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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

clairespence@josephchris.net

It’s not about placements; it’s about relationships and commitment.

I can’t believe in two months I will have been with Joseph Chris Partners Executive Search for 16 years. Wow, what a ride it has been! 16 of some of the best years of my life, and still going strong.

Thinking back over those 16 years made me decide I might share what made all those years worth it for me, even during the downturn, with all of you. There are so many “recruiters” out there; some call them “Head Hunters”
( I don’t know about you, but I have never “hunted heads” in my life!). But back to my point… in general, those individuals who just throw paper at clients to see what sticks leave the rest of us with a really bad taste in our mouths.

What is it they say? KISS: “Keep it Simple Stupid”. For myself and my ilk, it’s not about making placements. Sure, we all need to eat, but I have never considered myself in sales. Our founder and former CEO used to love to argue that I was most definitely in sales, and when it comes down to it, of course that is true; but I have never in 16 years felt like I was selling anything!

When you choose the right companies to work for, and you know that company inside and out, and you truly believe in them, their culture, and consider yourself an extension of that company, there isn’t anything to sell. All that is needed is honesty and the rest falls into place. I spend face-to-face time with my clients whenever possible. I have crawled through homes under construction and put mud boots on during rainy land development days. I become a part of their team.

Many times, I have foregone placements. When I discover something, or have a feeling that something isn’t right with someone I have already presented, I will tell my clients point blank: “Hey, I know I sent this person to you, and I know you like them, but I am now letting you know that I no longer have faith in them and I am advising you not to hire him or her.” That kind of committed partnership with your clients is why most of the clients I have, I have had for going on decades, and the new ones that I get, I keep.

Same thing on the candidate side. Most of my clients started out as my candidates or came to me through referrals. I treat my clients and candidates as if they were part of my family. I know all about their spouses and children, even their pets, hobbies, and passions. I truly care about putting a company and a candidate together that will be a forever relationship. Who wants to do a replacement search? I guarantee my candidates. Fortunately, I’ve only had three replacement searches in 16 years out of hundreds of placements.

So, always keep it real, and remember to just KISS.

HOME BUILDING’S YEAR IN REVIEW: 2017

What a year it has been for Home Building!  With the market really starting to bounce back, we have been very busy this, Joseph Chris Partners’ 40th year in business.

It has been the year of mergers and acquisitions.  We saw Lennar, America’s #2 ranked home builder, put up $5.7MM to acquire CalAtlantic, the nation’s fifth largest home builder; which very recently was the product of a Standard Pacific Homes and Ryland Homes merger itself.  Lennar is now the largest home builder by revenue and is in 24 of the top 30 housing markets across the U.S.

We saw Century Communities grow by leaps and bounds with multiple acquisitions across the country including UPC and Sundquist Homes, and they also went through an IPO.

We also saw Starwood Capital compete with DR Horton to acquire Forestar, a mixed-use, residential builder based in Austin, Texas.  Ultimately, DR Horton won the game.

And just last month, we saw Invitation Homes merge with Starwood Waypoint; the combined public company will continue operations under the Invitation Homes name.  And, Mattamy Homes announced their acquisition of Royal Oaks Building Group in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, market.   Royal Oaks is the largest privately-owned builder in the Raleigh-Durham area and the fifth-largest builder overall in the market; the operations are expected to be completely combined by Mid-2018.

But 2017 was not without its challenges in home building; specifically, builders everywhere struggled with labor shortages.  According to The Brookings Institution:

“More than 32 million workers are employed in highly digital jobs, while nearly 66 million work in medium-       digital positions, and 41 million work in low-digital ones. Indeed, there has been a massive increase in the share of highly digital jobs between 2002 and 2016, when these jobs jumped from less than five percent to nearly a quarter of all U.S. jobs. Over the same period, the share of medium-digital jobs increased from roughly 40 to 48 percent, while the share of low-digital roles declined significantly, from 56 percent to 30 percent. Roughly two-thirds of new jobs created since 2010 required either high- or medium-level digital skills, and some 4 million, or 30 percent, required highly digital skills.”

