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Shield your best people from recruiters’ clutches

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Issue: With the economy heating up, headhunters are on the prowl for talent.

Benefit: Developing a strategy will position you as a big-picture person who's got the organization's best interests at heart.

Action: Take the following five steps to head off headhunters.

With the economy back on its feet, more of your organization's employees will be hunting for new jobs. But what about those employees who are being hunted?

Creating an atmosphere that satisfies employees is the best defense against aggressive recruitment. But you also need a good offense.

Here are five field-tested techniques for heading off headhunters, according to staffing experts Wayne Outlaw of Outlaw Group Inc, and Peter LeBlanc, a principal at Sibson & Co.:

1. Limit distribution of organizational charts or company directories that recruiters can tap into for employee listings. Those are crucial guides to company talent. Limiting access foils "Web flipping," a common recruiting scheme in which recruiters back into a company's Web site to find links to prospective recruits.

2. Screen out headhunters. Teach receptionists and administrative assistants to identify headhunters, by asking "Can I tell her what this is regarding?", and prevent them from getting through to employees. Key warning sign: Callers who mispronounce the employee's name.

3. Keep no secrets. Openness can go a long way. Encourage employees to be honest with you or their supervisors when they communicate with headhunters. One boss at a telecommunications company says he tells employees: "Take every call you get. If you get a better offer, let me know."

4. Call in the big guns. Convince your division chiefs, and even the president, that they have nothing more important to do than sit down with a valued employee who's thinking about jumping ship.

5. Can't beat 'em? Join 'em. Consider negotiating deals with top recruitment firms in your industry that promise not to touch your staff in exchange for your business.

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