Friday, March 21, 2008

Inside the Head of the Headhunter - Justin Roy of SullivanKreiss

This week, we get inside the head of Justin Roy, Chief Operating Officer of SullivanKreiss, one of the nation’s largest recruiters of Architects and Building/Design Engineers.

Justin is responsible for the management of recruiting operations, along with client and project development. He has extensive experience with all aspects of executive-level, key management, and technical position recruiting for Architecture, Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Engineering firms throughout the United States.

reCareered: Justin, considering the slowdown in today’s Real Estate markets, how has your business been affected?

Justin: We haven’t seen ANY slowdown. In the AE industry, everything being worked on now was signed a year ago.

There will always be a need for entry level people who are presentable and who know what NOT to say. But for entry level positions, I’d say it’s slowing down. Firms now have to concentrate on servicing their clients, and many firms can sub-out entry level work.

reCareered: So if you’re working on staffing to fulfill prior year contracts, do you see 2009 being a slower employment year?

Justin: It depends on how this lasts. But even if the current Real Estate softness lasts 12 months, it will actually be good. If the building recession lasts that long, projects will have to happen fast. Everyone will have to staff up in bulk to meet demands.

reCareered: How is the AE employment market affected by retirements of the Baby Boomers?

Justin: Right now it’s helping, but it’s getting harder to find people. Statistically, there are not enough people to replace the retiring Boomers. Demand for GenX is going through the roof, and salaries are going up.

reCareered: What kinds of advice are you giving your candidates today?

Justin: Be careful of the offer. Often times more money is a tradeoff for stability – most expensive is often first out. Be careful that a firm isn’t hiring you as a band aid.

reCareered: What kinds of questions can a candidate ask to better understand risk of overpayment?

Justin: These are some top questions I’d advise A&E or candidates in any professional services career to ask:

  1. What is your backlog of work?
  2. How many other people are at this level?
  3. What are the demographics of others at this level? If everyone else is 10 years younger, you risk being first out.
  4. Do research on salary surveys online first, to find out the average salaries being paid
reCareered: What advice can you give candidates to ace an interview?

Justin: Go in with a project portfolio, whether you are an AE, IT professional, Accounting/Finance pro, or Marketing/Advertising. Let your work help sell you by using visual aids and work samples. Include articles published, examples of reports, etc. Take every part of the job, and have a visual example of your expertise.

Architecture and Engineering candidates that are interested in working with Justin can email resumes to

And of course, if you’d like a free 30 minute resume consultation or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

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