Éric Bernard, Headhunter at Performance Recruitment (by Group RP) and real estate specialist with more than 30 years of experience, offers valuable advice to companies seeking to improve their hiring process and recruit qualified staff more easily in a labour shortage context.
French article originally published in Gestion Immobilière – Volume 12 | No. 2 (page 62). Written by Éric Bernard.
Employers in the real estate industry often ask me for advice on how to attract the best candidates and to make their hiring / recruiting process more efficient. There were years when employers had the luxury of taking their time, since they could choose from a large pool of great candidates. I wish that was always the case! In today's market, top talents don't wait; they analyze the multiple offers that are presented to them and decide quickly. Employers must therefore be realistic and responsive.
Let's set aside the salary question from the get-go. While it should be seen as an indicator of an employee's worth, I like to steer clear of candidates who value their paycheck as being the most important aspect to them. They will generally favour the highest bidder today, tomorrow, and often right before starting a new job. Salary is rarely an issue in securing a hire when everyone knows the current market and when the real motivations for change lie elsewhere.
Organizations should provide an up-to-date compensation policy, which may have to be revised more than once a year, considering the current labour shortage and inflationary context. Employees are increasingly informed and solicited, and we can all agree that training new ones is a considerable expense – making pay equity disagreements with candidates unprofitable for a company. This can have a significant negative impact on the team in place. Companies must have the courage to keep all wages on par with the market. This can be budgeted.
When we take on a recruitment mandate for a client, we consider where to focus to improve the existing role and candidate experience.
Here are some tips to strengthen the recruitment process and make gains when it comes to efficiency and speed.
1. A GOOD JOB DESCRIPTION
Does your organization have short and attractive job descriptions? Being able to describe what the job entails and what sets you apart as an employer of choice is what will attract your next colleague. We often see job postings changed throughout the hiring process because they don't attract candidates who have the skills the company really needs.
2. PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Companies sometimes try to fill an immediate need without thinking about the future. This leads them to constantly restructure and experience high employee turnover, which demotivates candidates. Even if the current generation changes jobs more often, it is beneficial to highlight the possibilities for promotion, development, and training. These initiatives show talents that you want to invest in their growth. It may be worth taking the time to define a skills profile specific to your organization.
3. GOING BACK TO THE WORKPLACE FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
Even in real estate management, the advantages of working remotely are well established. There are many tools to measure and even monitor work and productivity. Most employees want flexibility to carry out their tasks where and when they want. If companies require going back to the workplace, they must sell their staff on the benefits and provide valid reasons for such a decision. Those reasons should be directly related to tasks and work organization. It is true that some training, collaboration, and social activities are more beneficial and efficient in person. I recommend providing clear remote-work and time management policies. Remember to include conditions regarding remote work from abroad, if applicable.
4. A SIMPLE INTERVIEW PROCESS
How many interviews do applicants go through with your company? For entry-level to intermediate-level positions, two are enough – a virtual one to begin with and a second interview face-to-face. We see more and more companies recording interviews, which allows for reviewing and sharing. Senior executive interviews are another matter, though. Sometimes three or four interviews are appropriate. Don't do more or you run the risk of losing top candidates. They get hired very quickly, so there is no time to waste preparing for interviews and managing conflicting schedules. Make sure to do the following from the start of the process:
- Choose the number of interviews needed and the team who will conduct them.
- Share job details and essential skills to the hiring team, so that each person involved targets the same skills and communicates a consistent message to candidates.
- Is the team ready to make concessions if you find interesting candidates who do not meet all the essential requirements?
- Ask your teams to block out days and times for interviews so that the process goes quickly, without being delayed by scheduling issues.
- Schedule time slots outside normal working hours for face-to-face meetings with candidates who are currently employed.
- Schedule candidate debriefs immediately after interviews to determine what the next steps should be.
5. QUICKLY MAKE AN ATTRACTIVE OFFER
If you have strong recruiters on the team, they will have had conversations with your candidates early in the process. They will therefore know what kind of salary and benefits will convince them to take the job. You need to show candidates that you understand their value.
Check your candidates’ professional background to get more information on them, as few provide bad references. I encourage employers to make a written offer, conditional on suitable references and verification.
As you can see, recruiting is far from simple. By positioning your company as an attractive employer and by implementing effective hiring processes as well as clear roles and professional growth opportunities, you will notice a big difference in your hunt for qualified personnel.