Many of the best candidates will receive competing offers because of their skill level or valuable experiences. Navigating these offers can be challenging, but remember that they are actually a good sign, further confirming the value that you believe the candidate holds. When handling competing offers, be patient, encouraging and use the following three key pressure points to your advantage.


By this point in the recruiting process, you should fully understand what drives your candidate.

Why did they decide to interview with your company in the first place?

What prompted them to explore other career paths?

Many people tend to seek out new jobs for career growth, mentorship, more responsibility, or a new team.

Often times, a competing offer will be from their current company. It’s okay to politely remind the candidate of their motivation to leave the company in the first place and highlight the features that drew them to your company.

Highlight the value the candidate will offer your team, versus returning to a company that only recognized the strength they bring when there is another offer on the table.


If the offer is from a larger company, play to your company’s strengths. Brand, mission, and responsibility are three things that a smaller company can use to their advantage when competing with offers from big companies. For example, does the candidate have a passion for the problem your company is trying to solve? Do they want to see the weight of their work and how it affects the company as a whole? Make a point to emphasis these features in any discussions with the candidate.

Curiosity, Value & Timing.

The desire to learn what else is out there is a huge factor in why people search for new jobs. A stale career often leads to unhappiness and the pursuit of something new.

When competing against an offer from the candidate’s current company, make sure to:

  • Reiterate the new experience you can offer them.
  • Appeal to the curiosity that drove them to explore new options in the first place.
  • Demonstrate that the future holds room for growth, learning new things and development.

Additionally, focus conversations around the value the candidate will hold for your team. When it comes down to it, everyone wants to be needed. Some companies talk through 30, 60 and 90 dayplans with candidates in final round interviews so they already feel invested and see the impact they would hold right away.

Let the candidate know the value they hold for your company, the impact you believe they can have and courteously point out that the company they work for now is only recognizing their value after a competing offer appeared on the table.

If the candidate has received an offer from a larger company, employ the same tactics of highlighting the value they can hold in your office. However, you’ll also want to use timing to your advantage. Larger corporations generally have more hoops to jump through before they can seal a deal. Give your candidate a deadline. (Read more tips on Negotiating a Candidate's Contract.)

Money and Equity.

Unfortunately, money is often the deciding factor in competing offers. We’ve found that more than 95% of the time, a candidate will choose the offer that is $10,000 greater than the alternative. If you’ve found a candidate that you truly love, money is the best way to seal the deal.

Equity can also be an extremely powerful tool in winning the hiring war. By offering a candidate equity, you can provide a sense of ownership that many competitors are unable to give.

Rather than simply adding equity to the equation, make sure to highlight why it’s important and what it means to have a piece of the company you’re building.


Handling competing offers well shows a lot about the character of your company and your recruiting system. Remember, while difficult to face, if the candidate accepts another offer, they probably weren’t the right fit for the role anyway. The best candidate for the position and for expanding your team will ultimately be excited about your company’s offer and accept with a thrilling yes!

Hiring? Download our webinar with Nolan Greenberg, the Director of Recruiting at Compass for the secret to closing top candidates.