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Targeting IT Talent

Beware of Buy Backs

I was astounded to hear from a fellow recruiter recently that in just one week alone,  three candidates, each with a job offer, had turned the job offers down in favour of staying with their current employers.

This is known as “buy back” as the current employer only gives the candidate what they want (such as money, projects, job title) when faced with a resignation. The employer needs to keep that person in place to deliver. Usually the employee leaves within 6 months anyway, but it buys the employer time to plan. In the meantime, you’re left interviewing more candidates and hoping it doesn’t happen next time.

Buy backs are nothing new, but the increased demand for talent in a market short of candidates, puts the candidates in the driving seat.

So what can you do to avoid wasting all that time to the recruitment process to find your offer rejected?  Firstly, ask your recruiter what the candidate’s motivations are for moving before you interview. Then when you interview:

  1. Ask why they’re looking and what is missing in their current role that they hope to find elsewhere. Do you get the same consistent answer as from the recruiter?
  2. When they tell you what is missing, ask them if they have discussed this with their current employer. If they haven’t then alarm bells should ring as ideally, they should have exhausted opportunities with their current employer first.
  3. Ask what it will take to make them move and not be tempted to stay where they are.  This could be specific programmes / projects, transformation, deliverables, challenges, salary and or benefits. They are then committing to you that if you can provide this, then their interested.

If you are satisfied by the answer to the above questions and decided to make a job offer, then make sure it is what the candidate asked for. Often employers offer fractionally more than the candidate is on, hoping that it will be enough to tempt the candidate. But when the current employer gets wind of this and starts playing on the heartstrings of the candidate then you’ll lose out.  

So go back with a meaningful financial offer with details of the role in terms of the challenge you are offering. They’ve told you what will get their commitment so show them you are equally committed back.

If you’d like more ideas on avoiding Buy Back then email me at vickidouglas@genium.biz

Posted 01.09.2022

Category: For clients

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