Tag: real estate

New Skills for a New Year

New Skills for a New Year

The past year was a strong one for real estate, and that momentum seems likely to carry into 2015 and beyond. With business on the upswing, this is the time to bring your career strategy to life. An expanding business often provides avenues to gain new experience or advance into more challenging roles as competition builds for talent. At the same time, it’s important not to overlook the importance of education in making the most of career opportunities that emerge in the new year.

Always Ask

Even in favorable business conditions, it’s easy for employee development to go overlooked by executives managing more immediate concerns. Don’t assume someone else will find time to advance your professional priorities, even if it’s part of his or her job. At the same time, you also shouldn’t assume your superiors aren’t interested in building your knowledge just because they haven’t dropped an educational opportunity on your desk recently. Keep an eye out for classes, conferences and seminars relevant to your job and the position you want to earn down the line. As budgets improve, it becomes easier to ask for the time and money required to pursue additional education. Doing so shows initiative and can also offer a gentle reminder of where you’d like your career to move in the future.


Spend much time on airplanes? Commute by rail? Have a few spare hours in your week to commit to personal and professional improvement? It’s never been easier to access a staggering array of classes online. Massive open online courses have made many classrooms at the nation’s top universities available to anyone who wants to log in. While programming and other technology courses tend to draw the most attention, there’s also a surprising range of free courses in management, finance and other fields relevant to a career in real estate.

Want to know more about the basics of corporate finance, marketing or even architectural photography to fill a soft spot on your resume? You might just find an appropriate video course at a modest cost on Lynda.com. Or, for more advanced learning, consider the career potential of online coursework or credentials from a relevant professional organization. A membership with the Project Management Institute, for example, costs less than $200 yearly and offers access to networking opportunities and educational resources that include dozens of webinars that can be used to help earn certifications.

Be the Person Who Knows the Software

Occasionally, picking from among well-qualified candidates comes down to which one can start the job familiar with that company’s systems. Likewise, team members who can troubleshoot a critical program or train others to use it can quickly become indispensable. While I’ve met few professionals in sales eager to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring their customer relationship management software, showing an interest in it can be an easy way to set yourself apart. If an employer isn’t footing the bill, remote training can be pricey for software like JD Edwards, Yardi or RealPage. But it’s worth considering whether the long-term earnings potential makes it worthwhile if knowledge of a specific system can make jobs available that were previously out of reach.

In the end, outlining educational priorities comes back to setting professional goals and putting in place concrete steps to make them happen. I’m optimistic that 2015 will see a continued recovery that buoys all of us in real estate. The professionals who benefit the most, though, will still be those willing to build their knowledge to match their ambition.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped match the talents of executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

New Blood, New Potential: Welcoming the Next Generation of Real Estate Leaders

New Blood, New Potential: Welcoming the Next Generation of Real Estate Leaders

Members of the Millennial Generation, usually defined as those born between 1976 and 2001, now make up more than a third of the U.S. workforce, and the oldest are beginning to join the ranks of their companies’ executives. As the recovery in real estate continues, the search for executives in construction, development and CRE will increasingly rely on talent from this group. This makes it more important than ever to understand the challenges and mindset of the people who will be tomorrow’s leaders.

A Tough Start

It’s helpful to understand the broader context surrounding millennials’ careers, and for many it’s been pretty grim. In 2010, when unemployment was at its worst, only 54 percent of adults between 18 and 34 were employed. That’s the lowest percentage since 1948 when the U.S. government began collecting the data. What’s more, a Pew study found that nearly half those going to work each day did so in jobs outside their chosen careers just to pay the bills. As such, another survey in 2011 cited by Jessica Brack at the Kenan-Flagler Business School suggested that 70 percent of millennial workers planned to change jobs once the economy improved. Whether that sentiment from three years ago will actually translate into action as the economy gains strength today is anyone’s guess. But it reinforces the need to attract, retain and mentor potential leaders now, as the brutal business conditions that characterized the early years of millennials’ careers have left most with few qualms about leaving a company that doesn’t fulfill their needs.

Small Differences

When professionals talk about catering to millennial employees, much is made about their differing cultural norms, their use of technology and what’s often seen as a lack of humility compared to their older colleagues. These generational differences are real and can potentially create conflicts in the workplace, but research indicates that the most important career traits of millennials go much deeper than wanting to bring their own smartphones to the office. For starters, money is not the only yardstick. Additional research cited by Brack found that 30 percent of millennials valued meaningful work, while only 12 percent of managers felt the same way. Likewise, only 28 percent of millennials said high pay was important, versus half of managers. Many younger workers don’t just want to be rewarded. They want to be engaged and to have the chance to meet new challenges. Part of that often comes from a more prevalent desire for collaboration, rather than solitary work, than might be the case with other generations. Additionally, millennials seem to desire more coaching and feedback than their older co-workers. A survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers found that 51 percent of millennial employees valued frequent, in-the-moment feedback. Rather than a chore, savvy managers can use this feedback to challenge younger employees, encourage hard work and groom exceptional people for leadership. Their generation, after all, does not lack for ambition: 51 percent of millennial women surveyed by PwC and 61 percent of men believe they will be able to rise to the top of their organization.

