"HR recruiter tells us that RH is a great source to poach from!"
11/09/22 Edition Stephen Says Column

Dear Stephen,

I’m an internal recruiter with one of the major office furniture manufacturers. We have built out a very large internal recruiting department over the last two years. I dare say – I think our department is as good as any contingency recruiter out there! We’ve saved our company hundreds of thousands in recruitment fees because our team selects great retail sources to poach from.

Here’s our secret, although I’m afraid you won’t want to share it with your readers, some of our newer, best, outside salespeople we have, believe it or not, we poached from #RH, formerly known as #RestorationHardware. There are so many combinations of candidates to go after there. In addition to the people in-store, they have their own outside sales team that are all commercial reps calling on designers and hospitality. Meanwhile, the salespeople who help retail customers are all excellent. They’re highly customer service oriented, with strong technology skills, a great attention to detail and specifications, with the image our regional managers look for. They have a skillset that is completely transferrable to outside sales!

Why do they want to leave their uber cool brand? We sell them with not having to work on weekends, and we explain there is professional growth by moving to outside sales. Once we get them, we teach them to develop relationships. They make good money at RH, but we pay competitively. Only every once in a while, have we found candidates to have stock options with RH we cannot compete with. Now we’re trying the same formula but going after #DWR and #Luminaire people, as well. I saw, recently, on LinkedIn, one of the contract DWR people in NYC jumped to #Bernhardt. I dare you to share this way to recruit with your audience since you’re a headhunter. But I felt like it was worth a shout-out. 

Show off in HR


Dear Show off,

You dare me? I’ll double-dog-dare you back. Printed. Done.

I think you’re brilliant and you’re onto something that recruiting companies have long been aware of. Strong retail brands, particularly close to luxury brands, have great inside sales people whose skillsets are completely transferrable to outside sales. This is because they’re not salesclerks just ringing up orders, but consultants working with customers the exact same way a contract sales rep would when making a presentation to any major design firm. The main reason we’re able to poach those same people ourselves is the fact that they don’t want to work on weekends, in the retail positions. Also, candidates see that there is a slight bit of perceived career growth for them to work in outside sales. Personally, I think both careers are excellent. There is nothing wrong with retail and of course The Viscusi Group also recruits extensively in retail for some of the brands you’re naming.

As far as the companies you named, RH is a great resource. So is DWR. Here’s the secret that a lot of internal recruiters overlook. Outside recruiters, be it us or any other recruiter, will proactively cold call those working candidates to interest them in your company. Internal recruiters are more likely to rely on Indeed or LinkedIn ads and receive passive candidates. For instance, we find that the best way to recruit an RH candidate is to physically go into the store and shop the candidates - just like you would one of their giant sofas.

In this case, it’s as simple as taking someone’s business card off their desk. If you’re a major manufacturer and you’re looking to recruit in a particular territory, I can certainly say it is worth the expense of a field trip to send one of your HR recruiters for a day or two into a geography where you may have an opening, and where RH has a store. Kismet!

A smart recruiter can walk out of an RH store with 25 potential candidates, and even if you only hire one good salesperson as a result of your trip, you’ve saved your company a bundle.

As far as the example you gave of a person from DWR in NYC going to Bernhardt Design, they were smart to do that, and the Bernhardt Design sales leader is a former DWR executive. I bet he’s not stopping at just one. Obviously, it’s a great time to recruit from DWR because of the hyped-up MillerKnoll saga that seemingly never ends. (And much ado about nothing in my opinion!)

RH salespeople tend not to answer LinkedIn ads, like I said, they need to be proactively recruited, and it makes sense. So, I’m happy to share your free excellent advice with my readers, many of whom are human resources professionals like yourself. Happy hunting!