• Is It Worth It?

The company leadership needs to assess whether the benefits of recruiting from the competition is worth the potential downside.  For example, if recruiting a key sales person or key technologist/scientist from the competition would potentially be a huge windfall for your company, then it is worth the potential legal battle and higher level of compensation that would come with hiring this person.

  • Use an Third Party Executive Search firm

If your company wants to recruit candidates directly from your competition, it is best to use a third party executive search firm to accomplish the task.  There are several reasons for this, but the major reason is you don’t want your own employees calling directly into recruit from the competition because it may open up your company to legal action, retaliation, and potentially a bad reputation in the industry.  Third party executive search firms are very skilled at approaching the competition and will provide your company with that initial cover of confidentiality.

  • Be Careful What Information that Your Interviewers Share

If you plan to interview a candidate from one of your competitors, you will need to instruct your interviewers to be very careful what information that they reveal to the candidate.   It is not unusual for the competition to send someone in for an interview just to get some inside information.  If you plan to reveal sensitive company data to candidates, you should present them with a non-disclosure agreement and have them sign the document in the presence of a witness.

  • Carefully Review The Candidate’s Non-Compete Agreement

If you interview and intend to make an offer to someone from the competition, make sure to have your legal team carefully review the candidate’s non-compete agreement.  Some states are stricter than others in interpreting the non-competes and, depending how the agreement is worded, it may be very difficult to get around.  It is better to spend the legal dollars upfront for advice than to be hit with a costly lawsuit later.

  • Be Prepare to Compensate Stars from the Competition Well

If you have an opportunity to hire a real star from the competition, be prepared to pay royally for that person’s services.  You figure that his/her current company is paying them well that and will fight hard to retain the person.  While money will be a major motivating factor in moving to your company, a candidate will also be looking at the upside that your company offers in career development, market growth, and product/service capabilities.