Recruiters Are Poaching My People!


Your top employee was just recruited to a competitor. You feel betrayed and angry. Who are these damn recruiters, and why do they keep stealing my people? I get it. It feels terrible to lose an all-star. It’s easy to blame the recruiter. I’ve been called a scumbag, a telemarketer and my personal favorite, a flesh-peddler. Recruiters get a tough rap.

Why Do You Feel Like They Are Your People?

Your employees don’t belong to you. Give up that idea. They are free as birds. If you really feel like your team is your property, you will lose them all, and I hope they come to me! Your archaic viewpoint is crippling you.

Recruiters Don’t Talk People Into Leaving

It’s much easier to blame a third-party than to take personal responsibility for your own decisions. I’m telling you that I have never, in my 20 year career, talked a candidate into leaving a job. In fact, if they can’t give me a good reason why they want to leave, I won’t work with them, because I know that they can’t be trusted. I only deal in "A" candidates, not weak-minded people who can’t think for themselves.

The Blame Game

I read an article written by a Fortune 100 CEO. He was explaining why he left one of America’s biggest companies only to return to it later. In explaining this curious career decision, he said that he became vulnerable to recruiters! This recruiter found that statement to be a knee-slapper. One of the most powerful CEOs in America is having a hard time taking personal responsibility.

99% Leave For One Reason

People say they want more pay, work/life balance and growth opportunities. That’s just a thinly veiled disguise. In my experience, it all comes down to respect. The truth is that most management teams and companies have no emotional IQ. I ask candidates why work/life balance is important and they reveal painful stories that tell the real story. The bottom line is, respect your people, care about them, go to bat for them.

The first step when an all-star leaves is to be honest with yourself about what happened. Take responsibility. When is the last time that you showed this person any personal attention?

If you want to check your employees' pulse from time-to-time, ask questions like, "How are you feeling?"

When they chirp, “Good”, respond, “Great. Tell me what’s going on.” Take ownership of the relationship. Quit trying to throw money at the problem, and if you continually have these issues, maybe it's time to reallocate your skills to a line of work that fits your skills better.

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Jeremy Bennett has been interviewed by Crain's and the Houston Chronicle. He is the CEO of J Bennett Recruiting, a boutique Retained Executive Search Firm that specializes in Healthcare. He is a father of two and connoisseur of West Coast IPA’s.


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