Since my last column we've just "done" two of the biggest trade shows that our sector has to offer (Glee and Four Oaks of course).
That's five days of networking and client meetings. Over the years, I've done dozens of these and it's always intrigued me just exactly how people measure value at these events.
In the past it would be all about orders, but today the internet takes care of all that. Now it's more about seeing new products or just a convenient place to meet existing contacts. All good stuff but I wonder how many people see events like these as a good place to spot new talent - potential recruits of the future?
I do - it's what I do for a living, but it's always surprised me how many companies are solely reactive when it comes to their recruitment practices. They simply don't have what I'd describe as a recruitment culture. What I mean by this is: "Do they consider recruitment as a part of their strategic approach to the business and the environment they operate in?"
Is it an integral part of their marketing plan? Are employees encouraged to look out for and identify new talent? And it's not just the people at the top responsible for the "hiring and firing" we're talking about but anyone who meets someone that impresses them. The best businesses see the sourcing of new talent as a continuous process, not a stop-start one.
It's been a difficult economic climate over the past couple of years and many businesses have been rightly focused on the day-to-day stuff, but you still always need to keep one eye on the future.
Over the years, we've developed some excellent relationships with businesses that have asked to be kept aware of "good people"; it's no surprise that these companies are now at the forefront of the sectors they operate in. Even if they can't create an opening for someone, they want to know who's out there. It's a good way of checking out the marketplace and can be an excellent method of promoting a company's image.
You can use the jargon and call it "talent mapping" or building a "talent bank" if you like, but it's fundamentally good old-fashioned contact management. It's something that should come naturally to your sales and commercial teams but it is a skill that can be learnt and those businesses that learn it are the ones that develop a real "recruitment culture".
Guy Moreton is director of MorePeople.