To keep a constant influx of talent, Eric Belcher personally spends between one-third and one-half of his time recruiting for InnerWorkings Inc., a 700-employee provider of managed print and promotional procurement solutions.
That wouldn’t be so surprising if Belcher wasn’t the company’s CEO.
“In almost every conversation I have with somebody who is not employed by InnerWorkings, I’m wondering if there is a recruiting opportunity for our organization,” he says. “So I would say a key trait of a successful leader is someone who is constantly looking to bring in the most talented individuals in the industry.”
Recruiting isn’t just visiting college campuses, sifting through old resumes or making a few phone calls to headhunters when big office jobs open up. Good recruiting begins when you start to see talent in fruit that may not be ripe for the picking. It means putting time in on people who may not be on the active job market.
“Many of the most talented people in the industry are gainfully employed and, in many ways and many cases, quite content with their current prospects at their place of employment,” Belcher says. “So the process of recruiting is not a 45-minute interview reviewing one’s background and resume. It’s keeping an ear to the ground to understand who is making a difference in the industry and then proactively reaching out and getting in touch with that individual.”
Also, when you see someone with talent, find a way to build a better relationship.
“It can be an initial discussion to see if we might be able to reward some work to their organization or to reach out to them as a potential customer and get to know them in a personal way,” he says.
The process clearly isn’t instantaneous, but it will help you build a long list of people you can turn to when new opportunities arise.
“We not only are looking for individuals right now but to develop a bench of people that we know well and draw upon in the years ahead as we look to round out our team,” Belcher says.