The Basics Still Matter

When recruiting younger leaders, it’s also important to keep in mind that the most critical aspects of employees’ relationship with the company change little from one generation to the next. As other human resources professionals have pointed out, employees of all ages tend to desire a reasonable balance with obligations at home and a sense of job security. Additionally, millennial employees say they want a degree of respect, transparency and development potential in the workplace – things that tend to be valued by ambitious people across the workforce. As in the past, tomorrow’s leading real estate firms will be those that maintain an open mind and a dedication to professional development for their younger managers today.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped match the talents of executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Seasoned Development Director Needed to Oversee New Luxury Tower in Fla.

Seasoned Development Director Needed to Oversee New Luxury Tower in Fla.

The respected investors behind an Palm Beach condoexceptional West Palm Beach high rise have decided to continue their search for a senior director of project management. In their efforts to find the perfect candidate, they’ve reopened this opportunity to oversee a project as exclusive as the privately held company building it. This firm’s $8 billion portfolio includes several iconic skyscrapers that have contributed to more than five decades of consistent growth. Throughout that time, the organization has proven itself committed to sustainable investment, creativity and career development, as evidenced by the long tenure of its senior leadership. The organization’s latest project will rise from a rare piece of underdeveloped waterfront in the most desirable part of the city. It will be shaped by an internationally renowned team of architects and overseen by the new project director who will enjoy significant autonomy and rewards for his or her leadership.

The scope of the position takes in oversight of architectural design, budget administration, cost control, contracting and sales. To that end, he or she will take responsibility for the building’s marketing and sales program, including closings, while supervising the vendor supporting these activities. The sales office, model units and start-up efforts will take place under his or her leadership. This professional will also represent the owner in negotiating changes to sales agreements while managing contracts, proformas and forecasts to meet company objectives. He or she will help hire and supervise the project’s development manager and will also maintain strong relationships with external service providers.

Palm Beach condo projectTo accomplish this, the position calls for someone with recent luxury high-rise condo development experience and a minimum of ten years in the industry. This should include familiarity with all facets of high-end condo development, from contracting, to design, to sales and marketing. The position also requires someone who can communicate as easily with sophisticated buyers as with trade professionals and contractors.

Christopher Frederick Search Consultants, a trusted national executive search firm, has been retained to find the right person to lead this outstanding project. If you feel your ambition, multi-family development expertise and integrity would be assets to this leading company, contact firm principal Chris Hingle at (713) 961-5582, email him at chingle@chrisfred.com or visit www.chrisfred.com.

Same Craft, Different Tools – How thinking digital transformed my business

Same Craft, Different Tools – How thinking digital transformed my business

When I began building a digital network of real estate professionals five years ago, I had no idea just how thoroughly it would transform my recruiting practice. That network is on track to reach 300,000 members at the end of 2014, and it’s allowed me to find and match some of the best people in the business with leading companies worthy of their talent. Along the way, I’ve taken note of a few themes in online recruitment that might prove useful to job seekers and hiring managers alike:

Reaching Far but Looking Close

There’s an old New Yorker cartoon with a picture of a golden retriever using a computer. It’s captioned, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” On many online forums for job candidates, no one really knows if you’re a vice president or what that actually means. I frequently encounter professional profiles that list work experience aligning with the professional qualifications I’m searching for. Yet on closer inspection, the descriptions of job titles are too vague to offer any clues into the critical competencies and knowledge demanded by a given position. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Be specific. Give examples. “Vice president” tells me a lot less than “vice president of sales and marketing for the Northeast region.” A closer look should reveal how many people you’ve managed, for how long, and the highlights of what that team achieved under your leadership. Even if 500 hiring managers view your profile, they won’t get in touch if they don’t find the information they need to make an informed hiring decision.

First Impressions Count

And this day and age, it’s impossible to know where that first impression might occur. It could be in person, on LinkedIn or even via the photos from a conference your company posted to its blog. At the very least, dress for the job you want in the picture you use for social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. Likewise, be sure to proofread every public profile accessible to potential employers, and refrain from packing your email signature with dated logos and unnecessary text. Life isn’t a press conference, and no one expects job candidates to look 100 percent professional in every picture floating around on the Internet. But on career-specific websites, it’s important to devote as much attention to thoughtfulness and professionalism as you would meeting someone for the first time.

