I say don’t steal. So I don’t. And you should not either.
That’s ethics. It applies to people. You don’t steal people from other founders who are your friends. If you steal from them then you aren’t friends. All’s fair in love and war? Well screw me and you are outside the circle. Screw another member and the same. There are consequences.
But there are ways to squirm around it I have seen.
People will say “I didn’t recruit this person. They just applied here.”
The high integrity thing if somebody from company X applies to work for you is: call your person at X and say what’s up. Get the referral and reference and permission in one call. Maybe they say lay off. If they say that you lay off and tell the candidate “sorry not a fit”. You don’t say “your boss won’t let me” because then they quit.
So that’s the gold standard. Do it.
And those who don’t do it — question if these are the people you want to work with. I know my answer.