Poaching, Ethics, Slavery And Personal Opinions

I have read with great interest the large number of comments and criticisms of the practices brought up in my case study of FirstMerit Bank. Case studies, of course, never tell you what to do; they merely describe what is happening at a particular organization. If you have different ethics, lack courage or the willingness to take risks, then to put it simply: Don’t do what FirstMerit does. If you have read any of my articles or books, you already know my mission is to get you to re-think your current approach. I think that the case study did just that. This article contains my thoughts related to the primary criticisms that were offered. To be honest, I find many of them different from my point of view because: I am a recruiter! I am a freedom fighter. What I do as a recruiter is to offer people increased opportunities for growth, challenge, and income. I’m never ashamed of that. I do this in spite of corporations’ and managers’ numerous attempts to restrict their employee’s freedom and to prevent them from hearing about new and wonderful opportunities. Because employees are not owned by anyone but themselves, I don’t listen to the “poaching” gripes or the complaints made by employees’ current managers, who have failed to treat their employees as well as they should be treated. Because I know an employee will never leave a good job where they are treated well, I know that when they listen to my opportunity and accept my offer, I have helped them to improve their own and their family’s lives. And because individuals are always free to refuse my wonderful offers, I’m proud when they accept and I literally never feel bad about offering them an opportunity to improve. I am a fighter, because corporations and managers put up so many roadblocks to the average employee finding out about new opportunities. I aggressively fight to get around those barriers. For that I offer no apologies! And now some more specific comments. Employees Are Not Owned by the Corporation Poaching employees is not stealing, because employees are never owned. I literally laugh out loud when I hear individuals say that it is illegal or unethical to poach or steal employees from another company. Let me be crystal clear on this: Employees are not owned by the corporation. The U.S. Constitution and numerous laws around the world outlaw the “ownership” of individuals. The practice of owning individuals is known as slavery or indentured servitude. Corporations can never “own an employee” and as a result, it is never illegal to recruit an individual away from a corporation. Now, there are some very rare cases where someone who is hired away might unfairly utilize company secrets or company information. But even in those rare cases, the recruiting away itself is not illegal, it is only the use of the company secrets that becomes a legal issue. The freedom that America is so proud of applies to corporations also. Despite what some have said, there are no laws that restrict one corporation from attracting away the typical employee from another corporation. CEOs and senior officers of corporations are poached or “stolen” away from other corporations on a routine basis. When Jeff Immelt of General Electric was promoted, the two competitors for the top job were poached away almost immediately. No one cried foul or unethical, and the companies who got the new CEOs were ecstatic. Many who say that the poaching of employees is unethical routinely fail to criticize the poaching of executives. Talent constantly moves between corporations. Anything we do to speed up that movement and to increase an employee’s freedom to move is a good thing. Poaching and Competition Strengthens a Corporation Recruiting great talent is always a fight (some call it the “war for talent” for good reason). If you want the very best candidates, those who are well-trained and good at what they do, you really have no other option other than to poach from your competitors. The one remaining option, hiring exclusively from non-competitors, invariably means hiring candidates without experience in your industry, candidates from outside the region with high relocation costs, candidates whose skills are stale, or candidates without any relevant experience. Hiring these people means extra costs to the firm because of their slow start up and their long learning curve just to understand the industry and then eventually, come up to speed in their job. Conversely, a fear of poaching can hurt your corporation. Many HR people are afraid to poach away from other corporations because of their fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, using that logic, your product division wouldn’t offer competing products because a large competitor might, as you put it, squash them! Your salespeople wouldn’t compete head-to-head for the same customers, out of fear of retaliation. No, businesspeople expect competition everywhere, and only HR people see “ethical issues” in highly competitive practices. These so-called ethical issues are just not raised in other business units. I have difficulty understanding HR professionals who keep saying that they want to be “business partners” but when given a chance to actually compete like a businessperson, fail to act like real businesspeople do every day — which is to compete aggressively in the marketplace. Incidentally, poaching forces your own firm to pay close attention to its own top performers in order to keep the competitors from poaching them away. This attention might have a secondary effect of increasing employee productivity and satisfaction. Restricting Individual Freedom of Movement Is Wrong I occasionally hear of corporations that have reached an informal agreement with their competitors not to poach each other’s employees. I find that practice to be abhorrent and a violation of both personal freedom and free competition. When you offer an individual employee from one corporation a greater