Government contractors have become fertile ground for federal agencies looking to hire experienced information technology professionals. To some, such recruiting is simply a way of finding badly needed talent; to others, it’s government poaching and needs to be controlled.
“It’s becoming a common practice because nobody can sue the government,” said an industry expert who asked not to be identified. “It’s happening especially in IT.”
“In the 20 years that I have been around this business, both in government and industry, I have never heard so much concern about it as I hear today,” said Stan Soloway, president and chief executive of the Professional Services Council and a contributing columnist for Washington Technology.
“It’s not just the recruiting and poaching of employees,” Soloway said. “It’s the targeting of individual employees in what would appear to be violations of the Merit System’s hiring and other procedures.” He said he is bothered by “the often heavy-handed tactics that are being used.”
Soloway said he knows of at least one major military command, which he declined to name, that “has a list of 750 contractor employees that they are one-by-one recruiting specifically.”
That is raising hackles with the people being recruited, “some of whom do not want to go into government,” he said. He cited one case of a federal agency hiring a contract employee by starting him at the high GS-15 pay grade.
"It raises some ethical questions for us where you have a direct business relationship, where you’re actually soliciting employees of your supplier," Soloway said. "In the commercial world it is very common to have no-solicitation clauses" in contracts