The single most critical factor in determining the success of a self-storage property is simple: Its the manager! A great manager can make up for a tough location, an older building and a small marketing budget. Follow the steps below to make sure youre searching for managers the right way.
If you operate a highly occupied property, you may be searching for someone tenants will love, someone who will keep operations running smoothly and maintain occupancy. For lease-up properties, look for someone with more experience in sales and marketing who will close every lead and help generate more phone calls.
Regardless of your facilitys occupancy, you should look for a technologically savvy manager, so start your search online. There are many free job-posting websites including Craigslist.com, Thejobspider.com and Todays-classifieds.com. Post a listing that tells potential applicants whats in it for thembenefits, opportunities for advancement, a team that respects one another, autonomy, payall the major job functions and applicant requirements. The better your posting, the more qualified your responses will be.
A good job description, including an outline of benefits, will hopefully weed out some of the unqualified applicants. You can also use a website such as Payscale.com to determine what a fair salary and structure is for the position in which youre hiring.
Resumes and Interviews
During the resume review and interview process, look for experiences and attitudes that fit with the position youre looking to fill. Can the applicant handle all the tasks managers need to juggle? Look for discipline, organization skills, planning experience, and a get it done attitude. Will your tenants love this applicant? Will the other team members enjoy spending time with him? Look for a good communicator whos confident and has a friendly demeanor. Also look for individuals with high energy. Will they be able to solve problems as they arise?
Your new employee should understand the big picture, make objective decisions based on logic and common sense, troubleshoot issues, and analyze situations effectively. Many of your interview questions will be the same for every applicant, but youll also want to note any specific questions based on your resume reviews.
If possible, have multiple people interview your top choices to sort out any natural bias. Also, make sure at least one interview is done in person, and the applicant gets a tour of the property so he fully understands what the job entails before accepting the position. Nothing is worse than having to go through the whole process again a couple weeks later because the first person you hired expected an easy desk job!
Personality Tests and Background Checks
Its challenging to really understand the way someone will perform a job based on a few conversations. There are many personality assessments on the market that can help you determine if the applicant truly has the personality traits and skills needed to perform the job. A simple online search can help you find an affordable testing service.
While your top candidates are working on their personality assessment, you should conduct a criminal background check and a credit check. Your managers will have access to financial records, personal information and cash on a daily basis. Making sure theyre good citizens and not in a critical financial situation of their own is always worth the investment. You may also want to include drug testing.
After youve reviewed the results of the final tests and checks, you can make an informed decision. Make an offer over the phone or in person, and follow up with an official offer letter. Let your new employee know who will be training him, and what to expect during the training period. The more information your new employee has, the smoother his first few weeks will go.
Finally, watch your occupancy and revenue rise. Its amazing what a great manager can do for your investment.
Alyssa Quill is vice president and marketing partner of Storage Asset Management Inc. in York, Pa. The company provides full-service management, consulting and website development services to self-storage owners on the East Coast. For more information, call 717.779.0044.
Eight Steps to Effective Hiring
- Determine the skills and personality traits youre seeking as well as your pay scale.
- Post ads to generate responses.
- Review and pull out top resumes.
- Create a list of interview questions.
- Conduct phone and face-to-face interviews.
- Do personality assessments and reference checks.
- Perform background, credit and drug tests.
- Make an offer and create a training schedule.
Sample Interview Questions
To find out how applicants will treat customers:
- In what situation have you put yourself in your customers shoes? How has that hurt or helped you in past positions?
- Give me an example of a time you had to seek a professional-service contract. How did customer service impact your decision?
To uncover organization and management skills:
- What would you do if you had to hire someone to replace you at your old job before you could start a new one? How would you find someone?
To find out how the applicants will handle situations under pressure:
- You have a new rental in front of you, an angry lien customer walking through the office door, and the phone is ringing. What do you do next?
To get an understanding of their problem-solving skills:
- How many people will fly between Los Angeles and Philadelphia today?