Success Story

Of course, none of this is to give the impression that digital tools haven’t revolutionized the process of connecting people to the companies where they can best reach their potential. Technology’s positive effects for job seekers are well-documented, but it’s also had tremendous benefits for the companies doing the hiring. At Christopher Frederick, I’ve been able to add seven people to my team in recent years as a direct result of my approach that combines one-on-one recruiting with the resources of our exclusive digital network. We’re often able to find qualified candidates in a matter of days, where a similar search would have taken weeks under our old approach. Most importantly, we’ve emerged from the recession filling more executive positions and satisfying more clients every year. Our experience proves that time invested in digital networking doesn’t just pay off for job seekers, it is also critical for companies competing for talent in today’s job market.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped match the skills of high-value executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Ambition’s Back: A Rebounding Market Calls for Career Confidence

Ambition’s Back: A Rebounding Market Calls for Career Confidence

It’s taken seven long years, but the shadow of the financial crisis has finally receded from American real estate. Residential property values have seen sustained increases across major markets. Commercial activity has picked up, and in many cities builders are scrambling to meet a significant under-supply of multifamily housing. For professionals in the industry, guarded optimism has given way to justified confidence about the future of their careers.

Good News for Builders

Recent job statistics from the Associated General Contractors of America back up the trend. April saw the construction workforce expand in 220 markets compared to the same month the year before. Employment remained stable in another 49 markets and declined in 70, partly because of reduced spending on government projects and the impact from Hurricane Sandy. Job gains ranged between 10 percent and 11 percent in the greater Los Angeles area and came in at 9 percent in Atlanta and Dallas. A handful of smaller markets experienced a small gold rush, with the construction workforce increasing by 42 percent in El Centro, Calif., 35 percent in the Steubenville, Ohio, region and 27 percent in both Pascagoula, Miss., and Springfield, Ill. These numbers don’t just represent tradesmen. In my recruiting practice, I continue to see consistent demand for construction professionals in purchasing, acquisition and development, regional/divisional leadership, investment management and other areas.

Make it yours

Confidence is empowering. It helps people work harder, take risks and broaden what they consider possible. An optimistic future for real estate should inspire those who work within it to seize the potential for advancement and professional growth that might have been delayed during the recession. Now is the time to redefine your goals for the next five years. How can you assert yourself in your current position to make them happen? Who in your professional network can help you? Is the organization you belong to the best place to grow? A rejuvenated market affords us the chance to explore these questions to an extent that wasn’t possible in the fairly recent past. As you do, remember: Mindset matters. I’ve found that success isn’t necessarily a product of one-off opportunities, but rather the result of decisions we make based on the circumstances at hand. In real estate, at least, today’s circumstances are as promising as they’ve been in a long time.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped executives and the companies they lead seize opportunities in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

More than Another Sheet of Paper – Your resume deserves a fresh approach

More than Another Sheet of Paper – Your resume deserves a fresh approach

Today’s executives seeking new talent can reach thousands of potential candidates online, run background checks in seconds and track down former colleagues anywhere in the world on social networks. Hiring has changed, and it’s time for the humble resume to catch up.

Whether you’re looking to stand out early in the hiring process for an advertised opening or are proactively networking for your next job, here are a few ideas to document your work history more effectively.

Set yourself apart

Perhaps you’ve seen the viral resume created by a Northwestern University junior who applied to ad agencies with customized kits of Legos challenging them to “build the perfect account service intern.” Even for professionals in a more subdued field like real estate, this provides a good example of how fresh thinking can give applicants an edge. When quantifying personal talents, responsibilities and accomplishments, bullet points don’t always cut it. But today you don’t have to be a graphic designer to visualize your career in new ways. Sites like visualize.me, resumup.com and re.vu now let anyone use graphics, charts and other visual formats to chronicle career highlights in ways that can prove more compelling than a simple sheet of paper.

Give real examples

Of course, regardless of the format, what matters most in any part of an application is the evidence it offers that a candidate can do the job at hand. Laszlo Bock, who hires about 100 people each week for Google, recently shared his best piece of advice for writing an effective resume: “Frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.'”

That means being as specific as possible. Don’t just say you successfully managed a portfolio of properties for five years. How many units did that encompass, with how many people under your leadership? What sort of NOI growth did you achieve and how did that compare to your peers? What challenges did you face in that position, and, most importantly, what decisions did you make to overcome them? Take every opportunity you can when describing your work history to highlight concrete results achieved through your leadership and knowledge that managers can use to differentiate your experience from that of other applicants.

Give them what they want

Unlike an interview, the written application process offers the chance to research exactly what the company is looking for in advance. Rather than taking the same approach for every position, tailor your resume to the requirements listed in a given job description. If it mentions presentation skills, highlight the frequency and number of your in-person reports to upper management. If it mentions a specific type of property, emphasize your experience in that niche early in the resume, even if it means moving a more prestigious but less relevant job title down the list. Try to use the same terms and language as the employer to describe your work and why it’s relevant to the position. By thinking independently, focusing on pertinent examples in your work history and always keeping your audience in mind, you can change resume writing from a chore to a useful tool that shows why you are the best person for the job.

Job Happiness: How Smiles Can Get You Miles

Job Happiness: How Smiles Can Get You Miles

It’s no secret that an enthusiastic attitude, a positive outlook and a likeable disposition can bolster a career. Particularly for leadership positions, employers seek not only professionalism but an authentic passion for the job at hand.

