Getting poached by a new company can be a good thing for your career.
You might be looking at a pay raise, a cool new gig, or a chance to learn more about your overall value as an employee.
However, there are some risks that come with this territory.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job,” broke down some tips on setting yourself up as an appealing target:
1. Keep in touch with your network
This mantra definitely pertains to poaching, but it’s also just good career advice in general. Make a point of staying in touch with your professional connections.
“Something as simple as saying ‘Hi’ and asking about your colleagues is appreciated,” Taylor says. “Noting their posts on LinkedIn and liking their articles or discussions is appreciated. Having lunch with former colleagues and staying connected in general is key to career advancement.”
All that networking can put you in the sights of a poacher.
2. Don’t skimp on LinkedIn
In this digital age, it’s not a bad idea to have a killer LinkedIn profile. In many cases, an active and professional online presence may be what actually gets you poached in the first place, according to Taylor.
“I do think many people underestimate the value of publishing posts on their profile, as a means to advance their career and SEO,” Taylor says. “Having LinkedIn Premium and unrestricted access to LinkedIn members is invaluable. And knowing how to compose a message or email to your contacts, and their contacts, in a way that’s mutually beneficial and not one-sided is a true art form.”
3. Know what you’re getting into
Taylor notes that being approached by a “poacher” can be immensely flattering. Give yourself a pat on the back. People want to you on their team. However, that doesn’t mean that the job is definitely right for you.
“Take a thoughtful approach,” Taylor says. “If asked, ‘Are you happy at your job? We’d love to have you on our team,’ avoid saying, ‘I would love to talk… when are you free?’ unless you already have one leg (and arm) out the door.”
Instead, tell the recruiter that you’ve been enjoying your position, but you’re curious about hearing what’s going on with the other team.
“The more you absorb, the better off you are in your response,” Taylor told Business Insider. “And there’s no rush to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. You have to develop trust in the poacher. You don’t want word to spread that you’re looking; especially if you’re not sure you are!”
4. Avoid legal trouble
While getting poached can be a boon to career, it can also derail it, if you aren’t careful.
“The flip side of having familiarity with the poacher is that: You have familiarity with the poacher,” Taylor told Business Insider. “In other words, if you move to a competitor and have signed non-compete clause — or you move to a client and your employer loses a big contract, just be aware of any potential legal fallout beforehand. Review any documents you’ve signed and try to stay under the radar as you discover the more subtle ramifications of moving to the new employer.”
5. Keep your professional brand intact
Don’t forget to consider the long term before you accept a flashy new role. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting a different gig, but make sure you’re behaving in a way that will benefit your career.
“Your professional reputation is all you have,” Taylor says. “The very reason poaching happens is because of the ‘six degrees of separation,’ or maybe just one! All the more reason that all your professional dealings should be those you’ll never regret. Your references are just one example, but word spreads fast in a given industry, specialty area and city.”
Vivian Giang contributed to a previous version of this post.
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