How do companies know which Executive Search Firm is best for them?

In today’s world, it is a candidate driven market.  Candidates are getting called repeatedly by recruiters and quite a large amount of them end up with multiple offers to choose from in the end.  As a company searching for talent, the decision to hire a firm to help can be a daunting one.

The Solo Recruiter.  In a robust market, like the current one, recruiting is good business.  People who have little to no experience see an opportunity to cash in, hang out a shingle, and often offer slashed rates to compete with the established firms.  While saving money on an executive search may seem attractive to your HR team, the old adage “you get what you pay for” typically rings true here.  The cost of a bad hire far exceeds the difference in bargain basement search fees and the

The Big Guys.   There are some very large executive search companies that service multiple industries.  Their business model is usually more segmented, with one person courting client business, and once the contract is signed, the client is handed off to an account manager.  A search team is made up of other individuals, usually with a researcher, someone to recruit candidates, and someone who ultimately presents resumes to the client.  This assembly line approach might not be the best way for all companies to fill critical roles as it can be perceived as impersonal and disconnected to the candidates.

The Niched Firms.  Then you have your niche, boutique firms that focus specifically on specific industries, such as our own firm, Joseph Chris Partners.  Our niche is real estate development and construction.  There are multiple benefits to working with a firm that specializes in the field in which you work.  In most cases, niched firms have been in their chosen business for a considerable amount of time.  In our firm’s case, we have over 41 years of speaking the same language as our clients, developing relationships with professionals over the expanses of their careers, keeping current on industry news, attending conferences, and really understanding what our industry is about.  Our teams our small, and clients always get a personalized approach to their search.   For more clients needing a professional with industry-specific experience, it makes sense to work with an Executive Search Firm that already has the relationships with the people they are wanting to hire, one that “speaks their language” and knows who’s who in their industry sector already.

Am I promoting my own firm?  Sure I am! But clients and candidates I’ve worked with over my 16 years in the industry will attest that their partnership with my company and with me has been a very successful one.

Claire Spence

Executive Partner

PCBC Ponderings

What an awesome week attending the PCBC conference! As I mull over the happenings, the main point of my discussions had a resounding theme – the talent shortage plaguing our industry. This is clearly not an earth shattering statement by any means but every now and then there is solace in knowing it’s not just you! While there is much to do to relieve the labor pressures, I am a huge believer in the innovative and passionate leaders who will continue to positively impact the builder world. There were 40 of these leader types honored during the Professional Builder Under 40 Executive Summit. Among the brilliant list of professionals, I am particularly extra proud of Aaron Roan of Inspired Homes and Kevin Oakley with Do You Convert. While Aaron and Kevin differ greatly in background and skill set expertise, each possess a compelling similarity – passion for the industry and a true interest in creating positive change in their personal and professional worlds.


I cannot imagine the first ever group of PCBC speakers, exhibitors and attendees could have fathomed how far along we are within today’s technology world. So much has evolved just within the last 10 years let alone 50+ years’ time lapse. Prior to the 2008 downturn there were no iPads, Siri, Uber or Airbnb and say it isn’t so – the selfie-stick! Tech-focused sales and marketing initiatives and strategies are an enormous factor in today’s business with company culture and branding (internal and external) having a significant impact on the bottom line. Much to absorb but thankfully the industry possesses many amazing gurus specializing within this emerging and ever-changing world to offer insight and ideas.

As the conference wrapped up and I headed back home I found myself feeling very thankful for the relationships formed over nearly 18 years and excited about those yet to come. You just cannot find better people than those in our industry!


June Employee of the Month

Congratulations to SVP of Finance and Administration, Diana Scott, JCP’s June Employee of the Month!

June Producer of the Month

Congratulations to Executive/Equity Partner Erica Lockwood, JCP’s June Producer of the Month!

Reflections on 20 Years of Recruiting in Homebuilding

Yesterday marked my 20-year anniversary of recruiting in the Homebuilding industry for Joseph Chris Partners.  I always say I was taught by the best, my father, Joe Chris Ramirez.

The recruiting industry has given me so much joy these last two decades for the following reasons:

  1. Learning from the future leaders, legends and consultants of our industry with every conversation that I have. The more calls I make the more that I learn, grow and can contribute to others.
  2. Gaining the trust of professionals looking for advice and placement for their career path as well as those looking to hire the best talent for their company. To me, there is no greater responsibility, and I do not take that trust lightly.
  3. Providing support to, and helping to influence the direction of, the fastest growing builders/developers in the country as well as having an impact on local builders where each hire is of immense importance. I love working with each type of client, large or small.  I appreciate that I can choose companies I respect to partner with. Those in the industry trust that I will be introducing them to good companies and companies trust me to bring them good people.
  4. Being a person of influence within my own company and watching the team at Joseph Chris Partners grow professionally and personally. Their success and “the how” they get there means so much to me.  We have amazing recruiters and an outstanding administration team.  I am grateful and fortunate.
  5. Being able to carry my father’s legacy forward. There is no greater pride and honor that I could have.  My mother and father came from humble means and their work ethic, will power and focus on customer service was instilled within me.   I am extremely grateful that they taught me to appreciate the grind and the discipline… the journey for success and focus on “the how” to get there.

