A company can only be as successful as the success of its products and employees. Therefore, hiring the best talent is necessary to company success. Sometimes, however, strong talent may currently lie with your competitors or other industry greats. This is where your recruiting team must act carefully and logically. If done right, it can introduce superb talent to your company. However, if done incorrectly, it could burn bridges.
When considering whether to hire a competitor’s talent, one must analyze why they might be choosing to leave, especially when they are successful in their current role. Outside of the possibility for more pay, what other reasons would a strong employee decide to move to a new role? On the flip side, would this same employee jump from your company if another competitor or another company in general offered the individual another wage increase? If they left, would they attempt to take your clients with them? Your recruiters would also need to determine if the individual has signed any sort of non-compete clause. If so, they might not be able to work for you in the near future.
Harry Osle, HR Transformation and Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group, stated that: “When you are poaching, you are looking to strengthen your talent level and weaken your competition.” This form of recruiting has a developed strategy behind it. Your recruiters might have a specific candidate or candidates in mind from the start. The recruiting team must consider the position, job description and salary range they are working with, then create the short list of candidates they wish to speak with. It is not as simple as that, though. It is important to think about differences in company culture and work environment between you and your competitor. What may make a strong associate successful at your competition may not translate to your work environment.
However, getting a candidate from a competitor’s company to sign a contract and move to your company is only the first battle; keeping the employee at your company is another battle in itself. They have just proven they would change loyalty and switch companies for better pay or overall opportunity. Your company must work to best integrate the employee into the company, giving them multiple reasons to stay. This could include strong pay, benefits and advancement potential. Through nurturing the career path and development of these employees or for that matter, all your employees, the chance to retain your rising stars is stronger.
If you are still focused on venturing down the path of recruiting competitors, we wish you the best. Venture the path with caution and logical expectations. Another option: consider similar industries as opposed to strictly competitors. Often, candidates from parallel fields have a fresh perspective, while also having the talent to jump right into the trenches.