Now that the dust has begun to settle in real estate markets all over the world, firms have once again started to devote resources to finding the best talent available to rebuild their brands. Opportunities to claim coveted positions at private equity real estate firms have started to present themselves, but just what does it take to become the next real estate superstar – the next Sam Zell, as it were?
Knowledge and experience in the private equity real estate space have always been the foundation of any potential candidate’s value to an employer, but recently, highly-specialised expertise and more nuanced skills have played a significant role in whether prospective employees were ultimately offered positions.
In the July issue of PERE magazine, executive search firms said they were witnessing new trends in what their clients were looking for from candidates, and as a result, a new set of criteria had emerged as to what it takes to be a private equity real estate superstar.
The single biggest trend observed by search firms today was the rise in the demand for individuals with strong leadership qualities. “Candidates need to understand the financial and analytical side of the business, but as important to an employer are their leadership skills and whether they have the ability to help build the business and take it forward,” said partner of London-based real estate search firm Redset, Andrew Wilson. “That’s exactly what clients are looking for.”
As firms looked to re-establish themselves in the wake of the credit crisis, senior-level executives – now more than ever – had to have the ability to lead with confidence as they steered their companies back towards growth.
“Beyond whether you can originate or underwrite a deal or whether you can be an effective asset manager, which are all very critical, there’s also the ‘Can you not only survive but thrive and add to the growth of our platform because of your interpersonal skill set and leadership capabilities?’” added Debra Barbanel, co-head of real estate for the Americas at search firm Russell Reynolds Associates.