In the past, it was common practice for recruiters to make direct calls into places of business in an attempt to coax happily employed individuals to act upon a career opportunity. With the advent and continuum of voicemail, email, LinkedIn InMail and text messaging, the old-fashioned gatekeeper has been bypassed as interaction has evolved to direct communication with a prospective candidate.
Furthermore, it used to be common courtesy to not “raid thy competitor.” But, all bets are off in this day and age as many companies have established in-house recruiting arms that proactively source individuals similar to search firms. Sound scary? It is.
To combat this new era of poaching, there are several defensive tactics that an organization might choose to employ as firewalls.
- Take control of your website. Do not overly disclose information about your employees, such as titles, direct phone lines and email addresses, on your corporate website. Use a more controlled communication medium that routes inquiries in a logical and appropriate manner.
- Assist employees with their LinkedIn presence. Many enlightened companies, in the name of marketing strategy, offer to assist key employees with designing and even administering LinkedIn profiles. Creating standardized LinkedIn profiles for employees is just good business related to customer interaction, and it might make employees think twice about utilizing the tool for interacting with recruiters. However, be careful not to cross the line into Big Brother tactics.
- Use non-standard email address nomenclature. It is generally very easy for recruiters to figure out a person’s email address for the purpose of communicating with targeted individuals. Do not make it easy for these recruiters. Instead, use varying styles of email addresses for certain departments or level of employees in your company. In some cases use first initial, last name @company name.com; in other cases adopt the use of periods or underscore signs. Again, this recommendation may drive your IT Department a bit batty, but the outcome may be worthwhile.
Clearly, it is more advisable to play offense rather than being influenced to implement defensive tactics. Accordingly, companies would be well-served to create a positive corporate environment so that people are not tempted to or interested in leaving. To do so, design and offer progressive and proactive training and development programs to demonstrate that the enterprise values its employees. Generally, such strategies promote employee loyalty whereby people are less likely to respond to unsolicited overtures from recruiters.
Furthermore, companies may elect to consciously craft advancement opportunities (e.g., growth or stretch opportunities) or intrapreneurial challenges. Collectively, these types of programs are proven to work wonders to perpetuate employee engagement and retain your best and brightest.
In summary, all businesses should consider implementing a step-wise plan to battle the onset of assertive recruiting techniques by third parties. Start with a proactive offense and then install defensive measures to give you a fighting chance.