I just talked to an HR Manager who told me that they had a no-headhunting policy, so I wasn’t allowed to talk to their people … what a terrific idea! Or maybe not.

I know of companies who train receptionists to block recruiters’ calls, and ensure that Monster and Workopolis are banned from company internet. Heck, while they’re at it, why not block LinkedIn, Twitter and halt conference attendance and rendezvous’ with former colleagues and miscellaneous strangers in coffee shops.

If you are losing top talent to the competition, it is logical to want to keep headhunters at bay. But the truth is your people have lives that extend beyond your four walls. In reality, trying to keep your people from connecting with headhunters is like building a fence around your yard to keep the birds in.

Good news> Your best employees are probably not out there actively looking for a new job. They are too busy working, and solving problems, and networking on behalf your company. As your people build ties for your business and learn and grow professionally, you benefit - even though it makes them more visible.

The top headhunters have the tools and the networks to find your most talented people – and your brightest stars have free will and are clever enough to entertain a conversation. Your best employees are not only talking to headhunters, they are investigating opportunities, learning about your competitors and evaluating who has the best team, the best technology and the best environment.

The trick is not to keep the headhunters from finding your people. You have to make sure that your employees will always choose you even when they know what other options exist – because they just can’t imagine being more fulfilled somewhere else.

If the headhunters are circling, it means that your people are the envy of your competition. But …if your people are never recruited it is not because you have a great ‘no-headhunting’ policy. It is because you have mediocre talent and maybe you need to deploy some good headhunters of your own.

Views: 178

Comment by Slouch on November 24, 2009 at 10:07pm
Everyone should be interested in a new opportunity if it proves to be an enhancement over what it is they currently do. That is why a good headhunter has job security for the rest of their life.
Comment by Chris Hood on November 25, 2009 at 8:50am
Excellent points.

If the headhunters are converging on your company like pirahnas, it could be a result of the rumor mill, and information regarding a company with good people who are potentially unhappy - and therefore looking around. I get a lot of referrals based on this kind of information.

A strong company could take this as a compliment and not a threat - especially if they are a desirable employment destination.
Comment by Ryan Leary on November 25, 2009 at 9:39am
Very nice article and true all the way through. I think the key is that company's need to sway from trying to hold of the external recruiters and focus more on their internal engagement with their employees. Employee engagement may be one of the single most important aspects of a company's success. And this is not referring to good benefits and good vacation packages.

I'm talking more about true employee engagement providing a workplace that is scalable and flexible, providing great positive energy to "outside" life of the employee.

Thanks for the read.
Comment by Todd Kmiec on November 25, 2009 at 10:59am
Very well said Kristina. Companies should focus on what they can control. Make it so the birds don't want to fly over the fence and maybe even so other birds want to fly in.
Comment by Craig Silverman on November 25, 2009 at 12:48pm
Funny, no headhunting allowed... Put your head back in the sand and make believe the contacts are not happening... Truth is that every headhunter needs a company to source from and when you put up the "no headhunting" sign that is like a flower for a bee to jump on. We used to have pizza parties to recruit all the top talent from the target companies our clients wanted to see people from. Best way to keep a headhunter out is to hire them to recruit for you because they never recruit from active clients
Comment by Kimberly Lucas on November 25, 2009 at 2:32pm
That's a great post Kristina! Thankfully, it's been a long time since I've encountered this situation. Many years ago a hiring manager accused me of STEALING his people. I responded that I was very sorry he felt that way. I was pretty sure that slavery had been abolished in the US a long time ago and that people cannot be bought, sold or stolen as a result.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Comment by Tom Cairns on November 28, 2009 at 3:58pm
Great blog Kristina. The best talent is usually not looking because they are fulfilled in what they are doing. Most of the talented people never tell their managers about job inquiries they have received because they did not wish to pursue them. The minute someone feels taken for granted is when that next phone call from a recruiter gets pursued and the company never knows what hit them.
Comment by Brian Meeks on November 30, 2009 at 1:56pm
Great blog post. I liked everyone's comments as well...but come on people, you took the time to write a comment and you couldn't give Kristina 5 Stars? For Shame...For Shame.... (Ok, nobody really says that anymore) But it isn't too late...get back up there and give her those much deserved etoiles.
Comment by Kristina McDougall on December 1, 2009 at 3:39pm
Thanks for the great comments everyone!
Brian> thanks for the encouragement!
Tom>This is definitely why we're all in business, to find those 'best' people who would not see, much less respond to a traditional recruitment marketing approach
Karen>I guess making things hard for headhunters has some merit, but it'll only keep away the least resourceful. And maybe intrigue those excited by the challenge :) Like Brian's 'Flower and Bee' analogy
Kimberly> I too have heard the 'stealing people' terminology for what we do. People have free will and I sleep very well at night after a day of headhunting


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service