Hiring Employees from Contractors

We use a contract cleaning firm in our plant. As is typical with this type of contractor, their employees are paid on a very low scale, and have no employee benefits. Naturally, this keeps our cost of using this contractor down. However, their employees see what our work environment is like, and talk to our employees about pay and benefits, and many of them would like to come to work for us.

We made an agreement a couple of years ago (before my time here) that we wouldn't "pirate" their employees. When I started here, I was told that if I was approached by one of their people about applying, I was to tell them that I couldn't accept an application until they had quit working for the contractor.

This worked well with the first of their employees who came to me. However, a second one apparently lied to me and told me that she'd already turned in her notice to the contractor. Now, the contractor is miffed that we've offered her a position.

The only thing I can think of to do to prevent this in the future is to tell the contractor's employees that I have to actually contact the contractor to let them know that one of their employees wants to apply here. However, this may cause problems between the contractor and the employee, cause us to lose a qualified applicant, and deny the person the opportunity for better pay, benefits and working conditions.

Do any of you have similar issues with hiring employees of contractors?:ball and chain:


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I would probably treat it similarly to contracting with an employment agency - develop a fee structure for "converting" contractors to full time hires, processes for coordinating the info with the contracting agency, etc.

    Otherwise, if you want to stick with your current scenario, instead of asking the individual if they've resigned, require them to get a statement from the contracting agency (signed, of course) stating dates of employment, which any company should be able to provide regardless of the circumstances surrounding the termination.
  • A fairly simple solution would be to continue what you are doing - telling the contract employee they must quit before you could hire them. Then I would go one step further and tell them that once they tell you they have quit, you must call the contractor and verify their employment termination. This puts the ball back into their court since they know you are calling they can either come clean and tell you the truth or it is legit and you are on your way to hiring them.
  • Or you could just put your contractor on written notice that stipulates that you will not activley recruit their employees, but if any of them inquire about employment opportunities, you will give them due consideration as you would any other applicant. It is doubtful the contractor will bite the hands that feed him, and can only hold you to a "no hiring our employees" agreement if it is a written contract. To stand in the way of allowing employees to better themselves through higher pay, benefits and better working conditions seems almost inhumane, just so your contractor can get away with non-competitive pay rates and crappy work conditions. In my opinion, you owe your contractor no promises that you will engage in thier scheme to protect that system.
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