If you are looking to fill a position, then it’s tempting to take a look at your competitors to see if there is anyone who might fancy a change. Here Alastair Gibbs of TPG DisableAids points out some of the frustrations when you are going through a recruitment process…

Is poaching the best way to cook your goose?

Recruitment of staff is never an easy thing for companies to do.

There are a number of processes to go through in the first place to ensure the company really needs the extra capacity, and that means taking a really close look at your current processes to make sure you are fully utilising your current resources, and there is no slack time that can be employed.

When you are happy that you are working as efficiently as possible and the correct people in the correct department are carrying out the task at hand competently and with no further potential for extra, then it is time to look for expansion by recruitment.

Then there is the selection itself.

There are a number of valid methods of advertising for new staff, each of which will have a cost. Some of those costs are obvious, the advert cost, the fee charged by an agency or the time spent finding applicants.

There is also a whole raft of additional indirect costs that, depending on the job role, can be very significant. For an extra engineer, he will need significant training time and quite possibly a vehicle and some tools. For a salesperson, they will need a vehicle, phone, laptop or tablet, clerical support, etc. All of which, when added to a salary and company pension and employers National Insurance contribution, can cost upwards of £100,000 per year.

To support that cost at typical net margin levels of 15%, you will need to make an extra nearly £700,000 of sales just to be in the same place as you were without the extra salesperson.

On top of all of this, there can be other costs which are not so obvious.

Let’s say you consider looking at the staff currently employed by your suppliers, your customers or your competition. There appears, on the face of it, some attraction to taking someone who already knows the products or service that you want to sell. They will have experience and contacts which would reduce your ‘lead in’ time significantly. However, what about the hurt or ill feeling that you cause to the company from whom you poached the staff member? What implications are there for using confidential information that has been transferred to your company in contravention of that staff member’s contract? That company are clearly well established and with a good reputation, if they weren’t you would not want their staff.

One of two things is likely to happen.

One – They let you have the member of staff with no resistance because they were not perhaps as good as you thought they were, and you will not find out until they are your problem that they were just riding along on the success of the original company and they are likely to come with some considerable baggage.

Or, two – The original employer fights tooth and nail to keep the valued member of staff. The obvious repercussion of this is that they will no longer be keen to trade with the company who tried to poach their staff member. It may well mean that you actually lose one of your valued customers/suppliers and that makes the attainment of that extra £700,000+ turnover even harder to achieve.

Either way ‘Your goose is cooked’.

Maybe, next time, consider bringing in talent from outside of the industry that has no preconceptions and is receptive to fresh ideas. Sales skills and engineering principles are very transferable between industries but ill feelings last a long time. In an ever-expanding marketplace, it is inevitable that our industry will need more talent. So bringing in talent from alternative industries or taking on apprentices, with Government funding incentives, makes an awful lot of sense.

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