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Hot Property

Having only been in the recruitment business for about a month it has struck me how many firms are looking for that perfect candidate with “at least 4 years of post qualification experience.” Particularly guilty of this are firms currently looking to fill their real estate vacancies, holding out for their perfect candidate to arise and meet their “business needs.” Why is this?

Candidates who have this amount of experience have generally followed a particular path, at least in the national firms. They have started out doing landlord and tenant asset management work, progressed onto some development and investment matters (alongside supervising the trainees and less experienced member of the team) and seen their responsibility increase in terms of managing their own caseload. Of course this is a broadly stereotypical view but having many friends within the real estate sector to talk, I’ll ask you to trust me. These candidates are certainly an attractive proposition but are firms missing a trick?

Alan Hanson famously said “you’ll never win anything with kids” (and proved so famously wrong) so what is happening to nurturing talent from the NQ range upwards, embedding juniors into the firm culture and accepting a lack of experience as a trade off for raw potential? It really seems to depend on the candidate. Some firms are more than willing to accept London re-locators at this level if they have trained at a large firm and been given exposure to some “good quality work” but they are missing out on a wealth of talent with this approach. Candidates who have trained with smaller high street firms often have more hands on experience in dealing with a caseload and often operate at above trainee level when compared with their cohort at larger firms. Also there are candidates that have some significant pre-qualification experience at paralegal level and I know when I was training, their responsibility and caseload was often larger that that of trainees (we were often being hostage to our current supervisor and the work they were doing).

The real estate market does not seem to have been too adversely affected by the Brexit situation and I am currently working with regional firms all the way to the top tier who are looking to expand their property offering. Firms who are willing to be flexible and look at people from the more junior level will more quickly be able to fill their vacancies, especially when NQ season kicks off in 2018. However, there will continue to be some firms with an intractable policy of scouring the market for the “perfect candidate” and may find themselves looking for a long time. As work flows in and the department becomes stretched, they may end up regretting this decision.

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