Courtney Rice is a recruiter who has spent the past thirteen years at ThinkingAhead. From Michigan, she studied engineering at Michigan State University, and like frankly many college students, wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to be when she “grew up”. She was fortunate to have had a summer job with Southwestern Advantage selling books and learning how to run a successful business, which ultimately led her to a Southwestern sister company, ThinkingAhead Executive Search.
Over the years, Courtney has found her niche in the commercial real estate finance market. She has always specialized in commercial real estate, starting her recruiting career working with commercial real estate lenders. While she does still work with bankers, since 2008 she has also specialized very specifically in multifamily and healthcare commercial mortgage; her client base mostly consisting of lenders that place loans with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD. It is definitely a niche market and a niche market in which Courtney quickly developed a strong network of professional connections that enable her to know the market inside and out.
Courtney has been helping clients and candidates make a difference — and she likes to think her approach to recruiting empowers her to do just that. Asked what makes her stand out from other recruiters in her industry, she said it’s her “long view of the business.” Although many recruiters pressure candidates into taking positions for clients who need talent quickly, Courtney considers herself an “anti-pushy” recruiter — she would rather take her time to listen and understand a candidate’s motivations rather than rush them into making such a serious decision. Courtney has also found that she has had more success as a recruiter since becoming more relaxed with clients and candidates, taking the time to build personal as well as professional relationships.
In a recent video, Courtney told a memorable story about a candidate she worked with recently. One of the clients she works with, a financial company in a competitive, candidate-driven market, was recruiting for an attractive position; the only problem was that most of the candidates in the running had already received competing offers by the time their decision had been made.
It was no surprise, then, that one of Courtney’s candidates — who lived in the suburbs of Boston with a young child — told her he was deciding between multiple opportunities. Ultimately, just as Courtney’s client was preparing a job offer for him, he accepted another job closer to home; Courtney understood that the offer he accepted made more sense for his situation, and enthusiastically supported him and his choice.
This candidate was so surprised at how supportive Courtney had been even after he rejected her client’s offer that he sent her a thank you note and a gift basket. Courtney, on the other hand, was touched that she had made such a difference to a candidate she hadn’t even placed; her role had not been to force candidates and clients together, but rather to treat everyone with respect and kindness from beginning to end. By doing the right thing by people Courtney has built a top notch reputation in the industry.