Hiring Practices for the Modern Property Manager

You will never regret hiring someone who has all the characteristics you need — and only few of the “Essential Requirements” listed in the job ad.

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One of the more cutting-edge trends in the American corporate world of hiring based on personality traits over skills, is starting to filter its way down to the small businesses of the US, and we’ve been playing with it a little bit lately with some success. We thought we’d share our experience with you.

Why Worry About Hiring In the First Place?

Not that many small- to medium-sized business owners have done the math, but Talent and HR Magazine has estimated the following cost to replace employees:

  • Entry-level employees cost 30%~50% of their annual salary.
  • For mid-level employees, you’re looking at ~150% of their annual salary.
  • And for the brass, it’s up to 400% of their annual salary.

Consider, then, what happens in a year where just 6 of the say 20 entry-level employees in your business are replaced (no matter what the reason).  If you assume (on the low end!) that 6 entry-level employees each only cost one-third of their annual salary to replace, those six employees cost two annual salaries’ worth of funds to replace — and that’s not counting any of the actual wages paid to either the replaced employee or the replacing employee!

Obviously, when you realize just how much money you lose every time you have to replace an employee, you start realizing just how important it is to hire employees that “fit” in your organization.

The Hiring Process of Yesteryear

For decades, the process of hiring a new worker has started with the same basic questions, which are all fundamentally designed to answer three questions for the employer:

  1. Do you have experience relevant to the job?
  2. Can I afford you?
  3. Are you going to cause as many or more problems than you will solve?

The idea being that if you weed out the dillweeds, the prospects who have already proven they can do the job and are willing to take what you’re willing to pay — are the best ones to fill your position. This concept focuses on reducing training costs, payroll costs, and HR costs while getting the job done.

But it’s not really the best idea for hiring an employee you intend to have for years to come — because skills can be taught, but “fit” is much, much harder to find.

Hiring for Personality Traits

Today’s corporate headhunters do look for relevant experience — they’d be stupid not to. But before they filter their pool of candidates by experience, they filter for the personality traits that matter to their business. What traits are those? This Forbes article gives a great cross-section of what modern business leaders are interested in.

Ultimately, though, the personality traits that you look for need to be based on two things:

  1. The personality traits the position you’re hiring to fill inherently requires, and
  2. The personality traits needed to fit in to your business’ overall culture

So for example, if you’re hiring someone to join the Accounting Department, you want them to be meticulous, analytical, and patient. When you’re hiring someone as a handyman, you want them to be creative, tenacious, and personable. When you’re hiring someone to manage handymen, you want them to be personable, analytical, and cool under pressure.

And if your company is advertising that its Unique Selling Proposition is “We take better records and have better communication than our competitors,” you’d better have plenty of people who work there that are meticulous and personable, regardless of what position they’re in.

Skills can be learned — but hiring someone who is introverted, neurotic, and disagreeable to an ‘outward facing’ position like customer service will never, ever work out, no matter how many skills they gain.

Posted in: 1. Property Owner Blog Posts, Hiring Property Manager

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