Recruiting your competitors’ best employees isn’t a new tactic. But it’s one you’ll want to consider carefully.

 

“Employers want to hire candidates that have the right experience, are familiar with their industry and are a culture-fit,” writes Adam Robinson for HR Morning. “So for many managers, the only seemingly feasible way to find this perfect candidate is to hire them from competitors.”

 

But is this the right choice for your company? Use these four tips to make sure.

 

  1. Start with the big picture

“Before deciding to hire talent from a competitor, it is important to sit down and evaluate whether it is the right choice for your company,” Robinson writes. Are you making assumptions about fit or skills? And, are you prepared to lure those employees more than your competitors?
A salary increase “shows the candidate that you are truly interested and believe they are worth the investment,” Robinson writes. “However, if increased compensation is not in your budget … you can offer equity in your company like many early stage technology companies have done.”

 

  1. Check your motives

Do you truly need the skills these employees offer?

 

“Some organizations can get a big head when it comes to recruiting from the competition,” Brittany Hink writes for Human Resources IQ. “Once they snag one of a competitor’s top employees, many recruiters feel they can recruit more. This can be disastrous to your organization’s reputation.”

 

  1. Consider the risks

Are you likely to run into roadblocks in terms of non-competes?

 

Employers frequently want to hire talented employees who are bound by post-employment restrictive covenants,” Daniel H. Aiken writes for the Society for Human Resource Management.  “Often, a plain reading of the prospective hire’s agreement raises questions about whether joining your company would violate the agreement. This requires strategic, and sometimes creative, planning.”

 

Be ready to have your lawyers review the non-compete and help you weigh the legal risks, Aiken writes. If you decide to go ahead with the hire, be transparent about your expectations. “Communicate, in writing, what you expect of the new employee,” Aiken writes. So, if your lawyers believe only part of the employee’s non-compete will stand up in court, find ways to maneuver legally while still bringing the employee on board.

 

  1. Weigh Alternatives

Are there better options? What about employees within your company already?

 

“Many recruiters forget about one of the best places to snag the best talent — their own organization,” Hink writes. “You have tons of talent under your own roof, so don’t forget to include those individuals in your search.”

 

And remember, if you’re thinking about recruiting from your competitors, it’s likely a two-way street. Keep that in mind when considering factors like employee engagement and culture at your organization. “Your direct competitors are probably doing the exact same thing,” Hink writes, “so don’t be surprised if one of your organization’s prized employees jumps ship.”