Top 5 Ways to Recruit From Your Competition

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on March 8, 2017

Successful businesses are built around one simple, undeniable truth.  The organizations with the best employees win.


If your competitors have better key employees (then you do) than you’re probably getting beat.  Better employees equals better performance which equals greater success.

Maybe it’s time to recruit your competitor’s best people.

Let’s get real.  If you are running a business, you are in it to win it.  Otherwise, take your ball and go home.

There are times when you have to do battle with the competition.  That’s part of the game.

Business is war.  In war as is in any fight, you fight to win.  If you do not win, you lose.

The stakes have never been higher when it comes to human capital. Recruitment of the very best key players in any organization is key.

Is it ethical to recruit from your competition?   Maybe, maybe not.

Here are the top 5 ways to recruit from the competition:

  1. Use a third party recruiter. A recruiter’s job is to present the very best people to their employer client.  If an applicant that works for your competition is presented by the recruiter and wants to interview with you, then do it.  We live in a free country. If your competition lodges a complaint about poaching their employee, blame the recruiter.  Then keep trying to recruit their best employees.
  2. Ask your staff who they compete against. Your staff knows who the best key players are.  Identify who they are and then ask your staff to arrange a lunch meeting.  A friendly “sit-down” to meet and exchange ideas as colleagues. During the lunch meeting, make sure the CEO or top person in your organization shows up at the lunch.  Imagine a CEO showing up at a carefully designed recruitment lunch? Let the recruitment begin.
  3. Have the CEO call the person directly. Do not delegate this.  The call should come from the CEO or top hiring authority.  It’s the epitome of flattery to be called by the chief.  If you can obtain a cell phone number, great.  If not, then call them at their office.  Introduce yourself and ask the following solid gold question: “Do you keep your eyes and ears open for good opportunities?” If you hear yes, then invite this potential applicant for a lunch meet and greet.  Ask the candidate to assure you that all of this remains confidential.  If they ask why do you want to meet?  Let them know that as a shrewd business person, you make it a point to know to meet the most respected people in the field.
  4. Recruit the #2 employee. In almost every situation, a key person might be standing in the way of a “dynamo” in the #2 position that is aiming for that person’s job.  During an interview, you might find out that someone else’s #2 key employee might be trainable or already have the skills that you need for a great hire.  Do not underestimate the #2 person, who might be extremely motivated and is being restrained in their current role.
  5. Follow the competitor’s key employee on social media. Find out what their “hot” key is, so to speak.  Contribute, provide value, say hello, become friendly to the point that eventually perhaps you make the effort to meet for a cup of coffee, of course confidentially.  Think of this as a long term seduction process, and very powerful.


Employers: Do You Have a Stale Employee?

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on February 14, 2017

If so, why do you retain this person?

Consider this. When you go to the market would you ever intentionally buy stale milk with an expired “use by” date?

Of course not. Nor would you keep stale milk. After a while it smells.  Even if food is presumed to be stale, we of course toss it immediately. No one wants to risk getting sick.

So in the context of running a business, why then would an employer keep a stale employee?

What makes for a stale employee…… and more importantly why hold on to someone who has passed their “expiration date”?

A stale employee can be measured by their current effectiveness and by their current results.

To be fair, stale may be too harsh of a label. Some people need a proverbial kick in the pants to remind them why they are employed. But too much kicking can be sore to the foot.

These are the mighty two:

• Current effectiveness
• Current results

If you are employing someone and they are no longer effective or even if they’ve become a nuisance, than perhaps that employee is stale. Have you seen current and meaningful results rather than past glories?

Things change and what an employer may have needed in the past is maybe not what is needed or relevant currently. Can it be utterly gut wrenching to come to the conclusion that an employee has become stale?

Yes of course.

However think about if the situation were reversed. If your organization was becoming stale to an ambitious employee, that same employee would no doubt be looking for greener pastures.

With growth, comes growing pains. A stale employee can be an impediment to the growth or profitability to your company. When that happens a stale employee needs to be replaced with a fresh blood.

