Even under the best of circumstances, hiring isn’t easy. You generally have to dedicate a substantial amount of time and resources just to gather a few strong candidates. Then you must execute an exhaustive interviewing process that leads to the right hire — you hope.

To further complicate matters, many of today’s industries face a shortage of skilled workers. The construction and manufacturing sectors have been the hardest hit, but a variety of other types of employers are struggling to find good employees. In light of these notable challenges, consider a source that many employers either overlook or shy away from: competitors.

Enjoy many benefits

When striving to score victories in this ongoing battle for talent, knowing where to look can be just as important as knowing whom to look for. You’re likely familiar with typical approaches such as classified ads, online job boards and professional recruiters.

Although these all have value, hiring experienced employees away from competitors can cut the time and money you must invest in training and may bring new insights into your operations.

Exercise prudence

Now, we’re not suggesting you head down to your chief rival’s office and start striking up conversations in the parking lot. But trade shows, conferences and professional development programs are often good neutral places to seek out experienced workers who may be looking for a new team.

Naturally, it’s important to steer clear of legal entanglements, so consult your attorney before undertaking any such effort. For instance, you’ll need to make sure any potential hire isn’t restricted by a noncompete agreement.

Make your case

One could make a pretty strong case that hiring good employees is an employer’s most critical task. After all, no matter how sound your business plan or how brilliant your strategic planning, without the right people on staff, your organization isn’t likely to get very far.