Direct Recruiting From the Competition

Scouting out a potential employee from a rival firm can mean bringing on someone who already knows your industry, your business, and can bring valuable new knowledge and even clients to you. But it’s a delicate and slippery slope and one that has to be treaded lightly. As enticing as it is, hiring from the competition requires caution and a certain degree of finesse. There is usually an unwritten “code of conduct”, and you don’t want to get a reputation as a poacher, start a tit-for-tat talent war with a competitor or, worst of all, get sued for breaching a non-compete agreement. So, before venturing down that path, here are some things to consider when you’re tempted to look to the competition for your next employee:

Take a subtle approach.

If your financial or accounting firm can afford it, hire a “search firm”. These firms can find candidates and keep you at an arm’s length from the potentially distasteful business of “poaching” (you may cringe at the word, but there is no going around it). A good search firm uses a polished, subtle approach. They’ll talk with potential candidates about ‘an opportunity’ in vague terms, until they can gauge interest. If this is not in the budget, then you need to come up with a similar plan for your HR team; discussing at length what you are and aren’t looking for in candidates.

Look both ways before crossing the road.

Perhaps the most important thing to think about is whether the candidate you’re looking at is really worth the trouble. Don’t recruit the resume, recruit the talent. Just because a potential candidate has the right job with your competition, doesn’t mean they are qualified or a good “fit” for your financial firm. To avoid the problem, do thorough reference checks, and really study the candidate’s background, to get a sense of what’s driving them. If it turns out that the candidate you’ve been eyeing at a competitor is as good as you hoped, and you want to begin talking with them more seriously about joining your firm, a critical step is to find out whether they have a non-compete agreement with their current employer. If they do, and they jump ship to join your firm, depending on the state in which you’re based, you may be in for a great deal of trouble, including a lawsuit in some cases. Some states take non-compete agreements very seriously. An employment lawyer can advise you on how best to proceed.

Look at motivation beyond just compensation.

If after all your research, you decide this is the candidate for you, remember one thing; it’s not just about money. Most people are motivated by things they weren’t, or aren’t, offered at their current job: recognition, opportunity, and more innovation and excitement. 

At Pridestaff Financial we understand how competitive the market can be. We want you to have the most up to date and relevant information when looking to hire candidates.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the best fit for your firm.