As a recruiter, I’m well aware of the pitfalls of considering and accepting a counteroffer from an existing or other employer.  However, there is very little available advice for employers who want to avoid the dreaded “No Start”.

Don’t believe anyone who says that recruiting is easy right now, and that any employer can pick and choose from a large number of highly qualified, capable and desperate candidates.  Even though the volume of advertised jobs is still low, and many people are either being made redundant, or are working in its looming shadow, finding and securing the very best talent is as hard as ever.

In a time when recruiting the right people for your business is all the more crucial, competition to get that ideal person can be fierce.  OK, so you’ve interviewed, 2nd interviewed, and made a good offer to your favoured candidate, who then accepts.  Job done; you can rest easy and give yourself a well-earned pat on the back.  Not on your nelly!  You should know, only too well, that a good candidate will have been for several interviews, and will be made more than one job offer.  Not only that, their current employer may fight to retain them, when they hand in their resignation.  As the old saying goes, “There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip”.  That one month notice period they are working, presents ample time for the vultures (recruitment agencies?) to swoop, and turn the head of your new potential employee.  Remember that once he/she has announced to the world that they are moving on, they become open season for any other opportunities which will be brought to their attention.  Just like housebuyers in the English property system, it is entirely possible that you will be gazumped.

So what to do?  In this age of social media, communication (good and bad) is rife, and your planned new employee will be finding out much more about your firm than has ever been possible before.  If I had a new job at say Jobsite (as Mervyn Dinnen did last week), I would be searching every possible resource to find out everything I could about their history, staff, reputation etc.  A smart employer would be helping the candidate to find all this information, by involving them as soon as possible, and well in advance of their formal start date.  Stay close to your new employee, keep them onside, keep the lines of communication open.  Discuss openly how they would feel if another offer was made to them, and how they plan to handle it.  That way, any concerns they may have, developments that might come along, or bridges that need to be crossed, can be discussed at the earliest possible time. Invite the new boy/girl to meet current staff members, change their Linkedin profile, announce it on Twitter, and even write a blog about it.  All of these steps, and more, can help to lock-in your new person, and make them feel like they are already committed to the role and your company.  If this is done professionally, potential bad news can often be averted.

The road to filling any individual job can be long and arduous. The recruitment process often mistakenly ends on the day an offer is accepted.  Remember, competing offers for your man/woman may not even appear until he/she has begun working for you.  Retaining your staff begins at the interview stage, and is particularly crucial for the first 3 months of employment.  You really don’t want to go through all of this again, do you?

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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