Considerations When Hiring Employees from Your Direct Competitors

Recruiting of Competitor Employees Warrants Some Discretion and Sensitivity

Integrating More Compassion and Kindness into the WorkplaceWhen asked to offer their views on the factors critical to operating a successful business, most owners/senior managers will customarily state the need to hire the best employees as one of their top priorities. Though this is an admirable goal and indeed an important facet for success, it is a formidable assignment too; just ask any hiring manager who has been charged with filling staffing needs created by expansion or unexpected departures.

Why is this objective so challenging to achieve?  Because it would simply be absurd for a company to have the directive of hiring the worst possible employees only, which in turn means that every competitor in that particular market is essentially looking for the same people.  What often complicates this further is the fact that one or more of those direct competitors will already have these highly desirable candidates as their own employees.

Consequently, employers focused on hiring top-quality staff not only need to identify any candidates but must also lure them away from their current employment situation; this practice of recruiting people from a direct competitor is known as poaching employees.

When someone hears the word poaching, it is quite likely that their initial thoughts would turn to illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals.  However, within the corporate world, it is important to distinguish that poaching employees is not illegal; nevertheless, this is a method of recruiting that must be practiced with:

  • Subtlety – using a third party or recruiting agency to approach candidates
  • Limitations – restrict/confine recruiting activities to a selected list of targets
  • Judiciousness – ensure that any targeted candidate will be a good cultural fit
  • Risk Assessment – what will it cost to hire? how will it be received internally?

Companies that choose to recruit in this manner can definitely benefit by attracting a top employee from a rival firm; when their search efforts are successful, employers can gain skills, experience, market knowledge, clients, and more that could have been deficient or missing altogether from their respective organizations.  But if the search is perceived as too overt/too aggressive, it can have some harmful effects on their organization such as:

  • Demoralising existing staff who may feel slighted about career progression
  • Creating a reputation as a poacher rather than a supporter of internal staff
  • Provoking the competitor to initiate a reciprocal poaching of top employees
  • Overpaying (salary) thus affecting possible merit increases for existing staff
  • Litigation related to perceived/actual breaching of non-compete agreements

In addition to the degrees of discretion and sensitivity suggested above, companies that are looking to hire away any competitor employees must ensure that their offer/package has enough substance to make it suitably attractive; in other words, there must be some valid reasons/benefits for the candidate to consider making a move, not just the benefits to the company.

To that end, companies would be well-advised to present detailed offers that consist of:

  • Increases in compensation (salary and benefits)
  • Training opportunities – on-boarding and ongoing
  • Models of corporate culture (linked to candidate fit)
  • Prospects for future advancement within the company
  • Job description – responsibilities, reporting relationships

Finally, as with any job offer, the appropriate amount of due diligence would be in order; that is, a comprehensive reference check should be completed to validate the candidate and their overall fit before any employment offer or contract is signed/approved.

Professional Support to Help with Recruiting and Hiring Competitor Employees

Integrating More Compassion and Kindness into the WorkplaceDue to the potential sensitivities, organizations looking to address their staffing needs by recruiting competitor employees may find it advantageous to utilize the services of an independent third party, specifically an experienced and proven staffing agency such as Winters Technical Staffing in Toronto.

The recruitment specialists at Winters Technical Staffing maintain and continually update lists of viable candidates in a number of industries and areas of specialization or skill; as a result, employers can initiate a more focused search for a particular type of individual or skill set, hence expediting the recruiting process and reducing the time that a position remains vacant.  Furthermore, Winters Technical Staffing can provide valuable insight on compensation ranges for a specific job function, geography, and/or industry, thus aiding in the preparation of an attractive offer.

And most importantly, these professionals have the experience needed to conduct such searches in a way that provides appropriate discretion for both candidate and employer.

To learn more about the complete scope of recruitment services provided by the skilled consultants at Winters Technical Staffing, go to

Contact Winters Today

For professional advice, direction, and discretion when recruiting competitor employees, call the specialists at Winters Technical Staffing today at 416-495-7422 or contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation on how we can help achieve your staffing needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *