Common to all transportation and logistics companies you are trying to keep a key employee or trying to hire an important candidate when you are advised by that employee that they have received a better or higher offer from a competing transportation or logistics company! Of course, it is more prevalent in today’s tight job market.


I have had this also happen to me as a Transportation/Logistics recruiter. I was trying to find an engineering candidate for a Railroad vendor. The candidate had interviewed several people and accepted the job offer, the salary, benefits etc. The night before the candidate’s start date (signed), his boss called him at home and offered him a substantial raise in pay and benefits. Due to the timing of the counter offer, I didn’t get a chance to deflect or counter this counter-offer in any way and he had not shown up for work that Monday am. By the time I got to him the whole thing was over with. I’m sure the timing wasn’t accidental. The employer timed it just right. It was a Sunday night and the candidate felt he had to take it right then. The candidate was blinded by a better deal. So this was one way an transportation employer can keep an employee who accepted a job offer elsewhere.


I have seen this happen with the transportation and logistics clients whether they are in air freight, truck freight, ocean freight, railroad, or in logistics. No one is immune to this. When your employee accepts a counter-offer (buy back) it is often career suicide. The candidate will have squandered his or her honor, something that can haunt an employee for many years. It is a clear case of short-term gain and long-term pain. It is your job (the hiring manager, HR, executive, or recruiter) to get into a sales mode and help the candidate review the facts. You can meet in person, and remind the candidate that:

  • There are reasons that the transportation / logistics candidate agreed to talk to you. They have already done their pros and cons list when they accepted the new position. You need to go over that list with them and revisit the reasons.
  • The candidate probably made a mental list of the things caused them to look or hear about a new job. You need to find out why they would want to go back into your company environment.
  • A desire to make a change is not always connected to compensation, so you need to ask the candidate how the pay increase will change this.
  • Will the pay increase change the business model, improve sinking morale or rid the candidate of irritating employee(s)? No way!
  • Betrayal becomes a one of the deepest human emotions and it breeds mistrust. Despite the best intentions, the bitter taste of disloyalty will linger. Employees who accept a counter-offer will now be suspect any time they take a day off, no matter how legitimate, as the employer will assume it’s a repeat of them interviewing again.
  • Employees who accept a count-offer are expected to perform like a new hire, proving themselves all over again to justify the new salary and/or position.
  • Since the employee has now shown their cards, they will likely be passed over for promotions and will be first on the chopping block if downsizing happens.
  • Another possibility is that after six month or so, management will start to resent the employee for extorting more money from the transporting or recruiting company.
  • Study after study shows that over 80% of the employees who accept a counter-offer are no longer with that employer within two years!
  • Word does get around. Recruiters, headhunters, executives never forget a buy back. Candidates may think that they are no hard feelings with the recruiter there are. This will make it difficult to go back into market, which will happen. I placed a “life-time ban” on this employee along with my client.

Your goal is to get the candidate to change their mind again and help them understand that they should honor their signed offer letter and come on board with your company. You have to try and not make the candidate feel trapped. You want then to understand what may happen if they go to the old job against the benefits of the new position of your company. If the negatives of going back are combined with the positives of moving to the new company, then the decision is clear: they must leave. Your part of convincing them that you have their best interests at heart, and that rejecting their counter-offer is the best thing for them to do for their career.

On the other side of the fence when an employee comes to you with an offer and say they are leaving you have two other options:

  1. Let them go.
  • Congratulate them.
  • Get whatever information you can of where they are going.
  • Line up an exit interview.
  • Starting working on a transition plan.
  • Look for a new and better candidate for the job.


  1. If you can’t get along without them (yet)
  • Tell them how great they are.
  • Offer more money to stay.
  • Get them to commit to staying.
  • Immediately get to work on finding a new replacement for them.
  • Get the employee to train the new person on their specialized knowledge.
  • Since the trust has been broken and there is no longer a fit, fire the employee (without cause).

At Crabtree & Eller we recruit specifically in Transportation and Logistics and focus on a high level of service in the areas of Ocean Freight, Air Freight, Logistics, Trucking and Rail.  If you have hiring needs we can help.  Give me a call at 303-814-5878 or email me at .