September 29, 2016
In this executive Q&A, Kent Elliott, principal at national real estate recruiting firm RETS Associates, shares three top tips for executing a successful search process that brings aboard the right candidate who will support long-term growth.
Additionally, Patrick McGinley, president of management services at Vestar, adds his own insights, based on his company’s recent search for a VP of property management, with support from RETS. Phoenix-based Vestar manages, acquires and develops retail space. The company’s portfolio contains 26 million square feet across the West and Southwest.
Kent Elliott’s Tip #1: When beginning the search process, assess the entire talent pool – not just the candidates who apply to a job opening.
Pat McGinley (PM): We view each hiring opportunity as just that – an opportunity to build our team’s knowledge base and skills through the best practices that new talent introduces. When assessing an opening, we also aim to hire team members who will be with us for the long term, and hopefully through retirement. We take our brand and our reputation seriously, which is why we engaged a professional search firm to help us identify and qualify every possible candidate in the region. By following the first step in our partner RETS’ process, and evaluating all possible options, we ensured we would find the best candidate who fit our culture and desired skill set.
Elliott’s Tip #2: Don’t skip over talent just because you have a current or past relationship with them.
PM: RETS unearthed many qualified candidates. But through the process, we selected a former Vestar employee. He worked for us in 2008 and since then, has gained more market knowledge and experience, and became a fantastic leader. It’s easy to have a preconceived opinion of someone, especially a former employee, and make decisions based on those notions. To ensure we were making the right choice (not the easy choice), we knew it would be necessary to leverage a recruiter and its non-biased opinion.
Elliott’s Tip #3: Be aware of the current state of the hiring market, and have a succession plan.
PM: We want our employees to be with us to retirement. Therefore, we approached this search with the future of both the candidate and Vestar in mind. As a company, our goals are to increase client touch points to help us grow with our existing relationships. We also want to provide new growth opportunities to our team, and empower a business development person to drive continued growth. Through this hiring process, we selected a VP who not only meets our current needs, but future needs, as well.