What if a candidate for a critical opening at your company:
- Knows your industry
- Knows your product (or a similar one)
- Knows your competition
- May know your clients
- May know the exact job
Wouldn’t you want to talk to them?
But what if they work for a competitor and they aren’t replying to your job ad?
Employers often feel uneasy about directly contacting possible candidates who are currently employees of a competitor. Companies in the same industry are frequently involved in associations or other cooperative industry groups, and overt “raiding” can be a source of friction between organizations which can also result in reprisal raiding.
Avoiding direct contact with potential candidates who are employed by a competitor avoids this conflict, but it also eliminates one of the best sources of talent from which to build your team.
Do contact employees of competitors, but do it in the context of a search for referrals to possible candidates for the position in question. If the person contacted is personally interested in the position, they will tell you.
If your staff are calling your competitors anonymously, be sure that their caller ID doesn’t reveal your company name.
A single senior level hiring event which fails will, on average, cost a year of progress, recruitment and severance costs and have a negative impact on the organization’s goodwill as perceived by other employees, customers, shareholders and outside agencies.
Larry Smith founded the management search firm Kathbern Management in 2004 after a multi-decade career in senior roles with organizations in the office equipment, communications technology and investment banking industries. Kathbern Management focuses on working with owners and senior managers to “get the right people on the bus”.
While most of Kathbern’s projects have been in North America, others have been in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, West Africa and the UK.