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The art of the counter offer – Why negotiation can be a big part of the employment process

A candidate-driven environment

Occasionally someone will ask us why we are so successful in finding candidates for our clients. The world of recruitment for the building products and contract interiors trade can be an interesting one at times, to say the least. It would be wonderful if it were as simple as a client calls us, we call a prospective employee, and they start work. It would be great, but it isn’t like that. At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, despite the current potential instability with Brexit and so on, the economy of the job market is pretty favourable for the employee. Currently, there are a lot of factors affecting the availability and suitability of candidates.

  • Unemployment is low which means fewer people are actively looking for work
  • The construction and related industries are busy and expanding which means more vacancies
  • There is a skills gap in some areas which means specialists are in demand

What this can boil down to for businesses seeking to fill an individual job role is a candidate-driven environment. With more potential employment comes more choice.

It’s not a new situation

Of course, this not a new situation and it has always been the case that some potential employees were in more demand and therefore had a little more choice over job decisions than others. This was particularly true in highly specialised or very senior roles, for example. So this is not new it is just considerably more widespread than in the past. What it means is that, at the risk of blowing our own trumpet a little here, having a recruiter who knows the industry and has a pool of candidates to draw from becomes vital if you want the right team in place.

It also means that the most successful employment campaigns tend to have shifted perspective a little and employers wanting to attract the passive candidate or those in high demand are reacting to ensure they get the workers they need.

  • Have a counter offer ready. It is becoming more and more common that a job offer isn’t the end of the process. A candidate will often be tempted back with a counter offer from an existing employee or a rival business looking to employ them. It is a fact of life and if clients are looking to fill a role with a skills gap or low availability it may well be worth keep a counter offer of your own ready for use if needed. That may mean budgeting for a little more just in case it is needed or being prepared to bend a little in other contract areas such as working from home or annual leave.
  • For the candidate, while it may feel good to receive that counter offer from the current employer it may not always be the best move to accept it. There was probably a reason for considering a move, so it’s important to retain perspective in the final decision. In fact, that is probably the subject for another article.
  • Quick is king when it comes to acceptance. Once the decision is made it is really worth pushing the offer, the take-up and the start date to make them as fast as possible. A speedily delivered employment offer and contract can negate a counter offer if everything is signed and sealed before the candidate receives it.
  • Employer profiles are important to passive candidates. For all that we are saying budget for a counter offer, we know that candidates are not just driven by a few pounds extra in the bank. They will research and evaluate the employer against a current role or another offer.
  • Building from the inside may be a solution. Creating “intrapreneurs” and building a workforce through training may be a good option for you.

Of course, these are just a few suggestions, and we are happy to help candidates and clients further.

Whatever the employment market is doing, one thing is always true; the right employee meeting the right employer is the best basis for the employment process. At the moment though, it may mean going an extra mile to ensure they sign on the dotted line afterwards