I own a fashion store in Hong Kong. In my experience, I need just 2 other employees if they have (Assistant) Manager experience. 1 year ago, they quit and decided to leave HK. Now only I'm left. I'm desperate for candidates — I'm overworked!

I spent $30,000 USD on job posting sites and recruitment agencies, but nobody with experience as Manager applied. I'm recompensing lavishly — see point 3 beneath. Thus I'm wondering — walk into and poach competitor stores in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long!

Assume I can't see who's Manager, or if they're on duty. Obviously I can't say I'm headhunting!

  1. What reason can I say to speak to (Asst) Manager?

  2. If Manager is not in store, what reason to give when I request their business card?

  3. Now assume Manager is in store and goes up to me. What do I say? Requesting the Manager will make some people gape at me, and make me nervous! Manager was expecting customer — thus it feels too sudden, cheeky, and foxy to say

Sorry to bother you. I wanted to kindly ask if you are interested in working at my store. I offer 15% sales commission + base salary of $120 HKD/hr ($15 USD/hr).


Wait for the current political situation to settle.

In times of economic uncertainty, people tend to focus more on themselves and their long-term future.

You could be throwing money at them to join you, but they don't know you and don't know whether your company will still be around in a month. They'll have left a steady and safe job for short term gain and then be left with nothing.

Until the economy improves, you're probably better off saving your recruitment money and renting some agency staff to manage your store. If they turn out to do a good job, you can consider recruiting them later on.

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Don't, it's unprofessional.

Part of being a professional is acting in a professional fashion, and that means competing with your competitors in an honest and upright fashion. Walking into a competitor's store and trying to steal their employees away from them is very much a dishonest and underhanded thing to do, so don't do it.

If you want to recruit more employees, post more job ads, possibly including a "Help wanted - inquire inside" sign on your store window. If your current job ads aren't working, strongly consider increasing the compensation for the role - you say that your previous two employees left the country due to human rights issues, and I imagine that they're not the only ones. As a result, there are less people available to do work, and the price of labor goes up due to supply and demand.

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  • 1
    Why would it be unprofessional, and why would it matter? Going to a store and offering employees a better job is a good thing for those employees. – gnasher729 Jul 29 '19 at 6:58
  • 3
    I don't see how it's unprofessional or dishonest, just incredibly bold. It would be dishonest if you wanted to bribe their employees to sabotage the competing store. – lucasgcb Jul 29 '19 at 8:15
  • I agreed, please clarify how you believe this to be dishonest. A duty to play nice with your competitors overriding the wellbeing of potential employees has gotten several major companies in hot water in recent memory. – Myles Jul 30 '19 at 14:17
  • "Help wanted - inquire inside" sign on your store window. But this is unprofessional. Luxury retailers don't post signs like this. – P L Jul 31 '19 at 8:07

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