October 9, 2018

In this Tight Employment Market, Is It Ethical to Interview and Hire a Direct Competitor’s Employees?

By Paul Bieber

So, you are asking yourself this question often. I would be if I was running an active company right now. Let’s look at a couple of different scenarios that can occur.

You have a help wanted ad in the newspaper or a sign hanging out front of your shop. An employee of a crosstown competitor calls and asks for an appointment. You are completely in the clear to interview this person. Your competitor will blame you no matter what, but you do have a clear conscious.

Your foreman tells you about his buddy who works at your crosstown competitor, saying he is a good worker and knows the trade. You ask your foreman to have his buddy call you to discuss a job opportunity. You hire the buddy. You have stuck your big toe in the water with this one. It’s just your toe, but you have started down the slippery slope. Your competitor will blame you no matter what and you will lose sleep for a couple of nights.

You need to hire two or three glaziers because you are growing, but you don’t want to poach from your competitors, as they will turn around and poach from you. So, you hire a personnel agency to find you these glaziers and they do … from your crosstown competitor. While you are emotionally in the clear, you have spent a ton of money to do what you didn’t have the guts to do in the first place. Your toe isn’t in the water, but your wallet has been hurt more than needed.

And the beat goes on. For every employee you gain, you are going to lose one because your competition needs workers too. Don’t get into this war. I strongly recommend you hire someone from 20 miles away, pay their gas costs for a year and comfortably place your head on the pillow. Keep your ear to the ground to see if any competitor lays off anyone. That would be a good hire if the candidate is qualified.

In this hiring market, across our entire country, take good care of your employees. And, please, please, please, keep this same thought in mind for your office staff, sales team and your senior leadership in your company. It is not just glaziers that make a glass company.