opportunity with a new job offer, you are offering them an opportunity to take advantage of their right to quit at anytime for any reason. When corporations institute practices and agreements that restrict an individual’s freedom to move between companies, they keep these agreements a secret because they are obviously a restriction of freedom and free trade. As a recruiter, I am proud to offer individuals increased career opportunities, and I find it abhorrent that companies (always under the table) attempt to restrict the freedom of individuals to move by agreeing not to poach each other’s employees. Not only does this restriction limit an individual’s job choices, but it also serves to keep the cost of labor down. This is also abhorrent and illegal. I challenge companies and HR departments that have these under-the-table agreements to make them public throughout their firm, so that all employees will know that their freedom is being restricted by the selfish interests of a few managers and HR leaders who don’t know how to treat their employees well enough to keep them, in spite of an external offer. Restricting trade is clearly illegal, and so is restricting employee’s freedom to move. For this very reason, many states, including California, have found that the majority of “non-compete” agreements signed by typical employees are unenforceable, because they unfairly restrict your freedom to use your skills and talent. In my opinion, if your corporation requires those agreements for all jobs, you are contributing to a type of indentured servitude while simultaneously demonstrating that you don’t know how to treat workers well enough to keep them, despite other offers. The Use of Third-Party Recruiters to Keep Your Hands Clean I find it humorous that individuals in HR who find the practices in the case study to be “unethical” often turn around and hire third-party recruiters to do their hiring for them, without restricting how the third party goes about their recruiting. Managers and HR are merely closing their eyes to the approaches that are being used by these third-party recruiters every day. I don’t find the tools used by most third-party recruiters to be unethical. But I do find it hypocritical that HR hires someone else to do the “dirty work” that they refuse to do themselves. It’s like saying you’re against murder but it’s okay if you hire a “hit man” to kill for you. If closing your eyes and being unaware of what’s happening outside of your department is ethical, I want no part of it. Be open and proud about how you recruit, like FirstMerit is, but don’t hide behind the approach that if I don’t see it, it’s okay. In a similar vein, some HR professionals lack the courage to “fight” (directly poach from a competitor) so they instead hire third-party recruiters to do their “poaching” for them. But even in this case, both sides always know what’s really going on. Being successful in any business function means constantly competing — and recruiting is not exempt from that expectation. Most of the Complainers Represent Third-Party Recruiters and the Unemployed A majority of the complaints that I have seen about the best practices listed come from third-party recruiters or from professionals who represent unemployed jobseekers. Let me comment on third-party recruiters first. I respect third-party recruiters and find them to be the very best recruiting professionals. But unfortunately, I have also found that most of their comments about “ethics” run counter to many of the practices that they themselves actually use. This apparent contradiction can only be explained in my mind by the fact that, as Michael Homula of FirstMerit put it, they want corporate recruiters to remain stupid. I unfortunately don’t have any data to support this contention. But my experience certainly tells me that third party recruiters thrive in large part because corporate recruiters are afraid to poach and use aggressive recruiting tactics. In fact, I frequently get comments from third party recruiters that my approaches are actually relatively tame compared to what they do. I agree with that point. That was one of the purposes of the case study: to attempt to shock corporate recruiters into becoming more aggressive. The second group of criticizers includes a number of people who represent or make money from unemployed jobseekers. Their contention that the very best are among the unemployed is just not supported by the facts. Although I sympathize with those who are unemployed and those who try to help them, I find that they have an almost universal willingness to blame others for their situation. I find, in direct contrast, that the very best in any field are well known and their skills and contacts are continually up to date. As a result, they are instantly snapped up if they are ever on the market. Anyone who says targeting employed people is unethical is, well to be blunt, just silly. Business is not social work. Social workers shouldn’t tell business “capitalists” how to operate. The Misuse of the Word “Ethical” I can see the headlines now: “John Sullivan comes out against ethics.” While that is not exactly true, it is certainly true that I am against the very common “misuse” of the word ethics. I find that the clear majority of people who use or misuse the word ethics know very little about it. Let’s start with the definition: “Ethics is a branch of philosophy and that deals with morality. Ethics is concerned with distinguishing between good and evil in the world, between right and wrong human actions, and between virtuous and nonvirtuous characteristics of people.” What this definition clearly points out is that ethics is:

  1. Ethics is not a law, or even a practice, but instead it is an individual philosophy or belief.
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  3. Ethics deals with morality and thus it is closely aligned with religion, which is an individual belief, not a fact, law, or company policy.

