Finding the right staff is important but, unless you know exactly what you are looking for, you cannot accurately assess and evaluate a candidate during the selection process.
Of course, it is important to know what technical skills and experience are required, and to assess these accurately, but it is crucial to assess the subtler elements, such as emotional intelligence and cultural fit.
Assessing hard skills
What are the core requirements for the role you are looking for in terms of hard skills? Hard skills are measurable proficiencies that come from experience or training. For example, the HOA bookkeeper you are looking for may be required to use a certain software program. This can be assessed through answers to preprepared competency-based interview questions, whereby the candidate is encouraged to give examples of times that they demonstrated certain skills using the particular software program. You could also develop a short practical assessment.
Assessing soft skills
It is important that you also think about which soft skills are needed for the role. Soft skills are inherent personality traits that are trickier to teach, and harder to measure. So how can you determine which soft skills to look for? Think about which soft skills would be of benefit to the role. For example, you may be recruiting a receptionist for the HOA office, and you would need someone with an ability to relate to various types of home owners, so you would want someone with strong interpersonal skills. Also think about which attributes the previous job holder had that were beneficial to the role, and which weren’t.
Once the candidate is in front of you, you can assess the candidate’s soft skills in the interview by giving them an opportunity to demonstrate this skill. For example, you could ask, ‘Can you think of a time when you had to deal with an irate customer? How did you do this?’ You can also read between the lines to see how they demonstrate this skill in the way they talk to you. Do you feel that they come across as confident and calm?
Soft skills are not to be underestimated when interviewing for new talent; they can be the difference between a candidate that’s good on paper, and one that’s great in practice.
How to determine cultural fit
Do you know what your HOA’s culture is? Why would someone want to work for your particular HOA? Whether you are aware of it or not, an HOA has a culture, and the type of culture differs from HOA to HOA. It is determined by the leaders, board members, community manager and senior managers of an HOA, who all have the power to set the tone for culture. In most cases, a culture cannot be dictated, but it can be communicated, and you will be able to spot those who can’t adapt to it.
Also, the HOA leaders, board members and community managers need to know what type of leaders they are, and how this influences the culture. This is critical in assessing the culture and assisting with the selection of new talent. What type of leaders do employees think lead the HOA and how does this influence the culture? This is certainly applicable to an HOA or body corporate, as the leaders (board members) will change as and when a new board is elected.
Lee Lacocca, CEO of Chrysler Corporation, once said, ‘I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.’ While this leadership style may not be for everyone, it could be an advantage to be able to get out of your employees’ way and have the confidence that they will be able to get the job done, plus some.