Poaching Potential Employees With Finesse

I recently had an ex-colleague who followed up with me as he was wanting to know the ‘rules’ or protocol around poaching employees from competitors. He was feeling a little squeamish about it and he felt it was ‘under-handed’ tactics as he put it.

So I said to him, ‘From a young age we have been taught it’s OK to poach’.
What do you mean? He said aghast!

Just look at the fable of ‘Jack and The Beanstalk’. Jack was the hero and lived in riches at the end of the day, for ultimately flogging the giants golden goose! The towns people didn’t outcast him and in fact applauded his nimbleness. There are many versions of this story and raises the question. Was the giant the rightful owner of the goose in the first place? or did he poach from some-one else? At the end of the day, it is a fairy tale and people are not objects. We are on this earth with free will.

This lead me, however, towrite the guidelines (note: not ‘rules’) to help companies in reaching passive candidates in other organisations. What does ‘passive’ mean? That is, potential employees are secured in employment and not necessarily looking to move from their current organisation. However the case may be that they are not planning on moving jobs immediately, they may not necessarily be very engaged or happy with where they are and are just ‘riding it out’, for whatever reason. Many survey’s and studies show that around 63% of employees are not truly engaged in their work. They are not necessarily looking for an alternative either.

More to the point many organisation’s make critical hiring mistake #5 (see 7 critical hiring mistakes) by poaching the ‘golden boy’, or girl from a competitor organisation only to have it fail six months later.

Why is this? Often it is because the way that person operated in their former organisation worked because of their culture or that the role was slightly different or after the initial ‘honeymoon’ period they lapse into the same level of disengagement.

Organisations need to do an in depth analysis on what temperament and behaviors they need to create the required outcomes of the role before they start chasing down that rock star from a competing organisation.

One way of doing this is by using a behavioral profiling tool like DISC, Myers Briggs or the proven McQuaig system. This will tell you immediately whether they are a likely match to your role and organisation. Saving you wasted time and thousands of dollars, despite how good they are in the other organisation. Just be sure.

What do you think? To poach or not to poach?

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