Hiring Wisdom: Is It Unethical to Recruit a Competitor’s Best People?

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Is it really unethical to recruit your competitor’s best employees?

From time to time, when I tell audiences that one of the best places to find the quality employees they need is from the competition, someone people will object because they mistakenly believe that going after people who work for the competition is unethical.

That’s when I have to ask:

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  • Since when did giving someone a better opportunity become unethical?
  • Why is it OK to go after a company’s best customers, but not OK to go after their best employees?
  • When did employees become property owned by the organization that employs them?
  • Why does it make the business news headlines when a company hires a CEO from a competitor, but it is not OK to go after and offer an opportunity to a frontline employee or manager?
  • Since all the best people who want to work are already working, where do you find the quality people you need to excel?

In Sam Walton’s words: “If you beat your competition to the best employees, those best employees will help you beat competition.”

This was originally published in the August 2014 Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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