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Ask the Expert

Each month, we will tackle one of those burning questions that keeps you awake at night or causes heartburn during the day. Our team of experts will help you stay in the know. We’ll give you the information and answers you need to your questions about recruiting trends, legislation, workplace issues and more.

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6 Tips to Respond to a Candidate's Counteroffer That Drive Acceptance

This month’s question continues our discussion of employment offers. What should you do if a candidate proposes a counteroffer? This could be asking for a higher salary, more time off, sign-on bonuses, flexible schedules, or just about anything. What we do know is that negotiating counteroffers with a potential employee can be a delicate process. But there are some general steps you can follow to help ensure a successful outcome.

1. Know Your Budget

Before negotiating salary with a candidate, have a clear understanding of your budget and the salary range you can offer for the position. This can help you set realistic expectations and avoid overpromising.

2. Focus On the Candidate's Value

Instead of negotiating solely based on the candidate's current salary or industry standards, focus on the value they can bring to the company. Discuss how their skills and experience can contribute to the organization's success and growth.

3. Understand the Candidate's Perspective

It is important to understand the candidate's motivations and priorities before starting negotiations. Ask them why they are making the counteroffer, what is important to them in a job, and what they hope to gain from negotiations.

4. Be Prepared to Compromise

Negotiations require give and take. Be prepared to make concessions on some points to secure the candidate you want.

4. Focus On Mutual Benefit

Emphasize that the goal is to find a solution that works for both parties. Avoid making ultimatums or threats, as this can create a confrontational atmosphere.

6. Be Transparent

Be honest and transparent throughout the negotiation process. If you are unable to meet a candidate's requests, explain why, and explore alternatives that might be acceptable to both parties.

Overall, negotiating counteroffers requires clear communication, empathy, and a willingness to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Each organization is different and what works well in one organization may not meet another organization's needs. Understanding the nuances of counteroffers is important to keeping your acceptance rates high. Our team of experts is ready to assist you with understanding how to structure an offer your candidates will be excited to accept. Contact us at or 703-362-0175 to set up a time to speak with one of our experts.


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