Builder Online.Com stated: “Anyone still wondering why young people are not breaking down the doors to sign up to be construction laborers, who rank among the “low-digital” competence occupations?”

We at Joseph Chris have seen this struggle with our clients across the country daily throughout the past several years.  Not enough people entered the industry during the long, drawn-out downturn, and home builders are having to get creative to find the talent they need.

All in all, though, 2017 has been a great year!  Joseph Chris Partners celebrated its 40th Birthday and the year kept us all very busy.  So far, things are looking even better for 2018!

Technology has Changed, but Good Recruiters Still Focus on the Basics: Advice From My 15 Years in Executive Recruiting

Claire2

When I started recruiting in 2002, you could call it a “whole other world” compared to recruiting today. And I honestly believe the skills that I learned back then made, and have kept, me successful all these years.

Back then, there was no LinkedIn, no Google, no Social Media, etc., to speak of. We did have a great database of candidates going back to when the company started in 1977, but other than that, you had to truly dig and hunt for candidates anywhere and everywhere. I spent a lot of time calling companies that were members of certain associations, using Biz Books for every city imaginable to find out who the top companies were in that location and industry, and trust me when I say I made 50 calls every day before noon!

It was truly “hunting” and sourcing from every place imaginable. We even had yellow pages from cities around the country. We faxed all the time and some of us were even still on dial-up internet.

I am grateful that I started before the world of Social Media and LinkedIn came. Personally, I think those things have become too much of a crutch for recruiters. I still apply the old methods today because they work. If everyone could be found on LinkedIn people like my colleagues and me would not be needed.

If I could give advice to any new recruiter today, it would be:

• Stay on the phone, use social media and LinkedIn only as second and third sources.
• Call those associations, call everyone.
• There is nothing like a personal referral.
• And keep in touch with your candidates. Most of my clients are former candidates and it makes life so much simpler.
• Treat everyone the way you want to be treated, return every single call and email.
• When you truly care about your clients’ and your candidates’ well-being, the rest will just fall into place.

I feel truly blessed to have been with such a wonderful company as Joseph Chris Partners for 15 years. We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and have taken many of today’s leaders in our industries through their entire careers. We have a lot to be proud of these past 40 years. Here’s to 40 more!

Written By: Claire Spence, Executive Partner

The Talent Struggles of Residential Home Builders Today Are Real

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In 2006, the economic downturn that started for Home Building in 2006 and most other industries in 2008, greatly impacted production home builders in many ways, but the impact on hiring remains even today. Between 2006 and 2012, new talent did not enter the field of home building because companies were cutting back on employees, not adding them. At the same time, many employees in preconstruction and purchasing, construction and construction management, and land acquisition and development who were caught in the early rounds of layoffs left home building for other industries and never came back.

This lapse in people entering the field combined with the layoffs that forced talent into other sectors of the industry created real problems for home builders that are hiring in today’s market. The market is robust, the demand is real, but unfortunately, so is the shortage of professionals in certain skill sets.

Obviously, we know from our high school economics class that increased demand drives costs higher, and in this case, it has resulted in new compensation structures for many home building professions. For example, purchasing professionals are consistently receiving up to 30-40% more in base pay across the experience spectrum, from purchasing agents with very little experience, all the way up to professionals with responsibilities at the corporate level.

Another area of shortage are construction management professionals, including superintendents and project managers. There were so few entering the field for so long, so there is a pronounced gap in those who have 15-25 years in the industry, and those who have less than 5 years under their respective tool belts.

The industry is in a good place right now and growing steadily. Per the National Association of Home Builders, 2016 was the best year for home building in 12 years.

What the industry needs right now requires something from both employees and employers: It requires more people willing to join this wonderful industry of home building BUT it also requires the home builders themselves to come to the realization that because we went through such a lengthy and pronounced downturn, they must step up to the plate and adjust their compensation paradigm to get the desired talent they want and need.

We at Joseph Chris Partners understand both sides of this challenging issue and are here for both our clients and candidates to help educate and further the growth of this wonderful, much needed industry.

Written By: Claire Spence, Executive Partner