here are some things you can do if you find yourself in this position.
To dissuade your A-grade candidate from accepting a counter-offer, ensure your original offer is difficult to refuse.
When making your offer, it's vital to tailor it to the candidate's needs and wants, as well as solve any pain points they may have with their current position. If you conducted your candidate interviews in the right way, you should be adequately armed with this important information.
An optimal design or architecture personalised offer includes:
- The right compensation package
- Tailored professional development/career opportunities
- Perks or benefits - both specific to the role & agency-wide
- A short but compelling section about your company culture
Presenting your personalised offer in the right way
When presenting your offer, be enthusiastic and specific about why you want them to join your agency. Tell them exactly why you chose them over all the other candidates.
Remind them about your fantastic culture, particularly as this is something candidates are really looking for in a new role, as well as giving them a recap of all the exciting projects and opportunities you have on the horizon.
A further suggestion is to present your offer in person by inviting your potential hire into the agency. You might like to consider adding on an informal meeting afterwards with colleagues. This is just another key opportunity to help the candidate envision their place within your firm.
If your candidate then receives a counter-offer, there are still a number of actions you can take to address it.
Your counter-offer checklist
Listen and be empathetic
Encourage your potential hire to fully explain their counter-offer, and the reasons why they are considering it.
You might uncover the current employer's counter-offer matches yours, but the candidate is either reluctant to leave the 'known' and jump into the unknown, or concerned their departure will leave long-standing colleagues in the lurch.
Should this be the case, explain that you understand their reluctance to leave. Remind them of the reasons why they wanted to leave in the first place, which you explored in the interview. Be upfront about how your agency differs, and what opportunities your role presents in contrast to their pain points.
If you are able, match the offer
While you don't want to get into a bidding war for their services, think about whether you can match or exceed the counter-offer. It might not necessarily be in terms of salary, but may be extra benefits such as a work from home option, or a bigger training budget. Think back to what excited them during their interview when you talked about the role, and hone in on it.
If you can't match the offer, politely explain your offer is the best you can do
Should it be the case you have no room to move, let the candidate know. If you believe you may have opportunities in the near future that match what they're currently being offered, tell them. At the same time, reiterate why you feel they would be an important part of your agency.
If the answer is still no, thank them for their time, for showcasing their work, and for considering joining your agency. With the Australian design industry being so small, it's always a good idea to leave candidates with a positive impression of you and your firm, no matter what decision they make.
Need more help?
Those are the key actions you can employ should the design talent you want receive a counter-offer. At Kappa Executive Search, we've witnessed many tricky architecture and design offer negotiations. We'd be happy to provide you with some further advice should you need it.