The lesson to be learned from this definition is that when people say that something is “unethical” what they are really doing is expressing a personal moral or philosophical belief. It is their right (at least in America) to exercise that belief, but it is important to realize that it is no more than their personal belief. As a belief alone, it clearly does not have the force of law or society behind it. When society wants a corporation to act in a certain way, it gets its representatives to pass laws to regulate that action. But personal ethics are not laws or corporate rules or policies. And because corporations are owned by individual shareholders, corporations have no obligation to listen to any individual’s personal belief that is not a shareholder, employee, or a customer. If you are an employee and you hold moral values that run counter to the organization’s rules and policies, you have two choices. The first is to try to get those rules and policies changed, and the second is to leave the corporation and join another with moral values closer to your own. The right that you do not have is to change the way you do your job in order to meet your own personal beliefs. To do so is simply arrogant and insensitive to the wishes of the corporation’s owners. For example, if you are a vegan and don’t believe in eating animals, you do not have the right as a company chef in the company cafeteria to serve only vegetables. If you are not an owner of a corporation, you have little say in how a corporation operates. If you don’t like them, don’t be an employee. Buy stock and express your opinion with your shareholder vote. If you’re a customer of a corporation and it acts in such a way that counters your beliefs you have two choices. Buy stock in the company and influence its actions at the shareholders’ meeting, or stop being a customer and influence the corporation’s actions by removing your dollars. Because corporations are owned by shareholders, corporations have an obligation to listen to them. If you are shareholder of the corporation and you have a strong belief or ethic, you can express that belief at a shareholders’ meeting or with your vote for the board of directors. Because there are people on this earth with outrageous individual beliefs like “the moon is made of cheese” it is important that individual corporations do not change the way they act just because of a single individual’s opinion or criticism. In HR, there is no standard code of ethics. The EMA (the association for corporate recruiters) has no ethical guide which covers all recruiting. In short, if it does not violate a law or a corporate policy, it is okay. This is especially important in a global corporation where something that is considered unethical by some individuals in the U.S. is totally acceptable in other countries. For example, serving beef in the company cafeteria in India might insult a lot of employees, but the same practice would not automatically be offensive in Iowa. Conclusion There are laws and company policies to govern behavior in business, and any personal objection to poaching is just an opinion that is not supported by law. The freedom that America is so proud of applies to corporations also. Corporations do not own employees. In America, employees can quit at anytime, for any reason, including by accepting an offer to improve their lives at another corporation. The social-worker thinking that permeates HR doesn’t exist in other business functions. Salespeople steal “paying customers” away from competitor’s everyday — and they call it their job. Recruiting away top talent is no more or less ethical than stealing another company’s customers. I assure you that salespeople don’t spend hours arguing the ethics of stealing away another firm’s customers. Why? Because customers, just like employees, are not owned by the corporation, and offering customers additional opportunities is what capitalism and freedom is all about. HR has come under a great deal of criticism recently, not because it is too aggressive or unethical but instead because it is too slow, bureaucratic, and afraid of taking risks. To those “I know better” types who criticized the management practices in the case study, I suggest you spend some time in sales, product development, marketing, or branding. You’ll learn rapidly that the world of corporate business is highly aggressive and highly competitive. Practices that you might think as “unethical” like copying products, lowering prices to hurt the competition, opening a store across the street from a competitor, and even charging outrageous prices are in fact commonplace in business because the market allows it. I have nothing to retract from the case study. To those who attempt to make recruiting less competitive and more “docile,” I urge you to look at the growth of China and India. I have worked in both countries, and I assure you that they share not a single one of your qualms or personal ethics about recruiting. If your company or your country fails to meet their aggressive practices face to face, I hope you will accept personal responsibility for losing thousands of additional jobs. Competition is relentless and the world is changing at a blistering pace. Being aggressive is now required just to survive! I leave you with this quote from one of the world’s most aggressive leaders and a true capitalist: “If the rate of change inside an organization is less than the rate of change outside, their end is in sight! ó Jack Welsh

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on staging.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.



