QUESTION: Mike, this year has been tough. More and more candidates are either turning down offers or taking counteroffers. Any quick tips, scripts, or methods to decrease the number of counteroffers that fall off? Liz – Wisconsin.


Control the Process

Generally, when I find people with a high number of turndowns or counteroffers, they lack a distinct candidate process, from the time they have the initial conversation with a candidate until they ultimately close them. 

Many recruiters’ closing method primarily revolves around prayer. I make the offer, cross my fingers, pray to my God, and hope the placement comes together. It works sometimes. That is what your clients do. Similarly, most clients do not have a process for acceptance.  

I found psychologically, you want to make the candidate very comfortable being open with you. You want the candidate to feel confident when they tell you, “No, I do not want to go on the next interview,” or “no, I do not want the offer.” All we are looking for as recruiters are defined decisions. If we are too pushy or persuasive, they will not share the amount of information or the depth of it that we need to close the deal.  

Ask the Tough Questions

Do you have an aggressive list where the candidate feels dissatisfied with their current job?  

The following is my colleague Peter Leffkowitz’s question: 

“There is no such thing as a perfect company or a perfect opportunity, Mr. or Ms. Candidate. If you had to define some minor imperfections of your current assignment, what would some of those be?”

In the absence of those answers, it is difficult to close the candidate in the end. As we all know, it becomes very emotional at the end of the process. Fear and scarcity creep in, and the candidate thinks the devil I know is better than the one I do not.  

Step By Step

So, first, I want to get crystal clear on those minor imperfections and their impact on the candidate. 

Second, I want to find out what they enjoy about their current company, culture, and the opportunity. 

And third, I need to constantly remind the candidate of the gaps between their current situation and the ideal. 

Scripting Examples

As we go through the interview process, I would say:

Candidate, you just talked about a job, and one of the things you were looking for was a more advanced product set. You wanted to limit travel to one overnight per week because you are doing four now. From a lifestyle perspective, you wanted this, this, this, and this. These are the things that are irritating you. Where did you see solutions or how this would fix those career problems in the interview?

I do not want to sell the candidate; I want the candidates to sell themselves. I need to lean on those answers as I go through the process. If you have a process, I have all that information. I have taken detailed notes on it. At the same time, I am constantly checking in with them on compensation. My strategy was never to have an offer made that I knew would not be accepted. 

You want to be testing a candidate throughout the process. It might sound something like this:

Where does this rank? 

It is in my top three. 

So then it is third. 

I did not say that.  

Yes, you did. If it were number one, you would say it was number one. If it were second, you would say it was in the top two. I am entirely okay with it being third. Is there anything my client can do or any answers you could hear from this opportunity to vault it to number one? If so, what are they?

Again, maintain that neutrality so the candidate can be honest with you. 

I have got to fill the job. If it is not with you, it is with someone else, and I am not even sure they would offer you the job. I want to know where you stand because at the end of the process, as we talked about when I first took the datasheet, we will come together on a number and a date, and if you cannot commit to that, that is a hard no. 

In Sum

It is all about those expectations. This topic takes a few hours to train in detail, but when you do all those things the right way, they cannot say, “no, I will take a counteroffer.” Throughout the process, you set the expectation that they can say no at any point in time, but the second they say yes, they are committed to the offer.

Still, having trouble with candidate preparation, debriefs, and closing techniques? We call this Flawless Execution, and it is just one of the nine key drivers of building a successful recruiting business. Get a complete audit of your business with the Recruiting Firm Optimizer Model – the process that turns your business into a scalable revenue-generating machine. Sign up here for instant access to our Firm Optimizer Mini Class. It’s free!

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your recruitment business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Retainer Blueprint

It’s the exact, step-by-step process of getting clients to give you money upfront.​

2. Join the Recruiter Think Tank and connect with firm owners who are scaling too It’s our Facebook community where smart recruiters learn to make more money and get more freedom.​​…

3. Join me at our next event

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4. Work with me and my team privately

And if you ever want to get some 1:1 help, we can jump on the phone for a quick call, and brainstorm how to get you more leads, more placements, and more time.​

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