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Where do you guys draw the ethical line on recruiting employees? Is it unethical to pursue a competitor's employee and make him an offer?


I had a lively debate recently with a friend about this and it got me thinking. It is my position that there is no problem with trying to hire a talented technician away from his current employer if it is done in an upfront manner. If I can offer him a better opportunity and I don't resort to dishonest means in offering it, then I feel that I acted ethically.


I recently heard that one of my competitor's top mechanics was a little discontent with his job. I heard this through one of my parts supplier reps. I did not solicit the information nor did I ask how he found out this intel. He knew that I was looking for an additional mechanic and he casually brought it up over a morning coffee bull session. I have a mutual acquaintance with said mechanic so I contacted that person and told them to let the mechanic know that I had a proposal for him if he had an interest. A few days later the mechanic called me and we set up a meeting. I was impressed with the guy and I made him an offer to come and work for me. He thought it over for a few days before calling me back and declining, stating that he had come to an understanding with his current boss. He thanked me for the offer and I told him to let me know if he ever changed his mind. The end.


Did I do anything wrong in this case? My friend seems to think that I did, that I was unfair to my competitor. Its not like I walked into the guy's shop handing out business cards. I feel like I went through the proper channels. Agree or disagree?

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