11 Comments on “Poaching, Ethics, Slavery And Personal Opinions

  1. Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin introduced the Seamen’s Act into Congress, which was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson on March 4, 1915 outlawing the last vestiges of enforced servitude outlawed on American ships.

    Indentured Servitude was officially outlawed in 1885 in the U.S.

    Interesting article:
    High Tech’s Indentured Servants
    As Silicon Valley prospers, foreign workers are trapped in a tricky
    waiting game.
    By Pham-Duy D. Nguyen

  2. John,
    Really curious – been noting as of late that there are a lot of articles where you are quoted as to how to prevent being raided.. Note that there are even a few you have written where you do teach companies how to prevent poaching of their top talent….

    So My question? Which side are you really on?

  3. Bravo, Dr. Sullivan…
    Hopefully, today’s article will provide the definitive last word to the discussion generated by the ‘Best Practices of Agressive Recruiters (sic) ‘ article. Many business people, including recruiters, unfortunately have not been taught the lessons of the ‘Principles of a Free Market 101’, a group who generally and largely should have a great working understanding of such! Your article posted today does a fine job of explaining what many of our discussion posts were trying to convey. I continue to encourage anyone participating in our free market system and as a citizen of this country to learn all you can about Economics. Increasing of knowledge in these areas increases individual effectiveness and our collective worth as a group of professionals.

  4. Oh boy. Here we go again.

    Giving loose descriptions on ethics to try and justify all this is nonsense. This is not about what we all do for a living, it’s about the way we do it.

    As a recruiter, you have an obligation to act professionally at all times and toward all parties concerned.

    That’s it. End of story.

    Candidates – Your changing their career. Treat them with complete respect and give them the discretion they deserve.

    Client – Whether a TPR or CR, you represent the client. Be professional at all times.

    Target Companies – You are talking to their staff about new opportunities. Do not do it to try and deliberately destroy them and do not attack them verbally. Treat them with respect. This is about the individual and the new opportunity, not the company they work for.

    The only reason anyone steps outside of this is because of their incapability to operate within it.

    Lying, false representation, fraudulent behaviour, setting out to destroy companies, bribing candidates …and more….

    Let’s not make any more excuses for these bad practices. If you cannot operate professionally whether a TPR, Corporate Recruiter or whoever, then you should not be doing it.

  5. Dr. John,

    There’s a problem here with the term ‘poaching’ because no employee ever gets poached unwillingly. You can prevent competition for a while but eventually it comes back to you in spades. Polaroid won a devastating patent infringement case against Kodak in the 80s, but is all but history now that we’re all using digital cameras. Or look at the Baby Bells, whose monopoly on phone service means little in a world of cheap cell phones and flat-rate VoIP on cable modems.


  6. I do not agree with Dr. John on everything he so eloquently pontificates about but as the saying goes, I’ll defend with my life his right to say it.

    As for which side he’s on…this suggests a confrontational tone.

    Are you suggesting you’re on one side and HR practitioners are on the other side?

    My my, for someone with such a stellar repuation with her clients that she works solely with referral business you sure take a dim view of your clients by placing them on the other side of the fence from you.

    Karen, I’m sure that’s not what you intended to say but the point is it’s another red herring that doesn’t have any more place in this conversation than the point you’re trying to raise.

    Raising the awareness of how some less than creative name sourcers call in to companies and how to prevent them from easy access to your empoyee base in hardly taking sides.

    If you’re worried about ABC company shutting you out at the gatekeepers desk then you have more important issues to deal with.

  7. Michael,
    let’s not twist this; hey be a lawyer and sue your client too..

    Think about it this way –
    Teach one client hey this is how you hit your competitor, fight dirty this way, implement these stratagies

    Now – go accross the street and say hey this is how one avoids being hit by the competitor accross the street, how do I know,exactly what he is going to do.. Why because I taught him how to attack you…

    Now Thanks for the payment for education of survival of the fittest.

    By the Way I never and I mean Never have a conflict of interest with my companies, in any shape way or form.. Will turn down clients to make sure I don’t need to.

