Skills? Pah!

Last year, during a week that will one day become semi-affectionately referred to as The Bonkers Week In Which We Did Everything But SleepTM, a lot went on. While dealing with the purchase of a new investment property, we juggled client calls, project deadlines and a visit from my parents alongside the general day-to-day running of our businesses.

Most exhaustingly of all, Rob went on a hiring frenzy: 15 Skype interviews over two days with candidates for three new roles within two of our companies. Given the complexities of the job requirements, the pressure to find three fantastic new recruits, and a multitude of silly little distractions – including plumbers traipsing through our apartment, neighbours arguing and workmen drilling while he interviewed – you’d have thought this experience would have been the final “please excuse me while I have a meltdown” straw for him.

In fact, the hiring process was the complete opposite (a “non-final straw”?): I haven’t seen Rob so excited since he stroked a penguin in London Zoo five years ago.

The interviewees were all pretty much perfect for the respective positions they were applying for. Why? Because to be honest, we were really only seeking one thing in all of them: initiative. So when whittling down the hundreds of written applications to the 15 people we wanted to interview, we simply looked for evidence of resourcefulness, drive and spunk. For possibly the first time ever, we didn’t even mark people down for having a Yahoo address or sending their résumé as a Word document.

While of course they needed the basic experience and skills to do the job, we now know that it’s far easier to hire for attitude and train for aptitude than vice versa. We’ve had countless experiences of hiring people with the perfect skill set, but if they don’t have the right attitude then they’re sloppy, they make mistakes that they never try to learn from, and they get completely stuck when faced with an unforeseen problem – meaning our time is wasted on fixing their errors or teaching them how to do stuff.

Through building and expanding our businesses over the past few years, we’ve realised just how much we need amazing staff who’ve got the determination to help us succeed and the willingness to show us better ways of doing things.

Now that they’ve been with us a while, these new members of The Property Hub/Yellow Lettings family have been everything we’d hoped and more – and they’re constantly on hand to give us the virtual kick up the backside we know we sometimes deserve.