Successful businesses are built around one simple, undeniable truth.  The organizations with the best employees win.


If your competitors have better key employees (then you do) than you’re probably getting beat.  Better employees equals better performance which equals greater success.

Maybe it’s time to recruit your competitor’s best people.

Let’s get real.  If you are running a business, you are in it to win it.  Otherwise, take your ball and go home.

There are times when you have to do battle with the competition.  That’s part of the game.

Business is war.  In war as is in any fight, you fight to win.  If you do not win, you lose.

The stakes have never been higher when it comes to human capital. Recruitment of the very best key players in any organization is key.

Is it ethical to recruit from your competition?   Maybe, maybe not.

Here are the top 5 ways to recruit from the competition:

  1. Use a third party recruiter. A recruiter’s job is to present the very best people to their employer client.  If an applicant that works for your competition is presented by the recruiter and wants to interview with you, then do it.  We live in a free country. If your competition lodges a complaint about poaching their employee, blame the recruiter.  Then keep trying to recruit their best employees.
  2. Ask your staff who they compete against. Your staff knows who the best key players are.  Identify who they are and then ask your staff to arrange a lunch meeting.  A friendly “sit-down” to meet and exchange ideas as colleagues. During the lunch meeting, make sure the CEO or top person in your organization shows up at the lunch.  Imagine a CEO showing up at a carefully designed recruitment lunch? Let the recruitment begin.
  3. Have the CEO call the person directly. Do not delegate this.  The call should come from the CEO or top hiring authority.  It’s the epitome of flattery to be called by the chief.  If you can obtain a cell phone number, great.  If not, then call them at their office.  Introduce yourself and ask the following solid gold question: “Do you keep your eyes and ears open for good opportunities?” If you hear yes, then invite this potential applicant for a lunch meet and greet.  Ask the candidate to assure you that all of this remains confidential.  If they ask why do you want to meet?  Let them know that as a shrewd business person, you make it a point to know to meet the most respected people in the field.
  4. Recruit the #2 employee. In almost every situation, a key person might be standing in the way of a “dynamo” in the #2 position that is aiming for that person’s job.  During an interview, you might find out that someone else’s #2 key employee might be trainable or already have the skills that you need for a great hire.  Do not underestimate the #2 person, who might be extremely motivated and is being restrained in their current role.
  5. Follow the competitor’s key employee on social media. Find out what their “hot” key is, so to speak.  Contribute, provide value, say hello, become friendly to the point that eventually perhaps you make the effort to meet for a cup of coffee, of course confidentially.  Think of this as a long term seduction process, and very powerful.