Helbling Discusses A/E/C Recruitment with Sterling Seacrest Partners

by Sami Barry

With our extensive experience in executive search in the sectors of construction, engineering, facilities management, and real estate development, we have frequently been asked to participate in panels at industry conferences and to present our insight to individual organizations. Recently, Managing Director Wes Miller was invited to speak at a “Lunch ‘n Learn” hosted by Sterling Seacrest, an independent insurance brokerage firm that represents diverse industries and focuses on construction, real estate, and healthcare.

Miller’s presentation centered around proactive recruitment in architecture, engineering, and construction (A/E/C), a hot topic among industry professionals, especially those in hiring capacities. Miller discussed the importance of having a progressive recruitment strategy in today’s marketplace to attract and secure the right talent for all levels of roles.

Miller says, “Most of us realize, recruitment is much different, and more difficult, than it was even a decade ago. It must be strategic, and a wide range of tools and resources can and should be utilized.  Once qualified professionals are identified, the real work starts when attracting them and differentiating your organization, its role, and its opportunities from competitors.”   

“What’s great about doing these types of presentations is that they gravitate to being more of an exchange of thoughts than me just presenting my perspective,” says Miller. “I like to learn the strategies that others feel are effective in recruiting new employees.”

Below are some that resonated with us on many levels. Some are essential while others are, simply, good ideas.   

Show employees that you trust them

We can all agree that instilling trust in employees is the foundation for having a happy, and subsequently productive team. Without mutual trust, there can be no true professional relationship.  Furthermore, when you show employees that you trust them, you empower them. As a result, they are loyal and work hard because they know they are valued and respected.

Give employees autonomy

Providing autonomy creates intrinsic motivation, which is what you want in employees at every level. It is intrinsic motivation that makes employees enjoy what they do and take pride in their work. According to research conducted by Cornell University of 320 small firms, the companies that provide autonomy grew four times faster than the others and had only one-third of the turnover.     

Provide above-average compensation

Yes, you read that right. Several participants expressed that they stay in tune with salary data so they remain competitive with compensation. While money certain isn’t the only way to promote job satisfaction, it can certainly support an employee’s happiness. 

Conduct stay interviews

Most of us have heard of the concept of stay interviews - two-way conversations between a manager and an employee, which provides the latter an opportunity to share essential feedback about their role, responsibilities, concerns, and satisfaction. These interviews can mitigate employee turnover and dissatisfaction provided that the organization be committed to making appropriate changes. There’s no doubt that stay interviews build trust, and enhance employee satisfaction and engagement. 

Implement a residual payout employee referral program

Employee referral programs can be quite effective and advantageous. They can support an organization in hiring passive candidates who are likely to be strong cultural fits considering these individuals already know about an organization’s internal culture and work environment. 

Programs that have residual payouts can be even more beneficial because they protect employers. While there are various ways companies can make residual payouts, a common “schedule” is when the individual begins employment, at their 6-month tenure, and then upon reaching their one-year anniversary.     


Miller appreciated the strong participation from Sterling Seacrest’s customers and certainly respected their thoughts. He says, “Sharing perspectives in a small setting of professionals who are all dealing with similar issues is always stimulating and insightful. I appreciated the opportunity to play a part in Sterling Seacrest’s Lunch ‘n Learn program. These short lunchtime events are definitely a valuable benefit for their clients.”   


Sterling Seacrest Partners, Inc. is the largest privately held, independent insurance brokerage in Georgia. Based in Atlanta, Sterling Seacrest represents organizations across a variety of industries, and focuses on: construction, real estate, and healthcare, as well as other sectors.