    By the way I am glad to say that I know that I am not the only sanctimonious, self righteous Recruiter who will do their best to maintain an ethical standard in recruitin and how we identify and recruit candidates for our clients.

    By the way Michael, it is good to know that I do DO NOT RECRUIT OR PRACTICE RECRUITING in your field, seems that what you went through is a good example of bad recruiting tactics.

  8. Excellent response David

    Now I wonder, why do I get misquoted, where have I or for that matter anyone else said that it was illegal or unethical to recruit -whether it be it a TPR or a Corp recruiter.

    It is so interesting how words get twisted.

    For my last recollection Recruiting is still legal, but at the rate we are going, wonder if that too will change.

    Anyways I digress, Recruiting and Raiding/Poaching/Predatory Hiring are 2 complete different things. It may be to a companies best interest to know the difference.

    And YES there are Laws that Do apply to Raiding/Poaching/Predatory Hiring and they do fall under the Antitrust/Trade Regulation – Federal Laws I might add but please note that every state also tightens the ropes that much more by having their own state bureau that enforces federal and state laws.

    Federal Fines are up to 10 Million Dollars. Yep 10 million for corporation and 350 thousand per individual, and imprisonment up to three years.

    Now when one reads the feds version one may think well duh, it doesn’t say anything about recruiting and hiring, that is until one reads the decisions of the court cases, and then there they spell out the whole thing for you…

    By the way these acts cover many different aspects of Predatory Trade activities and Practices and UNFAIR business Practices (hmm sometimes I wonder are ethics and laws the same). Including deceptive or misleading advertising… That one falls under the title of Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices.

    ‘The antitrust laws are aimed at protecting consumers’ purchasing power and saving jobs and businesses, all at the same time’

    The FTC?s antitrust arm, the Bureau of Competition –
    Bureau of Competition seeks to prevent anticompetitive business practices in the marketplace as well as enforcement of the antitrust laws
    They do have a public reference line.

  9. wow, thanks for the reactionary dialogue – however, i don’t think that you need to take the time to apologize for your commentary, the case study was well written and documented (mostly, the edits begged for a bit more mechanical detail)..a more detailed explanation of operations might have worked better to allay fears that first merit is giving their recruiters progesterone shots each morning before outfitting their bodies with small electrodes to stimulate productivity…their team leader sounds great, though he still appears to be relegated to some way-below-ceo level rank, which to me is the proof in the pudding for testing credibility of his role (just had to point that out, because the companies that do take it very, very seriously often elevate the role – perhaps he could get even more done with better regular visibility?)

    and as for that ethics thing, no need to even go there – everybody is gonna read whatever you (or others) write on here and internalize it all and come back screaming, have it happen to me all the time when i talk about elicitation and intelligence collection activities through human contact…

    BUT perhaps it might make sense for me, a, ummh, mildly opinionated guy, to chime here in on several items, in no particular order:

    ethics and the law: lets skip ethics completely and talk about the law. let’s consider (detail is missing from your case study) how far firstmerit will go to collect information – interviewing prospective and recent hires and pumping them for intelligence is old news to corporate strategy and ci teams – and the road is littered with lawsuits john, all of them mapping directly to something which you’ve failed to address: yes, no corporation owns any individual (and noncompetes are crap), but all individuals have a legal (not ethical) responsibility to comply with their nondisclosures, and using some quasi-governmental-agency style undercooked intelligence training might lead these recruiters-turned-agents into dire straits when demands for ‘three names and numbers’ and other information begets another layer of dialogue, particularly one that violates that nda or touches proprietary information (for help on this subject, call scip.org and ask for a referral to a law firm member to discuss just how many lawsuits have happened as a result of hr/recruiting departments becoming overzealous)…you touched this subject with the use of CI in recruiting, but left me in want of explanation – much of what recruiters describe as CI is often market research or some sort of ‘research dept’ – intelligence informs the decision making process or produces actionable results, and to be honest, there’s zero insight into what this team is collecting, how they’re collecting, and where it’s all going…

