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Is Your Next Hire Working for Your Competitor?
by Marc Prosser
May 10, 2022
young asian woman smiling and holding resume

Finding perfect employees for your small business can be difficult. Unless you are one of the highly sought-after places to work for, like Apple, Google, or Microsoft, you may not have an endless supply of resumes from qualified candidates to choose from.

Recruitment issues can cause many companies to struggle while looking for good employees.

Losing Employees Through Attrition

Talented and experienced workers are retiring. Baby Boomers are skilled employees who are exiting the workforce, and the increasing rate of retirees makes it difficult for employers to find replacements.

Generation X’ers are the obvious fit to fill in the much-needed gap. However, their population is not large enough to meet the demand for highly-skilled candidates.

Millennials fill recruiters’ desks with resumes and applications. But they often lack the skills and experience that many employers are looking for.

Know what is being said about your company

Potential employees will use all means to determine if they want to work for an organization -- even if it means asking others for their opinions. How people talk about a company in conversation can tell you a lot of how they are viewed in society.

Nowadays, many people love to talk and provide their own personal reviews and experiences by word of mouth, blogs, or even on social media. A simple review on social media can influence people enough to submit their resume or not.

One Source Does Not Fit All

The days of finding candidates from a single source are over. Different generations are using different sources. So employers must expand the employee search to multiple sources. Continuing to utilize newspapers and hiring events for local applicants may still play a role, but it is also necessary to connect with candidates by advertising jobs online.

Your New Hire is Closer than You Think

With a little creativity, you can find the perfect employee to fit your company’s culture. When you are looking to hire highly-qualified employees, a good place to start is with the people working for your competition. Your competitor’s staff will already be familiar with the ins and outs of the industry. They will probably have the skills and experience needed for your open position.

Approaching a Competitor’s Employee

Many organizations have their employees sign agreements that protect their talent and business. Even though such agreements may be a nuisance, they should not deter you from trying to acquire the best employees.

You can use the following creative methods to approach a competitor’s employee without directly recruiting them:

Give presentations at professional events. Many top employees take advantage of events in their industries for professional growth and networking. Nothing is more enticing than a motivational story from high-level leaders. If done right, the talent will approach you about job opportunities.

Speak to their former employees. Look for people who are highly qualified and used to work for your competitor. Speaking with them will let you know the reason why they left and if they will fit your company. They will still have the training and experience needed even if they are not current employees.

Have an employee referral program. Let’s say you hire a competitor’s former employee. Well, that employee might still have connections to quality talent currently working for your competitor. You can provide new and current employees numerous ways to refer a top candidate to your business. Potential talent will have confidence applying for a position when they feel a real connection with your company.

Network with them on social media. Connecting on social media networks is almost a given for any professional. It is a way for you to send comments or messages to praise them for their work that can be found online. Networking is a way to build a lead for future inquiries.

Questions To Ask Before Hiring

Now that the highly qualified candidate has applied and is interviewing, the right questions can make sure they will be the best fit for your business.

1. Did you sign a non-compete agreement?

Before concluding any offers, you must know if your candidate has a non-compete agreement with their current company. Knowing about it upfront will help avoid any potential liability. 

2. Can you tell me about your current position?

Something is missing from their current job if they’re looking for a change. If you know what they are looking for, then you know what expectations are needed to be fulfilled.

3. What goals do you have with your career development?

This will give you an insight on their ambitions and lead to an understanding of what motivates them. You can then understand them to successfully close the deal.

4. Why do you see yourself working for this company?

It provides a final opportunity for the candidate to show their true interest with the company.

5. What questions do you have for me?

All the top candidates will have questions. It is a great way to show that they are quick thinkers and are truly interested in what your company can offer.

In the end, you want to gain the best employees for your organization. Being in a competitive market, it is important to use every technique available to make sure you have a list of quality candidates to take over any open positions. Sometimes it means acquiring some of those candidates from your competitor. As long as you and your organization are mindful of how you hire employees, you can keep it cordial and professional with your competition.

About the author
Marc Prosser
Marc Prosser is the co-founder and publisher of Fit Small Business, a rapidly growing website that reaches over 600,000 small business readers a month. Started in 2013, Fit Small Business serves as the “Consumer Reports” for small business owners.
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