NEW YORK CITY-As the commercial real estate industry continues to rebound, people are going back to work in ever increasing numbers. Yet, the national unemployment rate still hovers around 7.6%, and there continue to be more capable applicants than available jobs. In an uncertain job market, one would imagine that sourcing talent would be easier than ever. While applying for a job is as easy as clicking “Apply” on as many job listings as you can find on LinkedIn, HR departments, on the other hand, often take on the burden of sifting through hundreds of resumes, which may or may not even include a single star candidate. And so, the question remains: How do you assemble a team of the best and the brightest?
For Ackman-Ziff President Simon Ziff, the answer is clear. “Make it a priority, and be hands-on.” In that vein, Ziff personally meets every candidate before he or she joins the firm. Ziff takes a five-step approach to his hiring and retention program, and it seems to be working. The firm’s impact on real estate finance continues to steadily grow both in New York City where it is headquartered, as well as nationally. Its presence in South Florida, in particular, is booming after the opening of its Miami branch less than two years ago, illustrated by the recent landmark deal closing of the Lincoln Road Portfolio. And after nearly two decades heading up the firm, he remains flanked by two of his principals who have been with him for the bulk of that time.
For Ziff, a strong recruiting program is a no-brainer when it comes to success. “One of my biggest drivers is for Ackman-Ziff to be the best in class in raising capital. To do that, you need to have the best people.” His steps for building an award-winning firm are straightforward.