What’s harder to divine from the advice of career coaches and business books is where all those positive feelings actually come from. Even people in a line of work they love face the same career risks, periodic setbacks and daily frustrations as everyone else. A positive outlook at work takes more than the right job title, a good salary or even a generally upbeat personality. What I’ve learned from the leaders I’ve placed at some of the country’s top real estate companies is that their success comes, in part, from a perspective that allows them to thrive within whatever environment they find themselves in.

I saw this spirit expressed in an unlikely place the other day. I love music, and when I watched the video for the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, I was struck by the sincerity of its underlying message. The soulful lyrics expound on the artist’s sense of joy despite any of the bad news or challenges around him. Meanwhile, a cast of diverse characters dances to the catchy hook: “Because I’m happy, Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, because I’m happy, Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth …” There are good dancers and terrible dancers. Old faces and young. Business leaders and famous athletes. Mothers and kids. But they all seem to get what he’s talking about. Despite their differences and whatever unique circumstances they face in their lives, they acknowledge and celebrate the things that make them thankful in life.

That’s also the type of outlook that can have a meaningful effect on work satisfaction. Instead of dwelling on the stresses of every day, it helps to be reminded of the satisfactions and rewards that drew you to a position in the first place. Whether that’s the rush of a high-stakes deal or simply the satisfaction of earning a living for your family, allowing yourself to be happy for what you have now and what might lie ahead can help give you the positive outlook employers and coworkers value so much.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped recruit tomorrow’s leaders in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Hot Jobs – Especially in These Fields, Real Estate Pros Are In Demand

Hot Jobs – Especially in These Fields, Real Estate Pros Are In Demand

Things are moving again in real estate. Capital, consumers and employees have flowed back into the market over the last year. Companies are positioning themselves to meet the demand for housing and commercial space pent up over the last five years as the days of scarce financing and weak economic growth finally recede. Likewise, competition has once again heated up for leaders in highly skilled positions.

Hot Jobs

While it’s far from the only sector experiencing growth right now, construction has emerged as one of the most active areas of my recruiting practice in recent months. Professionals with land expertise are particularly in demand right now, with managers in purchasing coming in a close second. In commercial and multi-family real estate, I’ve seen consistent demand for acquisition professionals. Higher up the chain, I’ve also been filling positions for housing construction executives at the division level and regional property managers.

Now’s the Time

There’s wide demand for leadership across real estate specialties as companies rebuild their ranks to make the most of the ongoing recovery. For the professionals who dug in during the lean years, tackling new duties and widening their areas of expertise, 2014 is the year to think proactively about what’s next. Consider how you want to advance in the next five years while preparing yourself mentally to respond to unexpected job opportunities. Look to your former colleagues, peers and superiors. Are they jumping ship? Are they moving up or leveraging the demand for their skills to negotiate better compensation? Competition for talent will continue to ramp up in the foreseeable future, making this a great time to advance from a position if it no longer meets your professional needs.

Build Your Team

For hiring managers, this competition will make it essential to build a good team now, keeping in mind the potential for growth in the next five years. Widen your sphere of contacts, stay attuned to the professional development of longtime employees and keep an eye out for people who can fill positions requiring high-demand skills before those openings emerge.

Often, that process is frustrated by the deluge of off-the-mark applications generated by standard job advertising online. That’s why Christopher Frederick maintains a network of only real estate professionals and screens qualified applicants one-on-one for every position we recruit. We can quickly promote your critical openings by drawing from a database more than 200,000-strong, narrowed by specialty and location. To learn more about how we can save you time, money and work during your next executive search at no upfront cost, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped place leaders with some of the largest companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Stress or Success? Outlook makes all the difference

Stress or Success? Outlook makes all the difference

Consider these two descriptions of real estate professionals in management: One relishes the responsibility of brokering deals with millions of dollars at stake. She untangles each snag in the process like a puzzle waiting to be solved. She’s sacrificed and worked hard for years to earn a position of trust, and she arrives at the office each morning ready to take on the challenges that brings. The other executive, meanwhile, has a tense meeting on the calendar with higher-ups who might disagree with her approach. She’s facing some tough calls that will affect real people she knows personally. Every day she’s aware that the risks involved in her decisions could derail not only a big deal, but the reputation she’s worked toward for years. As she watches the sun go down from her office window, she realizes she’s spent the last eight Saturdays at work.

It’s easy to consider the work experience of the first executive as the definition of success. Likewise, the second person comes off as struggling with a stress-filled position taking its toll. But really, these examples could describe the exact same person. In any career, and particularly in real estate, stress and success are two sides of the same coin.

Perspective counts a great deal in the development of a career and in how it affects your life. Leaders know that anything worth doing comes with a degree of uncertainty, setbacks and struggle. Becoming successful in the long run involves all of these things. The most satisfied professionals, though, use them as a source of motivation. Even when a given situation looks bad, it’s important to consider the circumstances in the broader context of your years-long effort to achieve career goals. It’s tough to remain confident all the time, but consciously managing pressure in the workplace has a significant impact on personal and professional growth.

