Should You Hire a Client?

We’re in the IT business and most often call on IT professionals. They become our point of contact and in many cases, we develop strong relationships with them. They get to know us. We get to know them. So naturally, when they are looking for a career change, they look to us and apply for a job.

Then it gets tricky.

What do you do when a client applies for a job?

With 30,000 clients, it’s bound to happen. If we make a hire, this can create a conflict. We have even lost accounts over this. Obviously, this isn’t the outcome we want, but it’s not fair to overlook the candidate either.

Here’s how we handle this sensitive situation:

  • Determine if the candidate is a good fit.
    We don’t discriminate when hiring and that certainly includes if they are employees of clients. We take the time to evaluate if they would be a good fit for the position and our company. If we don’t plan to hire the person, obviously it’s a non-event.
  • Encourage the candidate to be upfront with their employer.
    We don’t shy away from hiring a potentially great employee just because it’s not easy. Our relationships with our clients matter to us. If we feel the person could be a likely hire, we encourage the employee to take the lead and share with their employer that they are interested in working for us. We’ve found that the more proactive we are, the better the outcome.
  • Assess the impact.
    There have been times when accounts have contacted us with their concerns about hiring one of their employees. We want to take it seriously and do the right thing. We consider the impact and consequences of how it affects our business relationship. I will personally communicate with the client to work toward a fair resolution. Usually what needs to be communicated is that the employee is planning to leave anyway; they are ready for a move.
  • Collaborate through the transition.
    We make goodwill efforts to minimize the impact on our client and make for a smooth transition. We often extend timelines for hiring the individual until our client can hire a replacement. The last thing we want to do is negatively impact their business. So we do whatever we can to help them through the transition.

Hiring employees of our clients is certainly not a best practice, but we do it. These hires definitely take more care and attention. We want to do it right. We’ve found that being upfront with the candidate and encouraging them to notify their employer leads to a better outcome for everyone. So when one of your clients applies, give them full consideration. It might be your next best hire.

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Topics: Leadership, Recruiting, Hiring, Leadership Team