Someone with new ideas, new energy and a new style can be the steroid needed to explode your company to even higher levels of productivity and profit.

Once an employer realizes that an employee is stale, there is an enlightenment that follows.

In addition, there can be much new excitement that your organization is once again back on track to accomplish its mission for even being in business.

What to do next?

Begin a confidential search for a replacement. Maybe there is someone on your team that you may have been overlooking that has the right skill set and can step up to the plate.

Pay attention to anyone on your staff that you could imagine in a different role. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of our noses.

However, many times the situation calls for bringing in a trusted executive search professional to see what kind of talent might be available.

Either way there are costs involved in replacing a key employee. But there is a far greater cost in keeping a stale employee.

The investment in a fresh new staff member or a manager pays dividends. It also reminds your other employees to not lose sight of their own responsibilities.

Lastly, you may gain some additional respect from your colleagues and how can that be a bad thing?

The Secret To Recruitment In January

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on January 6, 2017

The beginning of the year (January and February) is a great time for hiring new talent in most industries. In fact it’s probably the best time to recruit the very best available talent.

Here’s why:  During the holidays and especially during the last week of the year many people reflect on their lives and career situations.

  • “Am I where I’m supposed to be?”
  • “Could I be doing better, make more money?”
  • “Am I feeling stale?”
  • “Do I feel appreciated?”

“Auld Lang Syne” turns into “now’s my time.”

To savvy hiring and recruitment experts, it’s cherry picking time.

The best candidates wait till right after the holidays to begin looking for newer pastures.  (Of course many wait to receive their annual bonus).

January usually starts slowly as people come back from holiday vacations but by the second week of the month, momentum starts building.

Once that happens, New Year’s resolutions are in full gear and great candidates are on the market to make a job change.  And if they’re not actively searching, they are much more willing to hear about a new opportunity in a fresh new year.

For hiring authorities these two months are good because companies usually get their new hiring budgets for the year in January, and a lot of the hiring activity that was delayed in November and December can now move forward.

In addition, this is the time of year when the greatest number of decision-makers are in the office together. So getting a “Yes” is much faster in making the decision to hire and to whom a job should be offered.

The availability of top talent in January and February is not just my opinion.  It’s a fact based on the sheer number of resumes and phone calls that my firm receives every year during the first quarter of the year.

So, despite the dreary weather in many cities and the post-Holiday blues, it turns out that January and February are not so bad after all.  In fact, if you’re looking to add new talent to your team in the New Year, it could be the perfect time to start your search.

Here’s Why You Should Be Actively Recruiting During The Holidays

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on November 21, 2016

Many firms traditionally wind down their recruitment efforts during the holiday period. Strategically, this can be a missed opportunity and a huge mistake. The best time to recruit is when others are idle and when many good candidates are more available and receptive. This is even more relevant for lesser-known organizations that are competing against better-known competitors for the best available talent.

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Actively Recruiting During the Holidays:

Proactive recruiting during this long holiday period is a solid stratagem for the following reasons:

  1. Not everyone celebrates the Holiday Season — many people in the U.S. from different cultures and religions do not celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving. So making the assumption that everyone is occupied during the holidays with shopping and going to parties may indeed be a false assumption.
  2. Bonus time is usually in December — almost all year-end bonuses are given out in December.  Therefore, the financial incentive for a top-performing employee to stay diminishes almost immediately after their bonuses are paid out.  Many potential applicants might be more inclined to explore new opportunities.
  3. While others slack off, top performers are still working during this period —top performers are driven and are less likely than others to take advantage of an opportunity to ease down.  Top performers typically remain fully engaged at all times.  Employers should not assume that great candidates are too focused on celebrating and shopping to appreciate a great job opportunity when it is offered to them during this period.
  4. December can be a low-budget time, which often means hiring freezes — many companies are in a “no growth mode” during December and are waiting for the release of the new January budget.   As a result, employers are likely to get a positive recruiting response from top performers when you indicate that your firm is still operating at full speed.
  5. December is an “easy excuse” month so candidates are more available for interviews-many employees take time off for Christmas parties and shopping. It can be relatively easy for your candidates to make excuses to get time off to interview. This is a great time for exploratory informational interviews in order to assess and perhaps sell potential candidates for current or even future job openings.
  6. The Christmas to New Year’s slow down period is also a great opportunity — the eight-day period between Christmas and New Year, when many organizations slow down, may be the most-opportune time to interview individuals who are always “too busy” or those who refuse to “lie” in order to take time off work for an interview.

