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In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a shortage of talent in the new homes industry right now. Many housebuilders and developers are looking to hire for their teams, and can often be fighting over the same small pool of people.
Companies often ask us, ‘how can we give ourselves the edge when recruiting and make sure we are the first choice for candidates?’ Well, here are some top tips on the things to consider before you begin the hiring process:
Prioritise the recruitment process
It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s not the case. Plus, it’s one of the biggest things which lets employers down. Candidates will form a big impression of your company based on their experience during the recruitment process. So it’s important to make sure it’s a good one!
Before you even begin recruiting, make sure all of the relevant people are available for key stages of the process, such as reviewing CVs, interviews and making offers. Also, ensure constructive feedback is provided to candidates and that the process moves along at a timely pace. Within new homes, hiring managers are always very busy, however, they must find the time to invest in recruiting, as good people are being snapped up quickly. A slow process will mean potentially missing out and candidates will go to a speedier competitor.
Remember too that the offer and negotiation stage is still an integral part of the recruitment process. Put your best offer out first and be sure to let the candidate know you want them. Keep in touch with them regularly throughout their notice period until the day they join, particularly if counter offers took place. You want them to remain emotionally bought into your firm and not feeling forgotten after an offer has been made.
Align with a specialist
Give yourself the best chance of filling the role by aligning yourself with and engaging a recruiter who specialises in your area - they will be able to represent you in an accurate and professional way. Be sure to work with someone who has experience of working with housebuilders and developers as well as managing agents and someone who has established networks in place. Also, make sure the recruiter takes a full brief from you and doesn’t just look at the job spec you’ve sent - a good recruiter will always ask questions, challenge you where appropriate or make alternative suggestions on a good hiring approach.
If there is an internal recruitment team, then of course use them. But consider also using a specialist external recruiter alongside your in-house team. They are most likely stretched filling lots of roles, and in such a fast-moving, candidate-led market, it’s good to give yourself the best chance of securing the right people by using all the resources you have. The advantages of a specialist external recruiter are of course that they know the market inside out and will be in contact with all the key players, with access to a wider pool of candidates.
A good recruiter can also assist with annual benchmarking exercises on salaries for existing staff and new hires. This ensures that your employees continue to be well paid and satisfied and that you remain competitive when it comes to making offers and attracting the best talent.
Unicorns don’t exist, and neither do perfect candidates. The talent pool is also pretty limited in this market, so it’s important to remain flexible on the type of candidate you would be prepared to consider. In particular, think about transferable skills and those who could potentially bring new ideas and ways of doing things from other sectors. Within the new homes sector, we are regularly seeing candidates transition across easily from the airline, beauty sales and residential resale industries. Also consider if you could hire someone more junior who could grow into the role, which might be a better long-term investment.
Think about if someone on an interim basis could be suitable while you look for the best permanent hire? Interim professionals are often available at short notice, so this could be a good stop-gap while you conduct your recruitment process and wait for your recruit to work out their notice period.
There is more to a candidate than their CV
A good recruiter will spend a lot of time meeting with candidates, discussing their backgrounds, what they’re looking for from their next role and any potential gaps in their CV. They would also have taken the time to get to know you as a company and will be doing their best to make a great match. We can’t stress enough how important it is to discuss with your recruiter about the candidates they have put forward to you, beyond what you see on their CV. There will be a good reason they’ve been shortlisted for you to consider, so be open-minded.
Ideally, you should always meet with a range of candidates so you have comparisons, and giving feedback to the recruiter is also very important. Whether it is negative or positive, they’ll want to know what you really think – that way they can learn and adapt to your requirements and find you your ideal hire.
Need further advice or help to find your next new homes hire? Get in touch, I’d love to help.
Article written by Adriana Bucur, Senior Consultant - New Homes.