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Submitted by miller_sacramento on


Can I approach internal talent directly to 'sell' them on positions in my department?

I'm an IT manager in a large company that spans dozens of sites in a single state in the U.S.. We have a few dozen directors, and approx. 50 IT managers accross our company.   I know many of the managers personally, but certainly not all. I do, however, pay a lot of attention to the work done by staff from various teams.

Our internal communications processes are limited, and job postings are not actively distributed to every team.  Job boards are available to anyone who actively goes out to review, however.

My question is:  Is it ethical for me to directly approach employees to let them know about open positions on my team?  This is not a promise to hire or even interview them, just a touch base to let them know that I've noticed their work, have an opening on my team, and think that they might be a potential fit.

I've gotten negative responses from the managers of these people when I do this. 

I want to maintain great working relationships with these managers, but I do see that few are doing any sort of career development or re-recruiting of their own staff. 

I value your feedback on this!  Thanks,


svibanez's picture

You don't want to sacrifice the long-term relationship for your team's short-term gain.  "Poaching" employees from other teams will quickly and easily sour the relationship with other managers (not only those whose employees you recruit away) and make it harder for you to be effective in the long run.

I've only done this a couple of times, always through their current manager.  I was not always successful in convincing them to give up that person, but my team has still made it through.  And I still have good relationships with those managers.

If you don't currently have a good relationship with the other managers (your peers), that's the place to start.


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miller_sacramento's picture
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I appreciate the feedback, and I regret my slow acknowledgement of your advice.  I did immediately take your words to heart and stopped approaching staff directly.  I had forgotten that it is all about the relationships.  

Thank you,


duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

In my org, the unspoken rule on poaching is that if a team member approaches you about a role, that's fair.  Directly approaching individuals behind your peers' backs is not.

You've got good releationships with YOUR team right?   Why don't you discuss the openings and ask them to use their network to pass along the info to anyone they think would be good for the job.   I find the word usually gets around in those cases.

Same goes for peers.  If they offer someone up, that's great for everyone.  If they don't, they'll be pleased you sought their opinion on something so important.





miller_sacramento's picture
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Thanks, Mark!

That's good advice, especially as my folks are 'nearer to the ground' and may know people who are really skilled yet still flying under the radar.  I'll do that.




GlennR's picture

I agree with the advice above. That said, I really think the answer lies within the culture of your organization. I'd recommend conversations with your supervisor and with your counterpart in HR if that hasn't happened already. This is most likely a systemic problem that higher ups, especially in HR, should be addressing.