    that quote at the end of your reply: is jack welsh related to jack welch? (kidding)…seriously, a better quote might be ‘i am the doorman of my days’ (refrigerator johnny, an old cartoon)….i agree that folks need to separate sensitivity from productivity goals…but wait, we ARE all sentient beings, and so as a result i suppose that it might be hard for people to separate the ‘person’ from the ‘worker’ – oh, and with that in mind, let me make some wild guesses: at firstmerit, that team that you studied is over 80 percent male, average ages 28-33, mostly dark short hair, no facial hair, average height over 5’11 and all own the dvd release of ‘team america’ and quote ‘tommy boy’ at work (kidding, again, sorta)

    hiring the top folks sight unseen? really it’s an impressive firm, and an impressive effort, but this spooked me out. honestly john, isn’t there some sense that people should be interviewed before being hired? and isn’t an offer letter without dialogue a bit on par with summer ice-cream shop hiring strategies at a summer resort? hopefully, firstmerit isn’t sending out offer letters to the next fastow or sullivan – because they were total stars before all that crap went down – but then, they won’t know will they? hell, who can be bothered with an interview, with calibration or quality control – it’s a war right? and friendly-fire casualties are always at least 1/4 of all deaths – so if firstmerit does wind up screwing up a few divisions, units or bringing on a few lawsuits as a result of a few expedited hiring processes, then so be it, it happens…just glad that i’m not part of their legal department or disaster recovery planning teams!

    you noted, ‘Some members of the recruiting team wandered through a competitor’s offsite seminar wearing the competitor’s lapel buttons.’ clever, for some strange reason i thought that it was against the law to impersonate an employee of a corporation in a non-satire situation, but maybe i’m all wrong on that one…who has the time to deal with compliance anyways? impersonating employees with corporate clothing was something that kevin mitnick loved to do too, remember him?

    developing recruiters by teaching them how to lie on the phone? wow, that’s a great skill set to build out! for some reason i though that this issue had been explored thoroughly in multiple public forums and described as not just unethical, but also illegal…call me crazy, but firstmerit reminds me a little, in a strange way, of a search firm i know of that was sued for labeling candidate files just a little descriptively…i just hope that the cost of litigation doesn’t eat up all of those big operational savings, that would be a kinda sucky presentation to have to give to shareholders or senior management…

    also, you said, ‘When society wants a corporation to act in a certain way, it gets its representatives to pass laws to regulate that action. But personal ethics are not laws or corporate rules or policies. And because corporations are owned by individual shareholders, corporations have no obligation to listen to any individual’s personal belief that is not a shareholder, employee, or a customer.’…strange, as i recall, a corporation is in fact a ‘person’ by legal definition, and bears the responsibilities of a person within a community, and is obligated to comply with ordinances put forth by non-shareholders (which you DID say, sorta)…but interesting: personal ethics are not laws or rules or policies? thank god for that! otherwise we’d have to give jobs to women and african americans or those bothersome people in wheelchairs, with their damned 45 degree ramp requirements without rules that say so (i’m taking you back in time to the 40’s and 50’s john, where this comment makes much more sense)….damn those progressive idealists who took it upon themselves to recognize such imbalances before laws went into effect to protect the rights of minorities…if they only hadn’t been so damned sensitive then jack welch could have continued to hire and promote only white men for all of time! that woulda been cool, huh?

    oh, add to that your other comment, ‘If you are not an owner of a corporation, you have little say in how a corporation operates.’ that’s fascinating, it would suggest that changes in industries like automotive, tobacco and utlities happened of their own volition – you know, because of thoughtful and insightful leadership…john, just one piece of advice for you: rent ‘the corporation’ and watch it, twice (and listen to what milton has to say..)

    …hey, you know what, i’m reading this over and now i feel like it’s a bit harsh, maybe a bit dark in some areas…oh, but wait! i’m not a firstmerit shareholder, so my opinion doesn’t count anyways!

  10. Dave:
    The original article can only be described as a priori evidence of tortious interference.

    Should Firstmerit become involved in any litigation around recruiting; well, the plaintiff would have a smoking gun admission: ‘I intended harm and performed all these questionable acts to bring that about’

    Firstmerit may have successful recruiting but one would wonder about risk management.This is a prime example of why there are (and should be) restrictions on blogging.

    I wonder too, if management would stand up and defend their loyal recruiters should difficulty arise. (if the sun rises in the west that particular day, perhaps)

    My sense is that this is a public relations campaign hatched in a nest of naivety.


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