Josh Rubinstein, Vice President, joined The Elliot Group in 2017. Josh embarked upon his career in executive search in 2012 as a recruiting sales leader for venture-backed, pre-IPO technology organizations in New York City. As his career progressed, Josh joined one of the leading global search firms, and shifted his focus to the travel, hospitality, and leisure sector.

Prior to executive search, Josh spent more than twelve years of his career running top restaurants and hospitality venues in New York, San Francisco, and Miami. As a General Manager, Food and Beverage Director and Events Director, he has worked alongside numerous world class chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers who have been recognized by Michelin and the James Beard House. He has also consulted on several restaurant openings and continues to support those efforts as the restaurants grow and mature.

We spoke to Josh about the parallels between restaurant operations and executive search.

Prior to joining The Elliot Group and your work in executive search, you led a variety of impressive restaurants and hospitality venues. How have those experiences helped you target top talent in your current search work?
Working in restaurants at any level gives visibility and insight into human nature. The key to running a successful restaurant lies primarily in connecting with your team and guests, as you work to understand and meet their needs – the same keys are vital for success in executive search.

In search, like restaurants, we spend a lot of time understanding the needs and goals of clients and candidates as we build bonds and create partnerships. We pride ourselves at Elliot with having the ability to see around the corner, anticipate the needs of both client and candidate, pull in resources and in the end, artfully deliver a product that we’re proud of, satisfying both sides of the equation. It’s no different in restaurant operations. You provide a service using grace and skill, raising it to the very highest levels and deliver a product you’re proud of with the guest’s total satisfaction in mind.

Do you see a specific aspect of restaurant operations that has changed and impacted the industry as a whole since you started working in hospitality?
The obvious tangible answer is technology and access to data. No doubt that has had, and will continue to have, the most immediate impact on the industry. Thinking about this from a human perspective, I think a lot has changed in the way employees are treated, trained, developed, and valued in an organization. What I have noticed is that with the emergence of a new generation of leaders who are heavily focused on the workplace environment, coupled with a very competitive landscape, companies are realizing that the time and energy spent on human capital is well worth the investment.

In your opinion, what is one quality that makes a successful C-Suite executive?
I believe one of the most important qualities in a world-class C-Suite Executive is the ability to understand the motivating factors of their teams: tap into their passions, expose them to situations where they can fully immerse themselves, and celebrate their efforts. I believe the best executives are the ones that can consistently motivate their leaders by challenging them to extend themselves.

What is the best way to identify an impactful leader and what is the best way to identify their core competencies?
We identify impactful leaders by analyzing their past. History is a fantastic crystal ball into the future.

To gain access to an individual’s core motivation, we need to challenge them to get out of their comfort zone and be fully transparent about their past successes and goals, and then as advisors we are objective and honest to set a chart for success. When we have a firm understanding of their past successes and failures and who they are as an executive today, we will then know how best to move forward.

Why Elliot?
Originally Elliot made perfect sense for me because it combined the two things I loved the most in a career; hospitality and executive search. What I have come to learn is that its way more. Never have I seen a team have such an important impact on an industry across all levels and all functions. I’ve never felt more part of a family working tirelessly towards a common goal, representing a brand to the absolute best of our ability, raising it to an artform, and delivering results with others in mind.

I believe the best executives are the ones that can consistently motivate their leaders by challenging them to extend themselves.