When a Company Says to Stop Recruiting Its Employees . . .

Mark DemareeRECRUITING NEWS: A few years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice became privy to allegations that several Silicon Valley tech companies had been colluding among themselves since at least 2006 to drive down salaries.  How were they allegedly colluding?  By agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees!

While not conceding the illegality of the agreement, seven of the companies—Lucasfilm, Intuit, Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel—admitted they entered into such an agreement.  In addition, three of those seven companies—LucasFilm, Pixar, and Intuit—will pay $20 million to workers as part of a recent legal settlement.

ARTICLE: “Steve Jobs’ Scheme Costs Disney and Intuit Penalties of $20 Million in Non-Recruitment Collusion Scandal” via AllGov.com

ANALYSIS: When was the last time a company official told you to quit calling into their company in an attempt to recruit their employees?  How soon will it be before another company official tells you the same thing?

How might this news story change the nature and course of that conversation?

In light of these events, the argument could be made that not allowing recruiters to call into a company (or to actively recruit company employees in some fashion) conceivably violates anti-trust laws.  Here’s a passage from the Department of Justice’s civil suit against the companies:

“These no cold call agreements are facially anticompetitive because they eliminated a significant form of competition to attract high tech employees, and, overall, substantially diminished competition to the detriment of the affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities.”

The results of this investigation and the civil and legal suits that were filed could eventually have ramifications in regards to how companies handle efforts to recruit their employees.  The possibility of a lawsuit could curb company officials’ enthusiasm for telling recruiters to “cease and desist” those efforts.

They could instead re-channel that enthusiasm into retaining their top employees . . . which is probably where their energies should have been all along.

FEEDBACK: What are your thoughts?  Is this possibly the beginning of a new trend in recruiting?  Regardless of whether or not it’s a new trend, do you plan to arm yourself with this information the next time a company official tells you to “back off” its employees?

Please comment below.

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