An undergrad who's worked with me for just over a year (for course credit or for pay, depending on his preference in any given semester) presented a poster on his work with me at an event hosted by my lab. Afterwards, the student told me that he spoke to Professor B at the poster session, and Professor B suggested a project that he'd like the student to work on with him.
He had a meeting with Professor B to talk about the specifics, after which Professor B emailed me and asked whether I would recommend the student. I indicated in my response that the student is very capable and I would rather not lose him, to which Professor B responded, "He's planning on working with me for course credit next semester."
Was Professor B's behavior in this case OK?
Under what conditions is it OK to hire another lab's student?
By "OK," I mean "not considered inappropriate behavior by the professor."
Hiring another lab's student is of course a continuum:
- On the one hand: Student from Professor A's lab appears in Professor B's office, says "I've heard about your research and would really like to work with you." Professor B says, "Sure, I'd like that a lot."
- On the other hand: Professor B attends event (open house, workshop, etc.) hosted by Professor A, where Professor A's student gives a talk about his ongoing research with Professor A. Professor B chats with the student after the talk, then says "You should work with me next semester."
Is either or both of these considered OK/not OK?
Does the type of student (PhD, MS, undergrad, high school student doing summer research) make a difference to your answer?
Do the terms of the student's position in either lab (earning course credit, getting paid, just getting supervision) make a difference?
Does it matter how long the student has been working with Professor A?
Should Professor B ask how Professor A feels about it before offering Professor A's student a job?
This is not an active, ongoing situation - I am not looking for advice on how to respond to Professor B, or whether I should say something to the student. (The student chose to continue his work with my lab and not to work with Professor B.) I just want to know whether Professor B's behavior was appropriate.