How To Poach Employees From A Competitor

Every business is actively searching for their next rockstar employee. Reliable, experienced, top performers are hard to find when you need them, but it’s what your business needs if you want to be successful.

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What many people don’t realize is that the working world is overflowing with talent. But sometimes the best candidates are already working for someone else. If that’s the case, it might be tempting to poach employees away from your rivals. Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

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Poaching employees is the act of luring employees away from your competitor and hiring them at your business. It’s a questionable practice that’s common for employees with highly specialized skill sets. As HR pros, we all know how a star employee can positively impact our businesses, but is it worth starting a talent war?

In today’s modern world, it’s easy to jump on LinkedIn or browse a company website to learn about your competitor’s team. Or maybe you just accidentally stumble upon the perfect person for the job while actively recruiting. It’s easier than ever to find the right person, but when they work for your competitor it can be tricky to convince them to join your team.

Some people may consider poaching employees as an ethical gray area, but in most cases it’s ok as long as you follow the rules. If you’re going to poach employees from your competitors, here are a few things to think about first:

  1. Set Boundaries – Consult with your team and management to establish a clear and ethical recruitment policy. Write it down and follow it at all times. Be consistent in recruitment policies even if you really want to hire a certain individual.
  2. Keep It Professional – Always be polite and professional. If you’re truly interested in poaching an employee, your competition will find out. Be open and honest and ask permission first.
  3. Make Contact – It’s okay to make contact and start a conversation with an employee who works at another company. Test the waters and see if they have any interest in joining your team. If they do, it’s time to start getting serious.
  4. Check Any And All Agreements – Consult with your legal team to determine any legal repercussions of poaching employees. There may be non-compete agreements or privacy agreements in play.
  5. Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse If everything is a green light and things look like the star employee may jump ship and join your team, make them an honest and competitive offer. Any job offer must be stronger than what the original employer is offering.

When poaching employees, you will be walking a fine line in the recruitment world. If it pays off, your new recruit can bring knowledge, clients, skills, tactics, and more to your business. If it backfires, you can land in hot water. Or worse, your competitors will start poaching top talent from your business.

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