Hiring a former coworker
March 7, 2012 8:14 PM Subscribe
Should I steal my former employer's best employee?
posted by anonymous to work & money (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For the past 5 years I have worked for a small business, in a team of 3 (plus owner and temps) as the #2 earner for the business. 2 weeks ago I worked my last day and tomorrow I will be starting my own business in a city about an hour away. Interviews for new staff start next week. I have several promising candidates lined up already.
So far, so good. Except that my former coworker, and the #1 earner for the business (Mary), has indicated she is interested in relocating and working for me.
On one hand, this would be great for me. We have a great working relationship and I can think of no one better to fill the position. If it were needed, I would be willing to hold a slot for them so they could give more than the customary notice period to my former employer.
OTOH, this would be seriously crippling to my former employer (taking their #1 person away in the wake of their #2 person leaving). I am starting in a city with lots of good applicants, but they are located in an area where good staff are quite hard to come by. If Mary is replaced reasonably quickly, everyone is a winner. If not, I've put the former employer into the red and possibly jeopardized the job of the #3 (last remaining earner). And the former boss and the #3 person are about as close friends as it is possible to be at work. I do feel like I owe the former employer a bit after being kept in my job during a very trying time for me when I was not giving anywhere near 100% (and someone else might've suspended or fired me). And I'm quite close to the #3 and their family.
Should I let the free market rule and offer Mary a job as soon as they want it? Pretend I didn't hear Mary's half-hearted question about a job, and go filling the spot in the normal way with someone almost-as-good? Split the difference and offer Mary a job if she gives the employer a very generous notice period?