Everyone does this differently, whether by surrounding themselves with people they trust, escaping into a hobby after hours, or volunteering to help people facing greater challenges. Regardless, successful professionals usually develop a healthy relationship with the demands of a high-stakes job and, above all, refuse to give up, even when the outlook is daunting. Most people in our industry have experienced this first hand in the last five years. As the market collapsed, staying in the game required commitment, faith in the industry, hard work and the right attitude over the long term. In my practice, for example, the challenges of this period led me to branch out into a new approach to executive recruitment as the demand for traditional headhunting dipped. With real estate finally in recovery, we’re now reaping the gains of that positive outlook and perseverance. And I’ve realized that one of the best ways to move forward is crossing the line mentally between feeling pressured at work and feeling successful when diving into the challenges at hand.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped place leaders with some of the largest companies in real estate. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can also find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

New Thinking for the New Year – Upgrade Your Approach to Recruitment

New Thinking for the New Year – Upgrade Your Approach to Recruitment

After a brisk 2013, the new year has found employees in the real estate sector emboldened by improving job prospects. Construction, especially, is expected to be the third biggest job creator among U.S. industry sectors, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently predicting annual job growth of 2.6 percent. In the out years, the BLS in December predicted 50.6 million job openings across the economy between 2012 and 2022. Unemployment remains at 7 percent, but improving conditions mean employers and job seekers alike should position themselves for a new hiring landscape in 2014.

On the Move

Job openings nationwide climbed to nearly 4 million in October, reaching levels not seen since the first months of the recession in 2008. The Labor Department also noted that more workers – 2.39 million that month – left their jobs voluntarily than in any period since October of 2008. That indicates a confidence on the part of employees that they can find more fulfilling or lucrative work. Those hunkered down in positions that offered stability during the recession but no longer meet their professional goals should keep a close eye on the career moves of their peers and managers. Opportunities could emerge in the coming months in the form of lateral openings at different companies and vacancies caused by managers taking the jump to more advanced positions.

Network Now

Even in a rising market for property values and skilled personnel, it’s important to make use of resources that have evolved since the last time real estate companies found themselves in tight competition for talent. LinkedIn, for example, grew its membership 38 percent, year over year, in the third quarter of 2013. With 259 million members globally, it’s become critical to maintain a presence on that network. Even if you’re not actively using social media to find leads, potential employers are.

At Christopher Frederick, we’re also taking the hiring process to a new level. We’ve built the fastest-growing digital network of any traditional recruiting firm, while staying true to the level of personal service we’ve provided our clients for decades. Our proprietary network reaches nearly 200,000 leaders in real estate. Unlike automated online services, though, we use this as a tool to reach the most qualified candidates before a personal, one-to-one approach to screening job finalists, all at no upfront cost to our clients. Call us any time if you’d like to learn more about how this approach can enhance your search for the leaders who make your business excel. Whatever your goals for 2014, keep your head up, look for new opportunities, and develop a strategy now to make the most of a recovering job market.

At Christopher Frederick, we’ve spent more than two decades helping some of the biggest names in real estate hire the talent that keeps them growing. Contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

Motivation or Qualifications? How Passion is Often More Important Than Credentials

Motivation or Qualifications? How Passion is Often More Important Than Credentials

We’ve all worked with “that guy.” The one with the impressive degree. The one with a long list of respected companies in his past. The employee who looks fantastic on paper, yet underperforms the minute that sterling resume gets tucked into the drawer of his new desk. As seasoned recruiters and personnel departments can attest, credentials and motivation don’t always move in unison. Likewise, many job hunters who endured unexpected career shifts during the recession possess valuable knowledge and dedication in spades, but that might not be immediately evident in their job history.

Employers: Focus on commitment

When business was slow, hiring managers could simply skim the most experienced people from a consistent pool of available talent. A brutal job market all but ensured new hires would work hard, if only for fear of being replaced. Thankfully, business has improved. Highly skilled workers – for example, seasoned purchasing and residential land acquisition experts – are again in short supply, and firms must adapt to attract the best talent. That means committing to the employee. Recruitment efforts should demonstrate an eagerness to fill the position with the right person. Companies should be responsive to candidate inquiries whenever possible. They should also communicate their workplace culture and potential advancement opportunities to show they’re committed to hiring good people for the long haul. In the same vein, hiring managers need to look for motivation on the part of candidates to perform the job at hand. Beyond their qualifications, do they seem excited about the specific opportunities of the position? Are they hungry for a step up in their career? Did something draw them to your company over your competitors? Most of all, companies will need to adapt their thinking to the realities of the post-recession labor market. What did applicants do during the downturn to adapt and add value when business was tough across the board? Highly motivated, well-suited candidates may not necessarily have the traditional resume bullet points associated with the position.

