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Consequences of a Counter Offer

In the current competitive economy, it is common practice for employers to do everything in their power to keep an employee from resigning. Counter offers often include newly created incentives that were previously not offered to the employee such as bonuses, promotions, and flexible schedules. Typically these are offered to entice the candidate with short term benefits that mask the underlying issues that the company has failed to address previously. Statistics show, and my personal experience has shown, that while there are reasons a counter offer makes sense for the employer, there are consequences that employees should strongly consider before accepting a counter offer. Here are three of them:

Relationships Change
If there is one truth to the workplace, it is that there are few secrets. Chances are by the time an employee resigns and gets a counter offer, several people have been told. This can effect the dynamic of everyone in the office is sudden perks or incentives are offered to one employee, but not to others. Just the process of resignation and counter offer impacts relationships. The employee had mentally committed themselves to moving on to their next opportunity and is now confused and emotionally torn having to rethink the decision at a time when their emotions can impact what should be a logical decision. . Additionally, the supervisors or colleagues may have a feeling that the company is “chasing” an employee who really had decided to leave in almost every case supervisors and employees tend to be less trustful of and willing to work closely with an employee who has already “resigned once.” Managers and supervisors also report that the process of an employee resigning and then “staying for more money” makes them feel manipulated and not in control of the employment process. The end result is an employee who accepts a counter offer may never be viewed or treated exactly the same way again.

Issues Remain
In the heat of the moment, offering the employee more money to avoid their departure may make sense. For the employee, getting more salary and possible perks and benefits without having to go through the trouble of changing jobs can sound good as well. However, research and experience tells us that money is rarely the sole reason an employee looks to make a change. Once someone has identified things about their current role that made them unhappy enough to seek a new position, those issues are hard to forget. A recent study by Accenture reports that the top reasons an employee looks for another job are:

Very few counter offers can resolve or address these areas of discontent.

Likely to Still Leave
Perhaps the most compelling reason for an employee to not accept a counter offer is that they will likely leave the company in the near future anyway. Studies from the Wall Street Journal show the following statistics regarding those who accept counteroffers:

For many employees a counter offer is a short term solution. Sooner or later the same factors that lead them to look for another position will cause them to leave. When this happens the employee can only hope that a position as good as the one they turned-down last time is still available.

As a recruiter I see many companies attempt to use counter offers to avoid workplace disruption. Not to mention that it looks bad and causes a lot of headaches for a manager when an employee leaves. For an employee whose reasons for looking went beyond just compensation, counter offers rarely lead to a happy long-term career.

Consequences of a Counter Offer

High Demand Skills in Accounting & Finance

One of the most rewarding parts of our job is finding that “right fit” for our candidates. In most cases, folks have a pretty clear idea about what they have not enjoyed in their current or previous positions, and what they want in their next one. While it is important to know what you are looking for in a new job, I often encourage candidates to also consider their skills from the employer’s perspective. Candidates should really think about how their skills align with an employer’s desired skill set and do some selective “shopping” for the right match.

Employers within the accounting and finance industry require a specific mix of personal and technical skills. We typically tell candidates to assume that everyone the client meets will be able to technically perform the job duties at a similar level. Therefore, who gets hired depends heavily on the non-technical or secondary skills match. Whether you are looking for a job as a Financial Analyst, an Accounting Manager or a CFO, the following are the three most commonly evaluated secondary skillsets candidates should be prepared to discuss and showcase in an interview.

Clear Communications

Employers place a high value on candidates with strong communications skills. Accounting & Finance professionals don’t just have to understand numbers – they often have to communicate them clearly to those who are not as numbers oriented. Candidates should be prepared to talk about their ability to explain financial policies and procedures and highlight their skills in presenting financial data. Candidates should also showcase their skills in explaining financial information and data in both formal and informal settings. For example, if in your last position you had to explain the quarterly financial performance of your division to new members of the sales team supporting that division, be sure to mention it; this is a great way to demonstrate that you can communicate financial messages to non-finance professionals.

Software Smarts

In accounting and finance, as well as other fields, the ability to use software is a big part of any job. Employers are looking for experience with popular financial software packages such as SAP or Oracle. Candidates should share specific programs with which they are experienced. If you have experience using SAP Business Suite, Business Objects, Crystal Reports or Cognos, be sure to list those on your resume. Specifically, employers are looking for how you used technology. Share your experience within context. Be prepared to discuss how you used Crystal Reports to analyze financial data to uncover business trends and opportunities. Software experience tells the employer that you actually have working knowledge of software vs. just knowing its name.

Quantitative Quality

While there are always employment trends, or changes in some of the skills employers’ desire, one thing that will never change is the need for accounting and finance candidates to have excellent math skills. Employers value candidates with the ability to calculate and analyze complex financial data. Also in high demand is broad knowledge of economics and financial markets. Candidates should highlight their experience creating financial reports, budgets, balance sheets and income statements. If you have examples where you analyzed data to the benefit of your employer, such as reviewing financial reports and finding ways to reduce costs, be sure to share them. Personal stories where you applied your quantitative skills to add value will grab an interviewer’s attention.

