Attract, Engage, Retain

Attracting top talent isn’t getting any easier, but it’s certainly more fun these days. We have better ways to identify and engage with candidates, which is changing the game. Recruiting is a contact sport and I find it more exhilarating than exhausting.

Brad Schwartz and I led a thoughtful discussion about this topic recently with other property management professionals. As President of MSB Resources, a search agency specializing in multifamily, Brad has a unique perspective – finding talent for various companies. I work on the inside as a Corporate Recruiter, so my perspective is a little different. However, we do agree on some of the most important elements. Here are the rallying points that jump out:

Time is the enemy. Talent doesn’t stand still, so make sure your recruiting process can go from 0-60 very quickly. Nail down these details before you start looking, or you will be scrambling and losing valuable time. Besides, the way you interview candidates sends a signal. Make the experience positive from application to offer letter.

Pay for it. Top talent commands top dollar. Their contributions are worth every penny. It’s not all about the money, but you should be generous. Follow the market, so you know what’s really “competitive”.

Be connected. It’s all about who you know and who they know. Get out there, go to industry events, talk to people, get recommendations from friends/colleagues/vendors. Build your network before you need it.  When used properly, LinkedIn can make your cold-calls a little warmer.

ABC and ABB. Always Be Closing and Always Be Branding. ABC – make sure you discuss a possible counter-offer because it will probably happen (if the candidate is good). ABB – Recruitment marketing will enhance your efforts. Be creative, consistent and honest with your message. Get your marketing department involved.

Spread it around and make adjustments. There is no complete solution. If you want to utilize  social networks, don’t think you have to be everywhere. Start small.  If you want to recruit on campus, have a strategy first (identify which schools, which majors). If you want to leverage technology, don’t forget the personal touch.   

Sales 101. The key to any sales job is to understand the customers needs well enough to tailor your presentation to them. In other words, don’t go fishing with strawberries.

Once you’ve hired them, the real work begins. Keeping talent happy isn’t always easy, but if you matched the right person with the right job – that’s a fine start.  Onboard them, allow them to contribute, reward and recognize their efforts and build mutual trust.