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THE HIRING SQUAD: Taking the Marketing Approach to Interviewing Talent

In the wake of Brexit, presidential elections and chatter about “peaking in this current real estate cycle,” many CRE companies are in fact still searching for top talent to fill financial analyst, asset and property management, construction, and development positions.

As companies recognize this ongoing need to compete for top talent amidst a shrinking talent pool, Jana Turner, industry veteran and RETS Associates principal, shares tips and insights about why the current real estate market has created the need to promote your firm to candidates throughout the interview process and place them at the center of the search process.

Taking the Marketing Approach

According to Jana, the interview process needs to be front loaded, streamlined and authentic. Below are Jana’s top three tips to taking the marketing approach to interviewing talent.

Step 1: Create a Plan

The most important thing is front-loading the interview process. By laying out a road-map approach to interviewing and hiring, companies can create efficiencies to save time and money, and secure the ideal candidate. Key components of a successful plan include:

  1. Spend appropriate time planning out questions and interviewers: the fewer the better. Maintain the plan by designating a facilitator.
  2. Identify times that work for candidates, and be both considerate and efficient.
  3. Be a well-oiled and well-defined machine in your interview processes. This includes:
    1. Knowing desired and market-rate compensation parameters
    2. Identifying interviewing tactics
    3. Defining steps for regular communication
    4. Drafting and approving offer letters in a timely manner
  4. Assess the entire available talent pool beyond those that are applying to the company. Sometimes, this may require bringing on a partner.
  5. Close the search within 30 days – move quickly.

Step 2: Maintain the Sizzle

The unemployment rate for commercial real estate is much tighter than the general unemployment rate right now. As a result, candidates may be less likely to leave their current organization if they are inconvenienced through the hiring process. Furthermore, many top candidates are talking to multiple companies and can be scooped up quickly if you don’t maintain sizzle and fluidity through the process. To do so:

  1. Follow the plan
  2. Be flexible
  3. Be on time
  4. Be transparent
  5. Maintain regular communication touch points with the candidate(s) – every 24 to 48 hours – as to move the process along.

Step 3: Demonstrate That  You’re Invested

Savvy companies are making upfront investments to prove the value of long-term relationships to potential new hires. To prove to the candidate that you understand his or her value and to compete with other firms in the market, it’s important to:

  1. Demonstrate consideration by scheduling back-to-back interviews for a candidate with multiple people in one day, instead of drawing the process out for multiple weeks.
  2. Take time to get to know the candidate on a professional and personal level to build stronger relationships. For example, if the candidate is located outside of the firm’s local market, you can demonstrate an upfront investment by flying top candidates in for additional meetings. Additionally, inviting top candidates to team events, company dinners or breakfasts can both build relationships and gain a better understanding of each candidate’s personality.

It is important for lasting commercial real estate developers, owners, operators, third party services and more to recognize that this approach to the interview process is the new standard and cost of doing business. Most competitive firms are taking these steps to make the investment and demonstrate their dedication to candidates long before signing on the dotted line. In our experience, taking these steps not only helps to secure top talent, but also ensures that the candidate is the right fit for the firm and its future.