I once hired a candidate for my team and unbeknownst to me, my CEO was friends with the candidate's CEO. My CEO had no idea I was hiring this candidate (he wouldn't have been involved in hiring someone junior to my team) and the other CEO and I were not friends. Despite this, a shit storm ensued where the CEOs had several heated conversations about what was and was not appropriate w/r/t hiring from their companies.
This begs the question - what are the (unwritten) rules about hiring from a friend's company? Conventional wisdom is that it is a dbag thing to do. In "The Hard Thing About Hard Things", Horowitz basically counseled that to do so is going to cost you your friends so just don't do it. I see this very differently.
This feels like another form of noncompete - but this one is even more insidious because it not only bars employees from going to another company in their industry, but could bar them across an entire sector. Candidates have a hard enough time navigating moving around an industry without having to figure out who is friends with the hiring manager to know if they are allowed to interview. As a huge proponent for blowing up noncompetes - I think we need to look at our management sensitivities around hiring and get the heck over it!
Hiring is a challenge no matter what industry or space you are in, but when you are in a small community (say, the Boston start-up scene), this becomes exacerbated. If you are to put an unofficial ban on candidates employed by your friends then as your network grows, your candidate pool decreases. That sucks and means you're stuck with whoever is left and unable to find a job. This is likely not top tier talent.
I find it nearly inevitable that I will hire someone from a team where either I or my management team will be friends with the candidate's manager. I assume that my team members may also leave to go to a friend's company as well. Instead of taking this personally and whining about the rules for hiring and putting invisible barriers around candidates, I find it to be more productive to focus on my own team and worry less about others.
The best offense on this one is to have a great defense. People leave companies for several reasons: they think the company is headed the wrong direction, they feel their skills are undervalued, their comp is below their market rate, and/or they don't feel that their career can progress further if they stay. Let's unpack this.
I do not worry about people, friends included, poaching members of my team. If I have done my job as a manager and leader, then my team will not leave for any of the previously noted reasons. There may come a point where they need to move on to another company - their skills put them in line for a promotion that I do not have available, their skill set is a mismatch for our stage of company, etc. If that is the case, my team knows I will help them find their next role. My goal is to ensure that every person who works with me ends up in a better place after having worked with me.
I play the long game and you never know when you'll be working with (or for!) someone again. If you do right by your team, you don't need to worry about poaching. Only unhappy people allow themselves to be poached.
At Drafted, we believe that your company network is your single biggest competitive advantage when it comes to hiring. Our mission is to make it easy for you to leverage your network in the hiring process to find the best candidates. Your network is already powerful, it’s just too much work to make it a priority over the day-to-day of recruiting. Companies that use Drafted see their employee referral numbers go up by 2x, their time to hire drop by 30% and their overall hiring efficiency increase significantly within just a few months.