Recruiting for Success – Part I, The Selection Process

People are our greatest asset. Hire well, and they will also be your organization’s greatest asset. As property managers, we are in the people business. Our onsite property management staff and the colleagues behind the scenes supporting them are the delivery mechanism for what we promise our clients. So, ensuring we follow best practices related to recruiting great people is mission critical.

COVID has changed the recruiting landscape. The national unemployment rate is 5.8% – and even though it is higher than the pre-COVID rate of 3.5%, it is still challenging to find the right people with the knowledge, skill, experience, and core values necessary to be a fit for our organization. Combine the relatively low unemployment rate with government funding and benefits encouraging many from re-joining the workforce as well as the property management trends signaling growth and hiring – the talent pool is limited.

Ensuring long-term, successful relationships with your people requires a focus on recruiting, training, and operating sustainably…specifically, hiring the right people, training and developing them to deliver results, and leading them effectively. If anyone of these three key components are not done well, then the probability of success is significantly reduced. In this three-part series, we will focus on Recruiting – selecting, interviewing.

Recruiting Process Flow Chart

The Selection Process

Determine and Validate Need – Do You Need This Person?

A new hire decision vs. a replacement hire decision and the position you are filling may dramatically impact your timing and process for recruiting. A new hire usually allows for more planning and preparation, and ultimately better timing. For example, if you know 60 days from today, you are starting a management engagement with a client, then your recruiting efforts more easily follow your standard process. However, if a Property Manager walks out on you with no notice, then the urgency to replace them becomes more significant.

Position matters. Recruiting for a Property Manager – who is responsible for the onsite staff and daily resident interaction and satisfaction – usually requires more diligence than recruiting a Porter to perform cleaning along with light handyman tasks. In either scenario, diligence and focus on recruiting the right person are required.

Capacity – Determine that you can promote and/or move anyone internal into the new or vacant role. Validate your human resources are appropriately allocated across your organization and property portfolio.

Budget – Ensure you budget for this role. Research and confirm the competitive compensation and/or benefits package for this position in the marketplace. Confirm you have the revenue and necessary funds to pay for this position.

Knowledge, Skill, and Experience – Ensure you accurately identify the responsibilities and qualifications required to perform the role effectively. Develop the job description.

Analysis and Approval – The respective supervisor(s) and/or Human Resource team member(s) must analyze and approve capacity, budget, and job description.

Set-Up and Prepare for Candidates
We all know the saying, “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” This is especially true in recruiting.

Timing – Determine when the person needs to start. Establish a realistic timeframe for the process. For example, suppose you are hiring a new Regional Manager to manage a portfolio of properties because your growth requires greater capacity. In that case, it is best to start the recruiting process, so the person hired is onboarded and begins working a few weeks prior to taking on the portfolio. The speed and number of qualified candidates will most likely dictate the recruiting timeframe…the more and better-quality candidates you receive upon the initial job posting may equate to a faster process.

Recruiting Template Timeframe:

Validate Need – Week 1
Job Posting Released – Week 2
Review and Select Resumes – Week 2/3
Pre-Screen Candidates – Week 2/3
1st Round Interviews – Week 3/4
2nd Round Interviews (if necessary) – Week 4/5
Select Top Candidate – Week 4/5
Background, Drug, and Referral Checks – Week 4/5
Verbal Offer – Week 5/6
Written Offer – Week 5/6
Start Date (two weeks after offer accepted) – Week 7/8

Facilitation – Identify the person or persons required to participate in the recruiting process. In our organization, Corporate and Regional Manager recruiting is conducted by the respective supervisor and our HR department; Property Manager recruiting is conducted by Regional Managers; and Property Staff recruiting is conducted by the respective Property Manager.

Job Posting – Determine where you will post the position to ensure you reach the best talent pool. Ensure you establish and follow your budget for recruiting expenses.

The following are standard and proven job posting options: online aggregator platforms (Indeed, Zip Recruiter), company website (Careers Section), word-of-mouth, referrals, internal/external network, social media (LinkedIn – via your company profile, team member profiles and the Job Posting module) as well as your industry organizations and association membership Job Boards. Also, depending on the position level, you may consider a third-party recruiter or headhunter.

Identify Qualified Candidates

Once you post a job, it is imperative that you and/or your HR department are prepared to receive and then efficiently review, assess, and select resumes to move your best candidates through each stage of your recruiting/hiring process. The best candidates are the first to be hired away from the talent pool, so act fast.  Contact them quickly, schedule screening quickly, and communicate the hiring process, so they have certainty on next steps and timing.

Resume Review

Screen and Critique Resumes – Dedicate time on your calendar to review resumes. Screen resumes daily. During your initial screening, review for presentation as well as content. Candidates must present the best of who they are on their resume, so focus on if they customized their resume to the specific job description or just submitted a standard resume; ensure they represent the majority of qualifications and requirements of the position; evaluate their job history and how long they remained at companies and positions vs. job hopping; review the layout of the resume for balance, consistency in font type, font size, formatting, spelling, and grammar, and find examples of work and results congruent with the posted position. Take notes and highlight areas of interest on the resume. If you instructed candidates to provide a cover letter and/or salary history, validate their ability to follow instructions. Most of the previous items described are not ‘deal killers’ alone but collectively ‘paint a picture’ of the candidate’s viability.

Investigate – Once you identify a candidate you want to pre-screen, perform an internet search on them. Google their name. Go at least four (4) pages deep, if available. Confirm they represent who you would want to represent you and your organization. There is no reason to take the candidate any further if you do not like what you see or read.

Select the Top Candidates – Rank the resumes and candidates as you evaluate them. Pick your top three (3) to five (5) and continue this process as you work your way through candidates.

Calendarize Pre-Screen Appointments – Set up your calendar with several pre-screen slots for the week so you are prepared when you make candidate calls to provide available times and days.

Call and Schedule Pre-Screen – Dedicate time on your calendar to call and schedule pre-screening. Develop a standard script so you are prepared for what you will say and you are consistent in your approach with candidates. This call is a quick call to introduce yourself, confirm their interest in the opportunity, and schedule a 20–30-minute pre-screen.

This is their first interaction with you, so be professional, friendly and provide a great customer experience, so be sure to:

  • Provide candidates a quick agenda and what to expect during the pre-screen call
  • Give 2-3 options for the call (morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon, if possible)
  • Validate the time commitment and time/day of the call as well as their email address
  • Inform them they will receive an email invite re-iterating the call details as well as your contact information

Send Calendar Invite – Develop a standard pre-screen email, so you may cut and paste to ensure a consistent message and approach with each candidate. The email is simple. Thank them for their time, provide them the time, date, and call-in information as well as your contact information and the company website (usually standard in your email signature).

Results are more important than process; however, developing a process, following a process, and ‘owning’ a process – for you and your organization – allows the best probability for success.