Job Candidates: Show, Don’t Tell

It’s meaningless for a candidate to simply list traits like passion, commitment and drive in a cover letter. After all, anyone can say that. Instead, job seekers need to sell the specifics of their skill sets and experience to employers. Examples of past projects turned in before deadline and exceeding goals show passion. Past loyalty and the sacrifice of time and compensation during lean years show commitment. Consistent follow-ups and non-stop networking show drive. Highlight strengths that are as relevant to the day-to-day needs of the employer as possible. One particularly effective way to demonstrate motivation is learning as much as possible about a hiring company. For example, I recently placed a candidate who at first appeared over-qualified for the job. He did his homework, researching everything he could about the company, good and bad. He approached the interview with the attitude that he could make the job opening an even better opportunity for the employer. By sharing his accomplishments and skills gained during the recession, then making a detailed case for how he could improve his new employer’s business, they ended up creating a new opportunity even more attractive than the original job. Both sides demonstrated how motivated they were, and both came out winners.

At Christopher Frederick, we’ve spent more than two decades helping some of the biggest names in real estate hire motivated executives that lead their businesses to growth. To learn more about how we leverage our digital network with our extensive recruitment experience, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

Big Data or Big Mistake? How a Personal Approach to Recruiting Can Beat Out Automated Screening

Big Data or Big Mistake? How a Personal Approach to Recruiting Can Beat Out Automated Screening

When it comes to creating a pool of potential job candidates, some employers think bigger is better. Large companies will often make use of their electronic application systems to gather any and all resumes that come their way on a continual basis. The logic for doing so is sound, as personnel departments can then analyze the resultant data for insight into their hiring programs while building a seemingly endless bank of potential employees. In practice, though, such automation is only useful to a point and can actually hinder the very personal process of building a successful team.

To start with, resume-reading algorithms are not perfect, even when it comes to basic sorting. I once read of a job candidate who found he’d been marked as unqualified by a computer program despite a relevant degree from Stanford. The full name of that school is Leland Stanford Junior University, but the computer didn’t understand that Mr. Stanford shared a name with his father, assuming instead that the applicant had only been to junior college. It might be impossible to review hundreds of applications in a timely fashion without some form of automation. But a better solution is to create a smaller applicant pool by tailoring job solicitations to a specific group of the most qualified people. This approach is also more fair to those searching for jobs. Many have grown wary of online applications after submitting them by the dozens and hearing nothing in return, potentially because employers solicited applications on popular job boards as a way to gauge potential response, rather than to actually fill a position. In an environment where candidates feel they are casting their resumes into a lottery drawing, they are less likely to apply for the most appropriate positions or become motivated to pursue a particular employer. Be upfront about the position, its requirements and your hiring time frame. Serious candidates will see you are reaching out to them in good faith and will take extra steps to show that they have the most to offer.

For example, my executive recruitment firm approaches only candidates with demonstrated leadership in real estate, narrowing our target audience further by geographic area. Our digital network has nearly 200,000 members, but it’s our seasoned recruiting expertise that makes that network effective. While we make use of technology to help reach the best candidates, we then review responses individually, interacting with applicants and conducting the one-on-one work needed to find the right personalities and knowledge to fit our clients’ needs. It’s the second part of that process that computers cannot replace. Don’t make big mistakes when it comes to your big data while hiring. Digital technology provides today’s managers with an array of powerful tools, but using them well requires discretion and the ability to evaluate candidates as people whose potential value is not always obvious on a spreadsheet.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped some of the biggest names in real estate hire the people key to their success. To learn more about how we leverage our digital network with our extensive recruitment experience, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

Step Back to Move Forward – Taking Time to Think Strategically at the Beginning of a Recovery

Step Back to Move Forward – Taking Time to Think Strategically at the Beginning of a Recovery

Have you heard the news? May’s construction spending was up 5.4 percent in the trailing twelve months, driven by the strongest residential numbers in more than four years. Bidding wars on scarce properties have reemerged in once-stagnant markets. The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index has jumped 75 percent in the last two years, and some builders are even having difficulty finding enough qualified tradesman to handle all of their projects.

Yet despite the headlines, caution remains the watchword for real estate companies expanding their professional ranks. The beginning of a recovery comes with as many risks as opportunities. Rebounding interest rates, for example, could dampen housing demand. Many effects of the deep federal budget cuts from sequestration won’t kick in until next year. The eurozone, which collectively represents America’s largest trading partner, reached a record-breaking 12.1 percent unemployment rate in May. To the east, concerns about China’s murky banking system and slowing growth offer another potential shock to U.S. markets, job growth and, ultimately, real estate. At the same time, those who fail to act at all risk missing another long climb for U.S. GDP growth and economic expansion. One thing is certain: The decisions of real estate professionals laying out their career plans now will affect their livelihoods for years to come.

Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

Even though we face unknowns in the economy, a well-thought-out career strategy is valuable no matter what direction the market takes. How long has it been since you considered what position you want to hold in five, ten or 15 years? What doors do you see opening as your skills advance, and what opportunities do you see expiring as you move further into a single specialty? Are there things you know you will regret missing if you don’t act, such as starting a business of your own? The simple act of thinking through questions like this, sharing them with your family and discussing them with your mentors can put you in a position to act with confidence when a new job or business opportunity emerges unexpectedly. Build your professional network accordingly. Once sales pick up, new positions will emerge quickly as firms position themselves to expand. Be ready.

