How do you get on top recruiters radars?

I'm looking for tips to get on top REPE recruiters radars...

Do I need a top biz school or previous REPE experience?

I have a generalist background, with about 3 years capital markets, 3 years acquisitions and asset management, but I'm not receiving the outreach many on this platform say they get at this stage in their career.

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Comments (21)

  • Associate 2 in RE - Res
Apr 2, 2021 - 1:27pm

Maybe you're right. Maybe I've been assuming there is a "gate" and the only way to get past is to be invited in.


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Apr 2, 2021 - 5:39pm

Agree - I think recruiters are probably good when you are at the upper echelon - as in placing for MD and C-suite type roles. This is where the fees are the highest and probably has the best recruiting talent, etc. But I have found recruiters for associate level placements and vp level, etc., to be pretty bad. There are a few recruiters who I really like and I go to for advice on firms, etc., but that is it. If you can develop a good enough relationship with the top recruiters, many of them know all the firms and hear the BS that goes on in them - they will generally tell you the good/bad/ugly about firms if you ask. There is one in particular I think he is absolutely amazing, and I have gone to him multiple times for career advice, understand the good/bad of a firm, etc.  

  • Director in RE - Res
Apr 2, 2021 - 4:40pm

I'm a couple of years more seasoned than you, but you should be reaching out to your network, talking to them, seeing how they got where they are, and then ask them if there's anybody you should be talking to. This will get you in touch with recruiters who have placed your friends and should have a good reputation, but will also put you in contact with direct job opportunities that people know.

  • Director in RE - Res
Apr 2, 2021 - 5:22pm

I'm at about 9 years of experience, made the jump about a year and half ago as an internal promotion at my current shop. 

I've worn a bunch of different hats as it's a relatively small shop (~35 employees) but I was a key player on several of the larger transactions we did over the past few years

  1. ~$500mm recap of a core portfolio
  2. Helped win a new $1 billion programmatic JV partnership and co-ran acquisitions for the fund
  3. $300mm in op-zone developments, etc

I also handle most of the debt relationships for the firm to finance our projects (hopefully we start a debt fund some day, those seem to be hot right now), I don't do asset management anymore, but I headed that group up for a short period as well (more as a band-aid until we could bring in someone else).

Apr 3, 2021 - 6:51pm

I've had experience with them (got one job from an retained search firm), and had jobs presented and had been networking with them when I took my current job (from direct networking, not search firm).. So here is my quick take...

1. LinkedIn is the "secret"... they search it, they mine it, they can pull tons here. So, make sure you have good info, complete info, and all the "keywords" that matter. TIME at a current job is the biggest thing they search on, as well as total years in industry (in addition to being in the job/title/industry) they are looking for. 

2. The best way to get "in" is via referral, meaning your friends who got placed with search firms can introduce you to the person they worked with! This is how I got "in" with a few (including Ferguson Partners, the undisputed leader in the real estate space). You can get the equivalent of an "informational interview" via this method, and they then will add/tag your "file" at the firm. 

3. You CAN cold contact them, via LinkedIn or email, they may not respond, BUT they are likely inputting your resume into their system (remember they work for the hiring firms exclusively, NOT you).

4. I don't think they give a shit where you went to school (they will have no fucking clue what "target" or "non-target" is, as they are not school recruiters, and clients wouldn't dare say that shit to them for senior roles), just that you have whatever degrees you have, as they typically will work on searches requiring grad degrees and at least 5+ yrs exp (some 10+ for more "executive/senior" roles). If you are sub 5 yrs, they may talk to you/take your info, but the top firms won't get those assignments... And frankly, those jobs are going to end up on LinkedIn anyway, even if an outsourced recruiter is hired. That is NOT the same world as retained search. (I think your total years of 6 makes you borderline qualified to play in the space, meaning, worth your time, but don't be shocked if you get little results at first).  

5. Since why avoid the tease, here are the firms that I think of in this space (no order implied, just how I thought of them... Note may be northeast/NYC centric as where I am located)..

Ferguson Partners (legit biggest in the real estate space)

Korn Ferry

Spencer Stuart

Heidrick and Struggles 

Rhoads Associates

Shine Associates

Glocap (more junior stuff)

Crown Advisors 

Specialty Consultants

Final point, if the firm has recently done a search for your current firm, they probably won't touch you from a conflict of interest stand-point. They will wait a few years of not doing searches for a firm before they poach from prior clients.

Good luck!

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 3, 2021 - 7:07pm

Dude trust me, they do care about which school you went to. Just check out the LinkedIn page of associates at BX, Starwood, Brookfield, TPG, Oaktree, KKR, and etc.. Almost everyone of them has stellar academic credentials

Apr 4, 2021 - 9:08am

Buddy... your posting in the RE forum.... TPG/Oaktree/KKR wouldn't even make the top 50 in real estate AUM. Unless you are diehard fixated on the names that are big in the PE world, your comment stops making much sense when you look at who the firms on IREI 150 or PERE 100 hire. 

Regardless, the question is about getting on search firms radars... They will look at your track record/career progress/etc. They can look at your firm of course, and if you are at one of type you list that sets that recruiting mode from OCR, then the probability that those degrees will be common in searches is well, duh obvious. This is simple survivorship bias, I can promise you, after 5 years in the field, where you went to "college" will be not an interesting factor in if you get hired or not.

Senior/executive recruiting doesn't work that way. It's comical to think a CEO would be talking to a head hunter and say something like "We need a Chief Investment Officer with experience in value-add acquisitions nationwide and a track record of consistent return to investors above 12% IRRs, ideally with relationships at the major capital allocators we raise funds for, and oh yeah.... only HYP grads please!

Why real estate is more fun tbh. As I've said before..... All my degrees are from state school, my analyst went to a target, guess who gets to tell who what to do!!!

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