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Navigating the World of Stealth Hiring: A Guide to Covert Recruiting Practices

Searching for top talent without tipping off competitors? Trying to quietly fill gaps left behind by underperforming employees? You need stealth hiring.

How do you catch a ball with your hands tied behind your back?

That’s the situation your internal talent team will find themselves in when tasked with discreet/stealth hiring – because it is virtually impossible for them.

As the market has become more challenging this year, our clients’ needs have also evolved. We are being used frequently for under the radar hiring; we now like to be known as stealth recruiters.

Many from our senior leader network are feeling pressure from the top to make team changes within their business whilst minimising the negative effect to revenue or pipeline.

You may be surprised to learn that they’re not alone in this quest. You also may be part of the growing group of companies that are using a different approach to recruitment: stealth hiring.

The process has a few names – discreet hiring, confidential hiring, covert hiring, or hidden hiring. It’s the process of recruiting new employees without publicly advertising the job or vacancy openings or revealing the identity of the employer.

Tense Situations

This year, we’ve faced many high-stakes situations – each requiring different skillsets to resolve and drive progress.

We’ve been tasked with replacing underperforming revenue contributors without sacrificing targets, performance, or morale whilst adhering to localised employment laws – sometimes even the ones leading teams.

Decision makers and investors in stealth mode businesses have reached out to ask, “How do you find and hire the best talent in the market for us without our competitors becoming aware we exist?” The aim is to be quietly, discreet, and effective in ramping up their talent roster, under the competition's radar.

We’ve shifted whole teams who want to stay together moving from one business to another. Sometimes, in a region with no sales team on the ground. Team moves do not happen via adverts or LinkedIn messages; a conversation between a recruiter and businesses is needed to perform a “lift and shift”.

We’ve worked with hiring managers looking to hire for a new role within their organisation, under instruction from leadership, unaware that the role they are sourcing is in fact their own replacement.

Many of these situations are almost impossible for internal talent teams, particularly when they are not net new or growth hires, but mostly replacements for underperformers who are still in seat. How could an internal talent representative not disclose who the end client is?

The politics here run deep - that’s why clients come to us when it’s impossible to resolve the situation without external help.

A Complex Skill Set at Play

In the world of stealth hiring, the focus shifts from the traditional hiring methods – it’s a different beast from posting job ads, browsing job boards, social media, updating websites, and waiting for candidates to apply.

A stealth hiring campaign requires specialised skills and methods to ensure discretion and effective anonymous search to identify and place the right individuals without raising alarm. Critical capabilities include:

Care and sensitivity for keeping the situation entirely confidential: ensuring seamless execution, avoiding conflicts of interest, and overcoming limitations of internal teams (whose hands are tied, effectively) who cannot protect their company’s anonymity. This requires engaging with candidates, sparking their interest, and persuading them of the opportunity.

Relationship building and networks using a staffing partner you can trust for attracting and retaining talent that aligns with company values and culture. An ideal agency leverages their trusted network and legacy candidate relationships established to the degree that the company name doesn’t need to be disclosed, as the trust is already there.

Speed and efficiency for significantly reducing time to hire and revenue impact from underperformers or land and expand growth hires in stealth mode.

Quick reactions and preparedness with a plan are essential in case of any unexpected events and sudden situational changes. To be pre-emptive rather than reactive when replacing gaps in revenue being the goal.

Local knowledge and expertise for respecting regional norms and avoiding ethical, cultural or legal missteps. Being familiar with the local talent landscape, expectations, requirements and cultural norms.

Get your Stealth Hiring in Order for Protection and Growth 

Stealth hiring is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a rather unique set of skills to juggle secrecy, speed, and quality. A strategic hiring partner such as our team at Empiric can orchestrate and flawlessly execute a complex stealth campaign and save you countless hours of time, save you money and avoid negative fallout from protecting your revenues from the effects of a potentially disruptive process.

There are huge opportunities to make money from regional competitive domination and growth. Stealth hiring can give you a competitive edge over your rivals by allowing you to attract and retain top talent without alerting them to your intentions.

We have wide and varied experience and expertise in stealth hiring across different niche technology sectors and know how to handle the delicate process of sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates without compromising your confidentiality or reputation.

If you’re in need of guidance with a future stealth hiring campaign or are a professional looking for your next role, learn more about Empiric's capabilities and explore open positions by visiting our job board.

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