March 10, 2016 | By Carrie Rossenfeld
NEWPORT BEACH, CA—Today’s commercial real estate firms’ approach to hiring mid- to upper-level executives must be streamlined, with a clear process and single point of contact in order to capture the best talent—and they must move quickly, RETS Associates principal Jana Turner tells GlobeSt.com. We spoke exclusively with Turner about what “moving quickly” really means, how timeliness impacts the hiring process and tips on securing top talent in today’s competitive market.
GlobeSt.com: How should employers looking to hire move quickly to secure top talent?
Turner: The most important thing is that they understand the importance of recruiting and hiring talent. Some people look at it as a known evil, unfortunately, because it does take time and effort. Our advice: Front-load the process. Create a well-defined interview process and make sure there is one single point of contact who is the facilitator of the process. Recruiters can contact this person, submit the candidates and have all the appointments and follow-up go through them.
GlobeSt.com: Can you give us some successful and not-so-successful examples of how this has been done?
Turner: There’s a company in San Francisco we’ve been working with for a couple of years, but over the last year it’s been difficult because they have not been organized about this process at all. We’ve done two searches with them over the last six months and have lost good candidates because the client wasn’t getting back to us after an interview. As a recruiter, we had to take a more aggressive stand. We told them we needed someone who is a point person because we were wasting everybody’s time. Having a facilitator, an organizer in place, allowed two key positions to be hired in a month, and everyone is happy. You have to help them understand the importance of having a point person for scheduling interviews, doing follow-up, etc. They need to map this out.
One frustrating thing that’s happening more than less is for executive positions, some companies are taking forever to get an offer letter approved. That sends a red flag to a candidate: if it’s taking that long to get an offer letter approved, what is going on internally with the company? It causes pause. These comps are going out, and they might have approved a range, but we’re always hitting the higher end, and they’re not approved for a higher range. Companies need to have their compensation parameters approved before going through the interviewing process.
GlobeSt.com: What exactly does “moving quickly” mean in today’s employment world?
Turner: “Quickly” would be that you’re responding within 24 to 48 hours after a candidate’s interview. We’re then on to scheduling the second interview. If it can’t happen in 48 hours, then tell us in 24 hours what the new timeframe is. A lot of people go dark for a week, and that’s not acceptable anymore. When candidates reach a pause, other employers are talking to them. There’s a frenzy for top candidates. Also, they have to make sure that their websites are up-to-date. There are so many outdated websites, and candidates go into those and cruise around. They have to make sure they’re professional and effective websites. Don’t have one just to have one. Companies need to have “sizzle” throughout the process. That means being on time for an interview and being solely focused on that interview. I can’t tell you how ineffective it is for a candidate when a client is 20 minutes late for an interview. Also, the hiring process shouldn’t take more than 30 days.
GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about securing top talent?
Turner: The most important thing is to front-load this process. Have it well mapped out, and we as agencies need to help companies map it out. They need to spend more time talking about the interview and who is going to be involved in that process (fewer is better). You have to find an interview time that works for the candidate because in most cases, these candidates are already employed. The unemployment rate for commercial real estate is really so much tighter than the regular unemployment rate right now. You can’t be pulling them out of these organizations if it’s inconvenient for them. You have to be like a well-oiled machine and well defined. If employers are working with an agency—which I recommend they do; otherwise they’re interviewing only people who are applying to them—that agency should be a partner and a consultant in this area; they should help you define the whole process. You are now marketing your firm, not just interviewing a client. You are marketing and selling your firm—that’s the big difference today.