In this edition of The Hiring Squad, Kent Elliott, principal at RETS Associates, a leading national real estate recruiting firm, connects with Eric Paulsen, managing principal at Cushman & Wakefield. They discuss Eric’s pathway to a change in employer, and how a thoughtful, personal touch in recruiting made a world of difference, turning what would have been a positive experience into a truly exceptional one.
Kent Elliott (KE): What motivated you to seek out a position at a new company?
Eric Paulsen (EP): With nearly 30 years of experience in the industry, I’ve not only had the opportunity to develop and foster the necessary skills for achieving success, but – perhaps even more importantly – I’ve had the opportunity to really assess myself as a professional, determine the environment I best thrive within, and ultimately what skills I bring to the table. In my previous position, while there were valuable experiences to be had and corporate milestones to achieve, my individual talents were not being fully utilized and I did not personally feel that I was adding as much value as I could have been. Achieving pure productivity is not rewarding enough if your talents are not fully utilized, and with this in mind, I decided it was time to make a change.
KE: That’s a powerful realization. What steps did you take to make the change?
EP: I needed to find a recruiter that not only had the connections and know-how to identify the appropriate positions for me, but who would also go to bat for me by taking the time to first understand who I am as a professional. In a previous search of my own, I came across a position that on paper appeared to be a good fit, but it took that personal touch from RETS Associates to dig deeper to determine if it really was ideal – and it turned out it was not. I would have succeeded at the job, but it was not the right fit for long term self-fulfillment and satisfaction. I am high energy, prefer to be socially engaged, and thrive in a faster-paced environment, and from learning that about me, it was clear to RETS that the position would likely not translate. The good news is that when the right opportunity was identified by RETS, it was great to have their support. Their tenacity and absolute belief in my abilities made sure that Cushman & Wakefield kept me top of mind, and it ultimately paid off. I like to think for both of us.
KE: What advice would you give to commercial real estate professionals who are on the hunt for the next position, or will be soon?
EP: First and foremost, take the time to really assess your strengths and weaknesses, the previous positions in which you’ve felt the most comfortable and the types of co-workers you’ve worked with most effectively. You spend the majority of your awake hours at work. You need the right environment, the right co-workers and the right job to allow you to be the most productive and most fulfilled. You have to be able to wake up in the morning and not dread going to work. Now, take those key learnings and start a dialogue with a well-seasoned (and preferably recommended) recruiter, someone who you can build a relationship with over time. I like the fact that I can pick up the phone to talk about the current hiring market, or even shoot over an email with my resume for feedback. Ultimately, you want to find a recruiter that employs a very candidate-centric approach, who understands that placing someone in an open position is not a simple copy and paste exercise, but rather will invest the time to really get to know you. This approach results in a strong win for everyone: the company, the recruiter and the soon-to-be employee.