Spare a thought for your Recruiter!

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The role of a recruiter is not an easy one. Thanks to the actions of a few chancers over the years, recruiters are generally not held in high regard in the UK and can be distrusted by clients. This coupled with the fact that our product or commodity for sale has its own free will and can be economical with truth makes it all the more challenging, but we’re a tenacious bunch and that’s why we do it, to succeed in the face of adversity!

Every recruiter will have been in the situation where they’ve put in the hours of hard graft for a client with a difficult to fill or niche role. They’ve searched, called, contacted & interviewed 10’s if not hundreds of potential candidates and had to deal with the lack of response, unrealistic expectations and “the unsuitables” to get to the shortlist of spot-on applicants. The offer finally comes through after weeks (or even months) of hard work, and not wanting to jinx it you quietly high five yourself having spoken to the candidate who initially seems pleased, but then comes the counteroffer.

Now don’t get me wrong, a good recruiter will have qualified the candidate’s reasons for wanting to leave from the off and if you google counter offers there’s a myriad of different articles that will tell you that 80% of people who accept a counter offer from their current employer leave within the next 6 months. That figure increases to 90% over 12 months but still 57% of counteroffers are accepted despite the best advice.

It’s important here to highlight the reasons people have decided to jump ship in the first place as these generally remain after a counteroffer is accepted. It might be because of a lack of opportunity, progression, training or just that they feel undervalued. Often an employer will tell the candidate they were just about to give them a raise, promotion, training etc, but it shouldn’t take you threatening to leave to get your employer to suddenly pay you what you’re worth or put a progression structure in front of you. You also need to consider what this does to trust and confidence in your commitment with your employer. You’ll probably never become a partner or a shareholder If you’ve threatened to leave and if redundancies are required, they’re more likely to target those whose trust is questionable.

All this spells disaster for the recruiter as that bonus you’d already mentally spent, dissipates along with the contribution to that month’s target. The client will likely want someone to blame so the recruiter gets it in the neck (despite having lost out the most in all this) and has to start the whole process again in the hope that they qualify the next candidate well enough to advise of the pitfalls of taking a counteroffer if one is made.

We understand why Company’s make counter offers, it might stop a domino effect of others leaving for more money elsewhere or it may get them to the end of a project without losing key staff, but any employer with commercial acumen will be aware of the counter offer stats and will be using the 2-3 months after a buy-back offer to line up your replacement as the stats speak for themselves. So, one way or another – you’ll be off! There is a statistic out there that says it costs 213% of an existing employees salary to replace them when factoring in the cost of recruitment, training and lost revenue. So, if you think an extra £5-10k or a new job title is satisfying your needs, it’s really just in your employers’ interests to keep you on board as long as possible to avoid replacement costs.


At som-3 we play the role of advisers as many candidates will be relatively inexperienced at moving roles and stepping up the ladder, so the decision is always yours and we’ll support you. There are some positive outcomes from counter offers but the negative reality is that 80% of people don’t last long after a counteroffer, so spare a thought for your recruiter if you stay put as they’ll have to deal with an angry client, angry manager, and have to start the whole process over again.