Advice that I would give other recruiters to have a lengthy career of trust, value and success:

  1. Have the right intentions!  Lead with your heart, knowledge and experience.  Leave “closing the deal” as important but not in the forefront.   My philosophy is “focus on activity and doing the right thing with ease and grace and money will come from the sky.”
  2. Know your clients and potential employees for those clients well. Spend time with them, know what is their truth is.  Focus on the right fit for both.  Tenure in your placements is extremely important.
  3. Be honest. Tell your clients and potential employees to those clients the truth about what they would be receiving and walking in to.  During the interviewing process share the areas that they need to dive deeper into and the areas of greatness.  The more honest you are the better the fit and tenure of the hire.
  4. Have a sense of urgency. When clients call you, they are already feeling the pain.  When we take on a search, we are making a commitment to our client that their need is in our daily plan.
  5. Study your industry. As stated above, the more you know about your niche the more that you can support your clients and separate yourself from other recruiters in the industry.

I can’t believe 20 years has flown by so fast.  While we’ve certainly seen innovation in our industry over that time, nothing can replace our ability to really connect with our candidates and our clients, and I’m proud of our traditions here at Joseph Chris Partners that make us one of our industry’s greats.  I’ve worked very hard to get where I am, and I feel blessed every day that I found this path.  Joseph Chris Partners is my life’s work, my passion.  It really is true that when you work hard for something you don’t care about it’s just stress, but when you love what you do, you never really work a day in your life!

MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH: The importance of Veterans’ Hiring Initiatives

I grew up in the military. My dad served for 23 years, and we moved around every 3 years throughout my childhood. It was a really good life, filled with amazing people and places, and I credit my outgoing nature to that life. We’d move to a new post, and I’d go knocking on our new neighbors’ doors, asking if any kids lived there, and if they did (they almost always did), I’d ask them to be my friend.
The hardest thing about my childhood was saying goodbye to good friends when it was time for them, or for us, to move.

That’s nothing compared to the difficulties military service members and their families face today. We’ve been involved in armed conflict on multiple fronts continuously for almost 20 years. Families face multiple deployments in the modern military, and many returning service members struggle to assimilate back into civilian life.

We’ve all read the statistics about veteran suicide rates, and divorce rates among military families are higher than the already high national average. It’s a difficult life, but most military families wouldn’t change a thing about it because it’s their duty to serve, despite the personal sacrifices required to do so.
With very few exceptions, most individuals in this country support our military, even if they don’t agree with the conflicts they find themselves in, which is a welcome change from the sentiment the country expressed towards Vietnam veterans, like my dad, upon their return home. But we can all do more. We can do more individually; there are so many ways to help, and a quick Google search will point you in the right direction there.

But we, as business people, need to impress upon the leaders of our companies how important it is to support our military families with veterans/military hiring initiatives. Many returning service members and their spouses struggle to find work despite amassing incredible skills while serving our country. Most hiring managers, however, aren’t focused on what these individuals can bring to their organization and, instead, focus on the words on the resume that don’t appear—at first glance—to fit. Veterans positively impact a company’s culture, are natural problem-solvers, and set the standard for teamwork and work ethic.

Particularly relevant in our industry, where there is a marked shortage of talent, and construction shows no signs of slowing down, so that shortage will continue to grow unless we look for other sources of talent. Several large companies in our industry have recognized this and have implemented focused veterans’ hiring initiatives and are reaping the benefits of those efforts now.

Related Companies Senior Vice President Frank J. Monterisi, Jr., a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Marine Corps Veteran, leads his company’s veterans hiring initiative. He recognizes that veterans:

are very valuable to our company and the overall construction industry. The men and women who come out of serving our country have dedication, a strong work ethic and are exceptional problem solvers—which are great attributes to have when working on construction projects. Construction projects are all about teams and working together. Veterans have great teamwork and can manage through demanding environments with efficient real-time, problem-solving skills. We are happy to bring them on and will continue to keep this hiring initiative as a key priority for our organization.

“The Benefits of Hiring Veterans,” US Veterans Magazine.

Jim Crigler, Vietnam Veteran, Partner of HC2 Capital, and author of “Mission of Honor,” an account of his trip canoeing the entire length of the Mississippi river to raise awareness about Gold Star Families, is a huge proponent of veteran hiring. “If you want leadership under stress, hire a veteran,” Jim said.

Only about 7.3 percent of Americans have served in our military. These are the men and women who keep the rest us safe and allow us to enjoy the freedoms that make our country great. The debt we owe them can never be fully repaid, and we need to honor and support them every day, not just on a few patriotic days of the year. They’ve done their part; it’s time for us to do ours.

For more information about setting up your own veterans hiring initiative, check out: