Losing a candidate to a counteroffer is a killer. Picture this: You are already many months into your search for that evasive talent you need to head whatever department. You are finally down to that one person who you believe will make the difference. Your favourite candidate has indicated an intention to join and an offer has been negotiated. Both parties have agreed and you have it on paper. The head office and your local organisation have already been informed about the new arrival. A sigh of relief.

Then the dreaded phone call comes in one morning. “Sorry, but I don’t think I can join your team. My boss has given me a new big important project. He told me I’m the only one in the company who he can trust to lift this sort of responsibility. He said I’m the star of the company and the head office has acknowledged I’m the future for them. Actually the boss had planned to tell me this two weeks ago but was too busy. If I leave, the company’s operation in Thailand may not survive and it will impact on all my colleagues. They are all so nice to me. He also gave me a new title, a 20% salary increase and a new company car”. You: Aaaaarrrrggghhhh; !*$#@#$*!!!  

Giving notice can be the most emotional time for a candidate. The pressure that the current employer, manager and colleagues, may put on someone can be very hard.

Today’s corporate environment has made the counteroffer an important weapon in the war for talent. Many companies on purpose keep salary costs down until they absolutely have to pay their best talent.

Your boss is going to be shocked that you have accepted another position and that you are leaving. The first thing that will go through his mind is how your resignation will have an impact on him. He may have to work more hours until a replacement is found; your leaving will lower the morale of the rest of the staff, and your boss may have an extremely difficult time finding someone with your qualifications to replace you. He is also thinking about what his own boss is going to say that a senior person is leaving the company. Honestly, this is not about you but how he gets himself out of the mess when you leave. End of the day it is much easier and cheaper for your company and boss to try to keep you rather than losing you (especially if it's to a competitor).  

But ask yourself why it is that on the day you give notice suddenly your opinions are so important to the boss. Why have the boss and company only now become concerned about your future or why the company only now is ready to talk about compensation when they are face to face with losing you? Why weren't you worth that much to them yesterday? Does it take you leaving to get something you should have been getting anyway? If so, is that the type of company you want to work for?      

Decent and well managed companies never make counteroffers. Ever. Period.