macdonald and company
macdonald and company

Property Management Jobs - What's the Best Hiring Process?

Posting date: 16 April 2019
Richard Wilson our consultant managing the role

How to Recruit Talented Property Managers

A new employee starting can make a real difference to a property management company. If they bring the skills you need and fit in with your organisation’s culture, a new hire can re-energise your entire team.  On the other hand, a poor hire can sap the life from new colleagues. In this article, we’ve put together a blueprint to help you recruit the right candidates for your property management jobs effortlessly.

When to Boost Your Property Management Team

As your business develops, you may be tempted to rely on your existing property management team to service a growing portfolio and customer base. At the early stages, this is an acceptable strategy. But reliance on existing employees to work across several property management roles can lead to problems.

The RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey 2019 asked people what dissatisfied them most about their jobs. Having to work weekends and during annual leave both scored highly in the unhappiness stakes. It can lead to burnout and a reduction in quality of work. Employees who feel they are overstretched are more likely to leave.

If you regularly need your employees to work extra hours, out of hours, it’s a sign that you need to add to your property management team. Other signs include:

  • An increase in employee turnover
  • An increase in customer complaints
  • Higher overtime costs
  • Poor quality of work
  • You are unable to take on new clients or work
  • You are short of specialist skills

How to Improve Your Property Management Company

Whether you need to hire to replace a leaver or to add capability to your team, finding the right person is unlikely to be easy. The Property Manager you hire should improve your team. You’ll need to decide what this person looks like before putting together the property manager job description.

You’ll need to decide on the skills and competencies that you need from your new hire. However, qualifications and experience alone won’t guarantee that an applicant is the right fit. If they did, you wouldn’t need to conduct interviews. It may also be that an enthusiastic but marginally underqualified applicant will be a better fit than a highly qualified candidate who is indifferent about the role.

Decide What Your Property Manager Looks Like

Here are a few pointers to help you hone your job description in the search for the perfect property manager to add to your team. Below, we go through the following in more detail:

  • Look beyond qualifications and experience
  • Consider cultural compatibility
  • Go for a growth mindset
  • Capture commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm

· Look Beyond Qualifications and Experience

If you are too rigid with your expectations for qualifications and experience, you are likely to miss out on some exceptional talent. A graduate won’t have the experience you need, but may have the get-up-and-go that would boost your team. A candidate with bags of experience may provide the know-how your team desperately needs, though be short on formal qualifications.

The secret here is to be a little flexible, on both qualifications and experience. People can be developed, but enthusiasm to learn and improve is key.

· Consider Cultural Compatibility

If your new hire doesn’t fit in, they won’t stay long. While they are in situ, they could disrupt the team dynamics. A poor fit is bad for business. You’ll need to decide what type of person you need to employ. This doesn’t mean hiring a lookalike, someone who is the identical of current employees. Indeed, greater diversity can add to the vibrancy that your team currently lacks – a different way of thinking, a new way of looking at problems, and the critical thinking that will improve the team’s problem-solving capability.

· Go For a Growth Mindset

A property manager who is interested in their own self-development is likely to be concerned about helping to develop their new employer’s business. A candidate who has a history of improvement is likely to want to continue improving. They are also likely to accept challenges more willingly, and to be a problem solver by nature.

Should you be seeking a self-learner, with a broad base of knowledge and skills developed over time, with improvements made regularly?

· Capture Commitment, Loyalty and Enthusiasm

Especially in an economy in which there is a skills shortage, commitment and loyalty is problematic. More than a third of employees think they are likely or very likely to move jobs in the next 12 months. With so many potential leavers, staff retention is a tough ask for most companies. Hire people who are genuinely interested in your company, your vision, and the potential that the role offers. These are the candidates who are most likely to stay with you for a long time – good for team cohesion and costs containment.

(For complementary advice about overcoming the skills shortage, see our Development team’s article “Overcome the skills shortage and hire your next construction manager” 

Compose a Compelling Job Description

To attract stand-out candidates, you must compose a stand-out job description. By now, you know the parameters of qualifications and experience you are seeking. You know the personality and working mentality you desire, too. Your job description needs to convey this.

A good property management job description tells candidates about the role. This includes duties and responsibilities, and an overview of the company and team that the new hire will be joining. Here are six more tips to help write the perfect job description:

  1. Take time to review similar descriptions for property manager jobs (link).
  2. Consider the most popular job titles.
  3. Get a measure of the salary that candidates will expect for a property management role (Get in touch (link) to discuss the findings of the RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey).
  4. Write a clear and concise description.
  5. Include trending keywords that your ideal candidates will search for.
  6. Write conversationally, providing information in a welcoming voice.

