A Double Dare to Poach Employees…

RJ Morris Recruiting, Retention, RJ Morris, War for Talent

As hiring has increased over the last year, we saw the articles about how hard it was going to be to keep employees. All of a sudden, companies had to remember what retention meant. I can guarantee that during that time, some talent pros in corporate America sat around and talked about developing a “blocking strategy” for people raiding their talent.

Do companies still waste their time on this? Do you sign up a bunch of contingency recruiters so you can hold the non-solicitation of your employees clause over their heads? Limit phone list distribution or prevent the downloading of org charts? Block certain third party recruiters from your phone system? You probably spend time training your receptionists how to screen out blind cold calls so no one gets to find who the Director of Technical Services is, don’t you?


Many recruiting and HR leaders will tell you that any retention plan in a tight labor market needs to include a blocking strategy. I, however, think it is the most paternalistic, ridiculous, old school HR activity out there.

Ten years ago, I guess this might have made some bit of sense. Information distribution was narrow, and you did not want to provide low hanging fruit to your competitors or recruiters. Those days are gone. The “strategy” of blocking will fail, for many reasons:

  • If you have good talent, the market will find it. It’s not a secret, competitors are motivated and markets are efficient.
  • There’s this thing called the internet. People, like FOT’s own Kelly Dingee or Glen Cathey, are pretty darn good at using it to find people. Kelly only hears, “How did you find me?” about 900 times a week.
  • Employees who are thinking about leaving will. Your lame blocking strategy won’t fix it. If they are not 100% satisfied, limiting distribution of your org charts is probably not the cure.

Want to see the opposite approach? Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com, posted on his blog, Recruit away our team. I dare you. Heck, I encourage you.

As Fab.com has been growing like crazy, recruiters have invariably come calling trying to recruit away key team members. Thanks for the flattery. I encourage anyone and everyone to please come and try to recruit away our Fab.com team members. I dare you. Heck, I encourage you. A roster of our team members can be found here. We update that list twice per month with new members of the team. Most of our team is also on LinkedIn. Need their phone numbers? Just email me at Jason at fab dot com and I’ll gladly get you in touch with them… everyone has a choice as to where they want to work. … We’re confident about our ability to attract and retain the best.

I love this guy. It only would have been better if he double dared you, a la Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

The moral of his story: Add up the time you are spending on blocking strategies, stop doing that, and spend that time on making your company a good place to work. Don’t work to prevent them from leaving; work to make the good employees want to stay. Understand that you don’t get to decide when people leave and where they work—they do.

RJ Morris
I have spent the last 20 years of my professional life advising leaders to make great talent decisions to drive business results. In my current gig, I lead talent acquisition and management for a multi-billion-dollar, 100% employee-owned construction company. I geek out on analytics, succession planning, etc. and love it when we position folks to do their best work. That’s fun stuff. I tease bad HR people, because I think we can all do better, myself included. That’s fun, too.