25 Jobs to Target If You Have a Hire to Hurt Recruiting Strategy

Second of two parts

If you want to maximize the amount of “hurt” you do to a competitor with a “Hire to Hurt” (or H2H for short) strategy as described yesterday (in The Boldest Recruiting Strategy You Could Possibly Engage In), you certainly cannot just randomly select your hiring targets.

And although every company is different, you should focus on targeting individuals to recruit who are hard to replace, those who are innovators, those that now hold or will soon hold leadership positions, and those that have “future skills” that will be extremely valuable in one year to 18 months.

You should also realize that whoever you target, the ones that the managers at your competitors fight the hardest to keep are the ones that you really want.

Target these high-impact positions

Some of the H2H targets that I recommend include:

  1. Sales managers (target the top at each of your primary competitors);
  2. Sales professionals (target the top at each of your primary competitors);
  3. Product development managers (target those from the most innovative firms);
  4. Any individual with a high business impact;
  5. A product innovator and “idea person” at any competitor;
  6. The “CEO in waiting” (i.e. the successor to the CEO);
  7. The general manager of your competitor’s most profitable business unit;
  8. Customer service managers from firms with high customer service ratings;
  9. Top performers in all revenue-generating positions;
  10. Individuals on the firm’s succession plan;
  11. Brand managers at firms that have recently built or improved their brand;
  12. Director of advertising at competitors that excel at advertising;
  13. Supply chain managers from the most efficient competitors;
  14. Market research managers at competitors that excel at market research;
  15. Logistics managers, especially the best from transportation companies that lose money when their fleet is slowed;
  16. The chief technologist (or those scheduled to succeed) at industry leading firms;
  17. Leading social media expert in your industry
  18. The heads of their “critical best practice” functions (marketing, advertising, design, supply chain, etc.)
  19. The leading foreign tax specialist, especially in global organizations
  20. Partner relationship manager from firms that excel at building and maintaining relationships with key suppliers, vendors and partners
  21. Recruiter (target those who are proactive and have successfully poached your high-impact employees)
  22. Succession planning leader (target those who have the best track record in the industry for successfully slotting and developing leaders)
  23. Chief compensation analyst from major competitors (because they can identify all of the top performers and key leaders)
  24. Top safety/maintenance managers (especially in heavy manufacturing/chemical production industries)
  25. The mentor/friend/family member of any top performer who is currently at your direct competitor who may “bring” the top performer with them (immediately after they are hired)

Final Thoughts

There are two basic categories of recruiting:

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  • Some 95 percent of recruiters fall into the first category, which I call “Hire To Help” because the goal is to recruit and hire individuals who can help your firm, regardless of where they come from.
  • The remaining small portion of recruiters fall into the second category, which is the “Hire To Hurt” category. You are once again simultaneously helping your own firm, but in this case you are also purposely damaging both the talent bench strength and the business results at your competitors.

This second H2H approach has as much as double the business impact but it also has its drawbacks.

First of all, because you are directly raiding a competitor, you must have highly competitive and well-trained recruiters (hopefully with executive search backgrounds) because they are fighting for top talent that the managers at your competitor will fight fiercely to retain.

Next you need superior metric-driven recruiting tools and approaches (none of which can be designed for recruiting “actives”). This is because your recruiting targets are 100 percent fully employed individuals who are “not-looking” for a job (i.e. passives), which means that they have to be talked into even considering a new job.

And finally your recruiting leaders will need to “grow a pair,” because a majority of the ones who I encounter do not view recruiting as a fierce “winner-take-all” competition.

Dr. John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in strategic Talent Management solution. He is a prolific author with over 1200 articles and ten books covering all areas of Talent Management. Along with his many articles and books, Dr. Sullivan has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/organizations in 30 countries on six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., The New York Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, Harvard Business Review, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column and the ERE Media blog. Dr. Sullivan has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC Nightly News, NPR, as well as many local TV and radio outlets.

Fast Company called him the “Michael Jordan of Hiring,” Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industries most respected strategists.” He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and was ranked #8 among the top 25 online influencers in Talent Management.  Adding to these acclamations, Dr. Sullivan has also served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, as well as becoming the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. Dr. Sullivan is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). Most importantly, he wants to hear and respond to your most pressing questions about advanced talent strategies.

His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and www.ERE.net.