Creating a Headhunter-Proof Company

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.

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