Patience Pays

Optimism about the economy and confidence in your career should help you work harder to reach your goals. Just don’t let anticipation built over a long recession push you into rash decisions. Even if you’re dissatisfied with your current work, take a hard look at all the options available before you make overtures to your contacts about jumping ship. Even if an exciting new opportunity emerges, carefully study the company’s prospects and business plan to ensure the position has a high likelihood of getting you where you want to be. Finally, don’t settle. If a position with a moderately better paycheck comes along – even if it’s been a long time since you’ve had a job offer – go back to your long-term plan and ensure the move is worth the risk of missing a better opportunity next month. Those who plan with patience today will find themselves at the top tomorrow.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has used its deep recruiting experience and digital network to help connect the leading people and companies in real estate. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our unique method of digital recruitment, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

Working the Network – How Targeted, Digital Recruiting is Changing the Way Companies Search for Talent

Working the Network – How Targeted, Digital Recruiting is Changing the Way Companies Search for Talent

Salesmen don’t attend conferences without stacks of business cards. College grads don’t head to job fairs without folders full of resumes. So why do so many employers and job seekers enter the online marketplace for talent without the tools for a proper introduction?

More and more, recruiting takes place in the context of digital networks. These go well beyond online job postings to encompass social networking sites and customized services like the Christopher Frederick digital network for professionals in real estate. Frequently, recruiters will no longer publicly advertise open positions, preferring instead to seek out potential candidates individually based on their online profiles and personal contacts. This makes it increasingly important to stay connected to your profession online, even when not actively seeking work or filling a specific position.

Here are a few ways to make the most of the growing trend toward targeted online recruitment:

For Job Seekers:

Be visible. Don’t let your online accounts languish between job searches, or you may miss opportunities from recruiting companies without even knowing it. Always keep your location information up-to-date, as this is one of the most common parameters that companies use to find talent on social networks. The same goes for your past positions, as hiring managers also narrow searches by years of experience in a given field. On LinkedIn, it’s possible to see the people who view your profile, or at least the industries they come from. Use this information to fine tune the way you present yourself. Specifically, ensuring the presence of key skills and industry terms that recruiters use to search for candidates will help bring the most appropriate people to your page. Finally, make sure you have a presence on all of the online forums and networks frequented by peers in your field. Those in real estate, for example, can receive regular recruitment emails from Christopher Frederick’s digital network or check the firm’s jobs page for executive opportunities in their area.

For Companies:

Today’s recruiters need today’s techniques. In many ways, a hybrid search tool that combines old-fashioned networking with powerful databases is the only effective way to find the absolute best candidates in a broad talent pool. Even in periods between significant hires, managers should cultivate their professional networks and follow potential talent online so that connections are in place when a critical opening needs to be filled. Many avenues for soliciting external candidates have become time-consuming and less effective than they once were, as the ability to share information seamlessly online can result in a high volume of candidates to sort through who may be inappropriate for the job. Instead, it helps to reach out to only the most qualified candidates. That could take place within Google Plus circles, executives’ Twitter accounts or LinkedIn networks. Companies can also take advantage of online services highly tailored to their needs, like Christopher Frederick’s unique email recruitment. It offers the ability to reach leaders in real estate within a given geographic area using an extensive database leveraged by a seasoned executive recruiter who knows how to select the best group of final candidates for your consideration.

Whatever your approach to the growing world of digital networking, do it consistently. The range of opportunities available to you can only grow with the reach and relevancy of your network.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has used its extensive contacts and digital network to connect top real estate talent with some of the industry’s leading companies. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our unique method of digital recruitment, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

Going Up? Career Strategy in a Recovering Housing Market

Going Up? Career Strategy in a Recovering Housing Market

By now you’ve heard the good news: February housing prices nationwide increased 9.3 percent year-over-year – their sharpest jump since May of 2006. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported the inventory of new homes stands near a record low, and some of the largest publicly traded homebuilding companies have watched their stock prices more than double in the previous two years. At long last, the labor market for highly skilled people in real estate appears poised for a comeback. Here are three career tips to make the most of it:

Keep networking: You’ve heard this advice over and over again, but there’s a good reason for it: Most hiring happens through professional and online networks. At Christopher Frederick, for example, we now have nearly 200,000 highly skilled real estate professionals in our digital network who benefit from targeted job announcements when our clients are searching for talent. Likewise, you can expand your range of potential jobs by maintaining your own professional and personal contacts. Just as the career moves of past colleagues, bosses and clients can open unseen opportunities in a tough job market, staying in touch with the same people advancing during a rebound can put your name top-of-mind as companies prepare to compete for talent.

Don’t live in the past: What we’ve emerged from was not a normal downturn. The lion’s share of real estate professionals in most of the country experienced at least one pay cut, a layoff or the shrinking of the operations they oversaw. With more high-level positions now opening up, it’s tempting to focus heavily on accomplishments from the boom years, when the numbers were more impressive and the salaries were higher. Overemphasizing accomplishments from five years ago, though, can be a mistake. Even if the sales figures are smaller in your current job, employers still want to know what you’ve done lately. Emphasize the steps you took in your career to adapt, to look to the future, and to capture market share in a challenging environment. Remember, the people hiring you experienced the same market. They’ve evolved to work within it, and they’ll want to know how you’ve done the same.

