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Attracting NextGen Talent to Your Team

February 20, 2019 | Barry Blanton CPM

Barry Blanton, CPM

NextGen” refers to people who are new to the real estate management industry, or often new to the working world in general. Attracting and retaining talented “NextGens” is important to the success of your business, and here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you work to attract them to your company:

You are competing with the world-at-large for talent. 

  • Don’t hesitate to look outside the industry. Experience matters, but finding well-educated, intelligent people that fit your corporate culture matters as much or more than experience alone does. People can be taught about the real estate management industry (and IREM can be a valuable partner in doing that). However, intelligence, talent, innate enthusiasm or personality can’t be taught; you have to find people who already possess those traits.
  • Tell the "customer" what you need the customer to know. Jeff Brotman, co-founder of Costco, once told me, “You just need to tell the customer what you need the customer to know.” Real estate management can be a great career choice, but lots of talented NextGens simply don't know anything about real estate management as an option. Every touchpoint throughout the hiring process, from job posting to final job offer, presents an opportunity to tell them the story of this industry, your company, what you stand for and what sets your company apart from other companies (both in- and outside the real estate management industry).
  • During their interviews, ask customers what they are looking for. What do they care passionately about? What would a perfect work environment look like to them? What's their idea of exceptional customer service? And by all means, encourage them to interview you back. It isn't just about what you need; it's also about what they need—this is an important decision for both of you. The whole point of an interview is to get to know one another, and if by the end of the interview you’ve accomplished that, it was time well spent! 

Make your best offer

Consider what NextGen employees value, how you can offer it and why you would offer it. Certainly salary matters (and you get what you pay for), but there’s got to be more to the offer than just money. This might include any expanded benefits you provide. Your company might offer additional benefits such as flexible scheduling or working remotely; corporate programs for supporting charities or social engagement; casual, creative work environments, etc. You should speak to each of these and why you provide them. In addition, NextGen employees tend to care deeply about career paths and advancement opportunities, celebration and acknowledgement. The intent here is not to “sell” them, but to illustrate the differences between your company and others they might be considering.

What can they learn from you... and what can you learn from them?

NextGens are eager to learn and grow. You can also learn a lot from NextGens about ways the business environment is changing and how to keep your company current and relevant. Today, more than ever, strong relationships are predicated on respect, and trust matters. Change is inevitable - it always has been - but it is occurring faster today than ever before. NextGen employees can help you and your company adapt and succeed in an ever-changing environment.

Barry Blanton, CPM and 2019 IREM senior vice president, is co-founder and “chief problem solver” of Seattle-based Blanton Turner, AMO, the 2016 REME Award recipient for AMO of the Year.

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