Laboratory managers who ban calls from executive search firms make it easier for recruiters to lure top talent, according to Al DiPalo vice president of Searchforce Inc., a Clearwater, Fla.-based executive recruiting firm that specializes in life scientists. "I love companies that tell people if they're talking to a recruiter, they'll lose their jobs on the spot," he exclaims. "All I have to say is, 'Do you really want to work for a company that is so afraid of you looking for a better opportunity that they would do that, no matter how good you are, how many years of experience you have?'"

DiPalo is one of a breed of headhunters who make a living by probing organizations for weak spots that allow them to entice good people away from their employers. The headhunters try to make the scientists feel valuable and wanted. They thrive on mistakes made by managers...

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