In conclusion, the Holiday season is upon us and recruitment for great talent may feel like trudging through molasses.  However this can be an outstanding time to connect with well-qualified candidates. With just a bit of ingenuity and creative thinking, organizations can make the most of the Holiday season to recruit the very best talent available.


Please feel free share this article to those that might benefit. Thank you!


Bernie Reifkind is the CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. a nationwide executive search and placement firm.   In addition, Bernie provides career guidance and strategic interviewing techniques to professionals at all levels.

P: 1(800) 801-1400  or email at

Here’s How to Fire an Employee

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on October 31, 2016

If you even if you are debating whether or not to terminate an employee, then it may be time to cut that person loose.

It’s never easy and there is never a great time to do the deed, but business is business.

What are some of the reasons that it’s time to fire an employee?  Here are just a few:

  • too many personal problems
  • extreme absenteeism
  • too many excuses for average or poor performance
  • creating a morale problem with the staff
  • feeling entitled and complacency has set in
  • staff complaints
  • that “pit in your stomach” knowing that this employee is bad news

Of course, this list can go on forever.  The problem employee is a huge issue and no matter how hard it is or anxiety provoking it might be for an employer: action must be taken immediately.

Many employers live with a problem employee far longer than they in fact need to.  The reason may be fear. Fear of being sued, fear of confrontation, fear that the employee may know too much confidential company information, fear of not being able to replace the skill set that this person may have.  Fear can be a huge stumbling block to progress.

But keeping a problem employee is like having to carry a building on your back.

Here’s the good news.  It is not necessary to keep problem employees!  Unless an employee is contractually bound to a job, then an employer has every right to hire and fire anyone if it benefits the bottom line.

It is important to clearly realize that every employee is expendable.  Never forget that.  There may be some initial pain in getting rid of a problem employee but the long term result of removing this person is incalculable.

So here are 6 things to do right now about the problem employee:

  1. Remove your emotions (as best as you can) about your upcoming decision to terminate the problem employee.  This is strictly business.
  2. Long before a termination, create a paper trail every day, a journal or a daily log of issues and concerns, about the problem employee in the event that you need to defend your actions. 
  3. Warn the problem employee as often as possible as to the issues at hand.  In addition, put your warning in writing.  Let the employee see in writing the issues and if possible, have this employee sign the warning notice.  Then you as the employer will have written proof that the employee has been sufficiently warned.
  4. Tell no one in your immediate circle that there will be a termination.  Confidentiality is key to the stability of your staff.  Seeking re-assurance from out-side trusted sources and legal counsel is never a bad idea. The cost of sound legal advice is invaluable.
  5. Trust your gut feelings about this problem employee.  Know that keeping this employee is detrimental to your operation and that by not “doing the deed”, you are risking the loss of other key employees.  You are absolutely doing the right thing.
  6. Terminating an employee is never easy, especially an employee that has been a part of your organization for a long time.  To repeat, remove your emotions about terminating the problem employee, no matter what financial or emotional issues the employee is personally facing.  The problem employee has caused this action.  During the termination, be gentle but be firm and do not waiver.  The decision should be final and it should be communicated in that manner.

In summary, having the best human capital is vital to the success of any operation.  However, things change.  Organizations at some time or another may face a problem employee.  Inaction or failure to address a problem employee can slowly erode the success of your operation.

The time to act is right now. 

I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc.  I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at  I welcome your phone call.