Talent scout

Put the fit to the test

While Belcher is constantly turning casual conversations into mental recruiting lists, he knows that just because the cashier at lunch seemed smart, that doesn’t make her an automatic fit for InnerWorkings. One of the important things to look at is the person’s career aspirations.

“We’re looking for people that, like our company overall, are looking to grow at a fairly rapid clip,” he says.

Again, if you begin to make a list of people you think might fit in down the road, you can start to analyze them through your company lens. By watching their career path, you can glean more about their objectives and, at the same time, they can take more from you in occasional conversations.

“We get to know the individual in more detail and their goals and objectives and their track record,” Belcher says. “Secondly, though, the individual that we’re speaking with gets to know us. In many cases, we’ve hired people that we have a working relationship with as either a supplier or a customer for quite some time, and so the individuals that come to our organization having known us or worked with us a while have a very good sense for our culture. And our culture, by the way, is a culture that fosters hyper growth, and that’s not for everybody. … We need individuals who have an entrepreneurial streak within their background.”

So Belcher digs for that entrepreneurial spirit. He says you don’t need an actual entrepreneur, but you need someone who has shown independence and moxie.

“Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve worked at a start-up, but that means that they have a fire in their belly and they want to make a difference and they want to make a mark,” he says.

So you have to look for people that have rallied around a cause or who have taken on big, risky projects on their own.

“We’ve developed a culture where there is a group of people rallying around the cause, pioneering this new way to buy and sell printed materials, and there is an energy and an enthusiasm, which I don’t think you find in companies that may be growing 5 to 10 percent a year,” he says. “There’s an excitement that ultimately captivates certain people that we’re recruiting.”