The Operator’s Guide to Hiring Technical Individuals in Commercial Real Estate
COVID rocked the globe to a melancholy beat. But digging deeper, we see the pandemic recalibrated many of the world’s dynamics, with the real estate industry experiencing its share of the effects of this reset.
Now, employers in commercial real estate are realizing that hiring technical individuals is much more competitive than in the past. To overcome the staffing difficulties, CRE firms need to be up to date with and continually adopt new technologies and innovations to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment.
That is, the stakes are high — extinction or subsistence are equally possible — so it’s imperative managers hire qualified individuals with the right tech skills. But even amid these personnel shortages, some businesses are adequately staffed with tech experts, a situation they engineered with diligent, targeted recruiting strategies.
Real estate companies will be much more effective in hiring technical individuals if they are proactive and design well-structured interviewing and onboarding processes that establish rapport, build trust, and convey organizational values and culture.
In this article, we’ll look at how to differentiate your operation in the labor market and how to use an interview to convince tech professionals that your brand and working environment will fulfill their personal and career objectives.
Today’s highly competitive hiring environment requires a new playbook
There was a time when physical borders allowed companies to cherrypick the best minds in their regions — not anymore.
The advancement of the internet and global connectivity has eroded that edge and equalized the labor landscape so that hiring transcends geographical barriers and technical duties can be performed remotely from anywhere — coffee shops in Barcelona, coworking spaces in Denver, living rooms in Antananarivo, etc.
This new setup opens the path for tech talent to launch or further their careers with startups, midsize organizations, and conglomerates all over the world.
The implication of this reciprocal access — talent ⇋ companies — is that businesses are competing with not only local entities in the same sector but also global firms in other industries. And given humanity’s relentless attempt to digitize every operation and supplant workers with AI and robotics, tech staff and their skill sets will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.
Consequently, if tech candidates (entry-level and seasoned pros alike) are exploring other industries, how can real estate recruiters position their firms as the workplace for promoting careers?
To begin with, operators must move swiftly to headhunt and attract candidates most qualified for each technical role. Within this context, the traditional hiring process is too rigid and slow to respond to the dynamic demands of modern-day recruitment.
Instead, experts recommend a prompt approach where talent hunters are prepared to immediately reach out to candidates qualified for the advertised vacancies.
Also, real estate startups and medium-sized companies often cannot match the benefits and standards offered by larger corporations. To compensate for this gap, these modest-sized companies must sell the working experience and culture to candidates.
The prospects of a supportive, transformative work environment can convince them to trade stodgy cubicles for organic workspaces. A work culture predicated on equity, inclusion, and authenticity is vital for talent acquisition and retention in the tech sphere.
Finally, it is essential to gauge the candidate’s perspective, understanding, and technical skill sets from the outset. This will allow you to move faster and focus on other aspects not typically addressed during candidate interviews.
What to look for when interviewing applicants
The key qualities to look for when interviewing technical individuals are competence and culture fit. Competence evaluation starts with identifying the critical attributes for the role and ensuring the candidate’s responses, documentation, and references provide satisfactory validation of those skills and qualifications.
Assessing culture fit, on the other hand, is trickier. Nevertheless, evaluating this factor is possible when we closely examine how the tech applicants’ values align with your firm’s core values. Lastly, it is important to look for indicators that you can build a relationship and rapport with the candidate.
How to approach and carry out the interview
A structured interview process will resonate well with candidates and allow you to enlist the services of qualified technical talent. At this stage, the diligence and tone of your approach is crucial.
First of all, determine the most important qualifications and attributes candidates will require for the role. Once you have clearly defined the key selection criteria, review the submitted applications carefully and promptly prepare a shortlist of the most qualified candidates.
Still, before you proceed to the interviews, ensure there are no applicants with weak credentials that aren’t serious contenders for the position given the final pool. In any case, we advise you go into the interview with the appropriate attitude and foster a cordial, transparent atmosphere so the candidate is comfortable and can learn as much as possible about your company (and you them).
Emphasize at the outset that they should feel comfortable asking tough questions at any point in the interview process. Further, throughout the conversation, ask the candidate to voice their concerns about your firm so you can imply how essential transparency and open dialogue are in your company’s culture.
This interview structure will allow you to effectively determine if the candidate’s personality and workplace expectations align with your firm’s goals and priorities. To make such an assessment, you need to dive into your company’s core values, priorities, initiatives, and elaborate on the nature of the work environment you offer. Also, avoid exaggerations or ambiguity — applicants appreciate a realistic description of the work culture.
Pursuing this approach will fill the candidate with confidence about working at your firm and whether their creative and technical skills will be celebrated or reined in.
In our experience, ensuring potential employees have a crystallized perception of their responsibilities and the nature of the work environment will improve a company’s image among job seekers, including both those starting out and those with years of experience.
Tilting the odds in your favor
Tech talents are indispensable in today’s workplace but are in short supply, not to mention they represent a workforce attuned to flexibility and the remote work approach. In other words, successful recruiting requires that we pivot and pioneer in the development and application of interviewing and onboarding processes.
Additionally, organizations in nearly every sectors need these professionals and are willing to accommodate their requirements and values. For CRE companies, especially startups, the perennial demand and competition for labor have made hiring technical individuals as competitive as ever.
That said, being proactive and prepared in terms of what to focus on, what to look for during the interview, and how to approach and carry out the interview can swing the balance in your favor and ensure you hire an adequate number of the most qualified technical individuals.