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Below is a guest post by Sravish Sridhar, CEO and Founder of Kinvey, a Techstars team from Boston’s Spring 2011 program.

As we continue to build Kinvey, I regularly ask myself if I’m doing things right. As the CEO of an early-stage startup, one of the more important tasks on my plate is to put together the best team possible. The quality, passion and performance of every member in our team sets the standard for how well we will do as a business.

I’ve spoken to numerous mentors of mine about how to recruit and how to attract the best talent. During one such mentor conversation, one of my favorites, Sean Lindsay (on a side note – I just want to hug him every time I see him; which he hates, but tolerates), gave me some great advice on how to successfully find great talent in Boston by using recruiting firms.

When I decided to take Sean’s advice and put it in practice, I found out that some of the recruiters I had reached out to, were trying to source candidates from other startups. Yowzza! I was overcome by a huge ethical question – What is the correct startup poaching etiquette? After all, if someone came after one of my team members, I would, let’s just say, NOT BE VERY HAPPY!

While all this was happening I chanced on a Twitter exchange that Gabriel Weinberg, Founder of DuckDuckGo, had about this very issue. He was (rightfully) ticked off that another startup was trying to poach talent from his company.

I then asked myself, “What is MY startup poaching etiquette? Am I a Richard? Or, am I a Dick?”

After much thought and many conversations with my mentors and other startup CEOs, I wrote down 4 commandments that I swear to stay true to, whilst I try to attract talent to join Kinvey –
Thou shalt NOT poach from a startup whose CEO is your friend!
Thou shalt NOT poach from a startup that has not raised a round of funding!
Thou shalt NOT poach from a startup that has less than 10 people!
Thou shalt NOT poach from a funded startup whose CEO is your friend, until you’ve talked to said CEO and received his/her OK!

See the flowchart here.

It’s your turn. Am I missing anything? Any advice? Weigh in at the original post.

Clare Tischer
Social Media and Content Manager, Techstars