Looking for a new position is exciting, and a little stressful. By having a clear understanding of what employers are looking for, and thinking through how your skills are a match for their needs, you’ll be better equipped to land the job that’s the best fit for you!

High Demand Skills in Accounting & Finance

Resume Review Tips for Employers

As a recruiter, I see and read hundreds of a resumes in a month. After so many years in the industry, I have developed a few resume “instincts” that help me determine if a candidate is worth a call or an interview. But, employers have a much more difficult time reviewing resumes. They don’t see them on a regular basis, and as a result it is hard to know exactly what to look for. The following are two parts of a resume employers should closely consider before bringing any candidate in for an interview.

     1. Mobility vs. Change

Attitudes and realities about job changes have evolved in the last decade. Gone are the days of not considering a candidate who had multiple job tenures below five years. The current job environment sometimes requires people hold multiple positions during a shorter period of time. Employers should watch for resumes where the person has held the same or similar title multiple times. If they are applying for a job with close to the same title, chances are they know what the job entails. This helps employers avoid a candidate who is looking for a position as a stepping stone or way into the organization.

But, if the candidate has spent many years working at one level, and is now applying for a position several levels higher, employers should take note. A desire for upward mobility is good, but trying to jump too many levels may mean the candidate is not realistic or truly knowledgeable about what the position will require.

Employers should also watch for candidates who have decreased their organizational “stature” through their last few positions. Sometimes a candidate will try a management level position, and decide they don’t like the supervisory duties. Makes sense. But you should be wary of a candidate who used to hold a Vice President or other senior level position but is applying for a manager or coordinator position.

Finally, I suggest that employers avoid candidates who change jobs, titles, companies and industries frequently. This can be an indicator that the candidate is easily bored or has a hard time digging into a position and being a long term contributor.

     2. Accomplishments vs. Hype

It is important for employers to review a resume and determine what success a candidate has had in their prior positions. Many resume experts encourage candidates to use numbers to quantify their accomplishments. As an employer, your job is to review these numbers and other claims and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do these numbers and claims look reasonable? Could someone really bring every project in 24% under budget?
  • Do these accomplishments seem aligned with the candidate’s title? Or are they overstating things?
  • Is what’s provided really an accomplishment, or just a collection of popular buzz words that don’t actually say anything?
  • Is the resume full of grand and bold statements with no substantiation? Does it just sound too good to be true?

A resume is designed to present the candidate as they wish to be seen. But, employers need to dig a little deeper before making the determination to spend time on an interview. Figuring out what the candidate really has to offer is what reviewing a resume is all about.

Resume Review Tips for Employers

Why Everyone Should “Date” a Recruiter

It is my belief that everyone, employers and job candidates alike, should “date” a staffing agency recruiter. Why? Because, starting and maintaining a relationship with a recruiter can bring you immediate and ongoing value.

Let’s say you are a hiring manager, and just lost a team member whose technical skills and disposition made her a key employee. While most solid recruiters can find you candidates with the proper skillset for your open role, what are important to you are the intangible skills of your departing employee. For example, she could work very well across business units and with just about any personality type in your organization. For you to replace her, you need someone who understands you and your organization in a very real and personal manner.

Let’s also assume that you are a manager with 15 years professional experience. Prior to your current role you have held two jobs at two different companies. Each time you have changed jobs in the past, you have used a different recruiter. Unfortunately, you are no longer in touch with either recruiter. Now, you have a very important role to fill that requires the right skills and personality. If you had maintained a long-term, active relationship with your recruiter(s), you would have someone ready to quickly assess your needs and understand the unique nature of your hiring situation. By having an ongoing relationship with a recruiter, they would be well-situated to fill your role quickly and accurately – two things that you badly need.

And, there are other ways your recruiter could be adding value. If as a hiring manager, you know that you will be adding staff in the next 3-6 months, you could engage your recruiter to help with this process before the jobs are even posted. Recruiters see a lot of candidates over the course of a month or two. When we know what you are looking for, we can alert you to a top-notch, “A” player when we meet them. Recruiters also know many passive candidates that are only interested in making a move to if the pay and work environment are right. By matching you to these “unknown” candidates we can help speed your hiring process.

Speaking of job candidates, you too may one day find yourself suddenly out of a job. Changes, such as the sale of your company, can quickly change your employment status and security. You will be ahead if you already have a relationship with a great recruiter who will work tirelessly on your behalf to find your next opportunity.

So next time your phone rings and it’s me on the other line, take a moment to consider your recruiter relationship status. Maybe it’s time to start that relationship and maybe, just maybe, it’s time for a change. Pick up the phone. Take a chance. It may be the start of a something beautiful.

Why Everyone Should “Date” a Recruiter