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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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Quality techs are getting harder to find. With all the new technology and a different work ethic today, it seems the work force is in need of competent people.


As far as crossing the line, if a tech is not happy he will look for another job somewhere. If it happens to be your shop, that's life. I have had techs from other shops come to me for a job. If I know the other shop owner, I ask the tech if it would be ok to call his present boss. His reaction will dictate his true feelings. Sometimes, the tech is the problem, not the other shop owner.


It's a delicate situation. I would not actively seek a tech from a shop that I know, but if he comes to me, that's another story.

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