Scorecard CVs

Review applicants’ CVs carefully and consistently, against the same criteria. Use a grid with agreed, standard criteria so you can benchmark your assessment. If there are several people involved in this task, make sure that they all understand the parameters that will push applicants through to the interview stage.

An effective strategy to determine whether applicants should make the cut is to scorecard them across the following components:

  • Qualifications
  • Longevity (how many jobs have they had and how long have they stayed in each)
  • Career progression
  • Skills and experience commensurate with the job description
  • Past achievements

After this review, you will have three lists of candidates:

  • The first is those who you have rejected. Send rejection letters as soon as possible.
  • The second is those whom you wish to interview.
  • The third is a list of possible applicants that you may wish to interview. Review these again and decide in which list they belong. Take the appropriate action: reject or interview.

Richard Wilson Property Manager Recruitment

Screen Applicants Before Inviting for Interview

You may still have a sizeable list of candidates on the interview list. Rather than use valuable management time interviewing, conduct a pre-interview screening interview. This can be made by phone or video call and something we do routinely.

Ask questions to give you a better idea of each candidate’s personality and confirm skills with experience. You should get a good gauge of their enthusiasm, too. Only invite those with the most promise to do the job you want for an in-person interview.

Dig Deep When Interviewing

The objective of an in-person interview should be to decide which candidate from your shortlist is the one you wish to offer the property management job to. You should garner evidence of strengths and weaknesses, skills and experience, and commitment and enthusiasm.

Conducting an interview can be stressful. The future of your team could be determined by the decision made. Therefore, it is important to prepare for the interview and conduct the interview with professionalism and purpose.

Ask targeted and specific questions. As you receive answers, take notes. Don’t rely on remembering how good a candidate was at the end of a morning or day of interviews. Ask behavioural interview questions (link) to get a deeper and clearer understanding of the candidate’s motivations, attitude and work ethic.

(We’ve just published an article to help recruiters interview effortlessly. You can read it here (link to interview article Real Estate Investment and Funds – you’ll be receiving it in the next couple of days!).)

Your New Property Management Team Member

After the interviews, you may have a stand-out candidate. Equally likely is that you have two or more potential employees. Review your interview notes and candidates’ CVs. Think about what you have learned about the candidates’ personalities. Ask yourself who is most likely to be the best fit in your team, and most likely to help you achieve your business objectives.

Present the Offer to Candidates

Now you have selected to whom you wish to fill your property manager vacancy. Before sending the offer letter, arrange a final phone call with them. On the call, let them know that you are excited to offer them the job. Describe the offer, and if the candidate accepts verbally, send the offer letter.

Check References

All job offers should be subject to references. The candidate’s referees should confirm:

  • Current job title, duties and responsibilities
  • Current remuneration
  • Start and finish dates of employment

You might also want to ask what it is like working with the candidate, and why they left their previous positions.

Reject Applicants Professionally

It is important to treat those who you reject in a professional manner. They may not be quite the right fit for you today, but they may be tomorrow. Rejected candidates who have a had a bad experience through the hiring process will be quick to tell others that they shouldn’t consider joining your company.

Reject candidates promptly and professionally. Those candidates who you have taken to final interview may deserve a more personal rejection. Take the time to call them by phone. Write down what you plan to say before calling, stick to the script, and be supportive as you wish them luck in their ongoing search. This will keep them receptive to an approach should a different opportunity become available to which they would be better suited.

Stay Organised

A nice problem to have is being overwhelmed with applications for a role you have made available. It is essential to stay organised. This will help you keep track of progress of each candidate, and ensure you treat each equally.

Consider setting up a system that moves candidates through received, reviewed, contacted, rejected, screened, interviewed, etc. Keep accurate notes of all contacts made and received. Include interview notes in files.

Being organised will help you meet your legal obligations through the hiring process, such as antidiscrimination laws. It will also ensure you don’t neglect candidates by mistake, and that you move the best candidates through the hiring process smoothly. A professional approach to the recruitment process says much about you as a company to work for.

Be Realistic When Hiring 

When hiring for your property management job, ensure your hiring goals are realistic. No matter what the job, candidates will expect you to offer a package that is competitive and in line with the industry standard.

Talented people want to work in organisations where they can make a real difference, and in which they can grow professionally. They will help you take your business to the next level. They can inject creativity, help you realise the potential from new opportunities, and re-energise your team to improved performance.

If you would like help finding and hiring your next property management superstar, contact the Real Estate Services recruitment team at Macdonald & Company today. As the preferred recruitment partner of the RICS, our finger is firmly on the pulse of the market

Property Manager Recruitment Team

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