Be patient: In construction, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of jobs has increased by more than 300,000 in 22 of the last 24 months. Companies are growing and positions are opening up, but as analysts at the National Association of Homebuilders observed, the hiring numbers are still well below where they would normally be given the sector’s robust expansion. Overtime and worker productivity can only go so far, and eventually hiring will have to accelerate to catch up. Therein lies the challenge for ambitious real estate professionals. You might soon have the chance to leave an unsatisfying position or pursue a larger paycheck somewhere else. But don’t jump ship just for the sake of leaving your current job. It’s important to think strategically and consider the new opening’s potential relative to other jobs that might open up in the next year. Optimism and growth are finally seeping back into the job market. More than ever, it’s time to evaluate career goals and take the steps necessary to achieve them during the market’s recovery.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped connect real estate executives with companies seeking talent for some of the industry’s leading roles. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

Social Beyond Media: Add value to your network by developing relationships

Social Beyond Media: Add value to your network by developing relationships

It’s no secret that most managers would rather hire from their networks than sort through strangers who reply to a want ad. Accordingly, candidates today direct much of their job-hunting effort to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to reconnect with any and all contacts who might pass along a promising lead.

Social media can prove remarkably effective for staying in touch with colleagues. But the ease of connecting online is no excuse to neglect the real-life relationships that often have the greatest consequence in shaping a career.

Face time trumps Facebook:

It takes seconds to ask for or accept a social media invite. Inviting someone to coffee or offering to buy lunch, on the other hand, involves a degree of gumption and effort that shows you are really serious about your professional relationship with that person and your industry. The same goes for approaching someone at a conference, mentoring, introducing yourself in a social setting or volunteering to help with leadership tasks within a professional organization. Face-to-face meetings and the conversations that result create associations outside the parameters of what’s usually discussed on social media, and someone’s real-life presence will always stick in a person’s mind more prominently than an online profile.

Don’t just look up:

Colleagues at or below your level of responsibility can sometimes prove just as valuable as the executives whom everyone in the building wants to know on a first-name basis. People at the department level know that department’s needs. They know who’s coming and who’s leaving and what the budget looks like for next year. Forming relationships with coworkers or potential coworkers through shared interests can create insight into the precise personnel needs of a company at a given moment. Such relationships needn’t be strictly professional, either. Join the company bowling league. Have margaritas after work. Look for coworkers at your kids’ sporting events and activities. Recreation and friendship can often lead to lasting, meaningful professional connections.

Don’t just talk about the job:

As former Silicon Valley recruiter and author Nick Corcodilos advises mid-career job seekers: Keep your focus on the needs of the person you’re meeting with. Offer to sit down with a manager at a company you’re interested in and talk about his or her challenges in areas where you have expertise. Offer advice and critical discussion to help that company run better, and do it outside the context of a formal job interview. If you can prove valuable to an organization before you’re even employed there, you’ll likely find yourself on the short list of candidates when a job opens up later.

Regardless of your current place on the career ladder, the value of a professional network comes not only from the number of people within it, but also from the quality of those relationships.

For more than 25 years, Christopher Frederick has helped executives and companies in real estate build relationships and place the best talent in some of the industry’s leading roles. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

I’ll Be Doing What Now? How a Thorough Job Description Can Make or Break a Candidate Search

I’ll Be Doing What Now? How a Thorough Job Description Can Make or Break a Candidate Search

There are a lot of boilerplate documents lurking in the files of personnel departments – disclosures, government forms, workplace policies – but job descriptions shouldn’t be among them.

Updating the wording of a position description may seem an insignificant step when faced with an important hire, but many companies forget that prospective candidates read it closely for clues about the company’s culture and employee prospects. All too often, hiring managers jump into a high-stakes executive search without a second look at the document that actually outlines the company’s expectations of the successful candidate.

A highly specific job description helps align expectations and attract the most suitable candidates. For example, requiring “excellent communication skills” says very little, in contrast to noting that a given position requires weekly presentations to C-level management, development of employee training programs, workplace conflict resolution and the editing of market analyses. Likewise, a “strong management background” could just as easily describe the effective oversight of three people as it could 300. Exactly how many people will the new hire be expected to oversee? Will he or she have profit and loss responsibility?

Candidates never complain of having too much information about the company and the position they are exploring, just as hiring managers rarely complain of receiving too much background on a candidate. For both parties, a detailed and up-to-date job description can greatly smooth the hiring process. Case in point: Christopher Frederick’s carefully written email campaigns have helped discover candidates who meet the exacting requirements of employers. By carefully outlining job responsibilities and opportunities, Christopher Frederick can attract top talent from its extensive network of real estate professionals in weeks rather than months.

For more than 25 years, firm principle Chris Hingle has helped match clients’ needs to the specific talents of mid- to C-level executives. To learn more about our recruiting expertise and affordable services, contact Chris at chingle@chrisfred.com.

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