If you're asking this question, even just quietly in the back of your mind, there's probably a good underlying cause that needs to be examined. Then, you're likely to need to take a delicate approach to resolving the issue.

So let's help you dig into the most common dilemmas and how to approach them.

1: They currently work for a company or person you have a valued relationship with

This can apply when a potential recruit currently works for:

  • An agency/vendor you often partner with
  • A client
  • An agency where you know the founder well
  • A business run by a personal friend or close business contact

The dilemma comes from weighing up damaging the relationship with your close contact who is the current employer, against losing a potentially great recruit.

You can get into a complete mess here if you:

  • 'Secretly' tell your close contact that one of their star employees is looking for another job. This isn't fair on the recruit, because everyone deserves the right to look for the next step in their career, and decide how and when to discuss this with their current employer. Additionally, sharing such personal information like this could be breaching data protection, employment or other laws, in certain countries. Also, the word will get out somehow, and will tarnish your reputation for other potential recruits.
  • Hire the recruit and just hope your close contact will get over it when you say sorry afterwards. And bear in mind that 'we didn't approach them, they just applied to us' will not be seen as a 100% valid defence.

So, it's a tricky and fine line to tread. But, as always, it's best navigated with frank honesty and openness, like this: