In this edition of The Hiring Squad, Kent Elliott, principal at RETS Associates, a leading national real estate recruiting firm, sits down with Ronald Kim, senior vice president of Real Estate at Prospera Hotels. They discuss Kim’s 20 years of hospitality experience and how leveraging a partnership can make a difference in hiring top talent.
Kent Elliott (KE): What is your experience in the hospitality industry? How did you get started?
Ronald Kim (RK): I always took interest in the real estate industry, though initially I wanted to be an architect. Early in my career, I had the opportunity to join a boutique real estate investment firm as a senior financial analyst in their hotel division with responsibilities in asset management and acquisitions – that’s how I got my feet wet in the hotel and hospitality business. From there I joined the Hilton Hotel Corporation, followed by the Davidson Hotel Company as vice president overseeing project finance, business development and acquisitions. During my tenure at Hilton, I earned my MBA at UCLA’s Fully-Employed MBA program. Today, I have over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and have been with Prospera Hotels as senior vice president for almost five years.
KE: What encouraged you to leverage the expertise of a recruiter for your recent search?
RK: Recently, Prospera reviewed its internal growth, and that’s when we recognized the need for an analyst to join and support our team. We were in search of a candidate with real estate and hospitality expertise who could focus on the bigger picture for Prospera. At first, we ran a search through our own contacts; however, we did not receive much response. We then began to consider leveraging an outside resource, and RETS Associates naturally came to mind. With a solid team of recruiters who have an intimate understanding of the hospitality industry, I was confident RETS would prove to be the ideal recruiting partner. When I reached out to RETS and explained what we were looking for, the team immediately presented three local candidates, all with the required expertise in the hospitality industry. RETS’ quick response and the ability to identify well-qualified candidates who meet our business needs helped us secure the best person for the job.
KE: What advice would you give businesses seeking top talent in the hospitality industry?
RK: The key to securing top talent in this industry is having the right partner who truly understands your business goals and corporate culture. A trusted partner can help you strategically fill positions with more than skilled candidates but with leaders whose management styles and values line up with your business, which will ultimately propel your business forward.