June 19, 2017 – TalentRISE, a Chicago-based executive search firm, has developed a new approach to talent acquisition that seems to be catching on with clients. The firm’s CEO, Rick Gray, acknowledged several years ago that an ever-increasing percentage of the workforce is choosing or has made the choice to work as independent contractors. Mimicking that trend, TalentRISE itself now enlists a network of contract recruiters who work on projects and serve clients but are not fulltime employees.
Mr. Gray brings an unusual background to the tasks he faces as chief executive. He has an extensive background in human resources and previously managed the operations of Gray Talent Group, a family-run talent agency representing professional actors.
“Our focus is on fulltime hires, but we utilize a network of contract recruiters who perform the work and the expertise we need for our clients up and down the operation,” said Mr. Gray, who places the number of contract employees at TalentRISE between 60 and 70. “You have a trend in the market that says a growing percentage of talented workers don’t want to work fulltime but have valuable skills to be leveraged in different situations.”
A growing number of search firms have expanded their traditional model in the last 10 years to include contract recruiters. Mr. Gray emphasized that TalentRISE does not depend solely on contract workers. “We are not a contract company that hires part-time people,” he said. “We put together a model that we apply to that company’s situation. We give them the right expertise at the right time at the right cost. We’re going to continue to see that trend.”
Mr. Gray said parallels can be drawn between placing executive talent and representing professional actors. In his previous role at Gray Talent Group, he also handled operations management and infrastructure, human resources and professional development, marketing support and long-range planning.
“With actors, you’re always trying to find the right fit for the client, Casting directors are looking for a certain actor with a certain look for a certain character they play,” said Mr. Gray. “In a not dissimilar way, you’re always trying to find the best match between the talent and the clients’ need.”
Mr. Gray reunited with TalentRISE partner Jim O’Malley in 2015. The two previously worked together at Lante, a web development and consulting firm. Mr. O’Malley asked his former co-worker to come aboard. For Mr. Gray, the new fit was a perfect platform to display his skills for a company that helps clients address their recruiting challenges by optimizing internal corporate recruiting capabilities and delivering customized on-demand or retained executive searches.
TalentRISE’s On-Demand recruitment service essentially frees clients from key constraints that can restrict their ability to produce strong ROI from an internal team while business needs constantly fluctuate. It’s a straight time and materials model that can be applied on either a short- or longer-term project basis.
“To me, this charge is a three-pronged leadership accountability,” said Mr. Gray, who is responsible for carrying out TalentRISE’s business plan and implementation of its long-term growth strategy. “The first is developing and evolving a distinct, relevant and achievable business strategy. The second is successfully executing on that go-to-market approach. It entails the right mix of people and back-office/front-office processes consistent with your brand strategy. Third, which generally emanates from the other two, is building and maximizing shareholder value.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media