Your Best Next Employee Could be Working for a Competitor

What's unethical about offering someone a better opportunity?
by Ron Hall
8/8/2014

I heard a presentation by Mel Kleiman perhaps 10 years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. Even a decade later I remember some of the practical things he shared about finding and hiring great people. The guy really knows his stuff and he's a compelling speaker and story teller, as well.

Mel is president of a company called Humetrics, Inc., based in Sugar Land, Texas. The company provides pre-employment testing, consulting services, training programs and keynote and breakout presentations. I have never heard anyone with more knowledge about how small businesses can find, test and hire great employees. Check out the Humetrics website and sign up for his free blogs and enews. His employee stuff is great.

For example he addressed the issue of "stealing" an employee from a competitor in a recent blog. "Stealing" is a word I've heard some contractors use when they moan about losing a key employee or manager to a competitor - or when the gloat over doing the same to one of their competitors. It's not a word that Mel uses.

Here's what Mel Kleiman wrote in a recent blog, which I think speaks directly to the issue:

From time to time, when I tell audiences that one of the best places to find the quality employees they need is from the competition, people will object because they mistakenly believe that going after people who work for the competition is unethical.

That's when I have to ask: 

1. Since when did giving someone a better opportunity become unethical?

2. Why is it okay to go after a company's best customers, but not okay to go after their best employees?

3. When did employees become property owned by the organization that employs them?

4. Why does it make the business news headlines when a company hires a CEO from a competitor, but it is not okay to go after and offer an opportunity to a frontline employee or manager?

5. Since all the best people who want to work are already working, where then will you find the quality people you need to excel?

Sam Walton's words: "If you beat your competition to the best employees, those best employees will help you beat competition."