For Charles Schreiber, finding the best talent is only the tip of the human resources iceberg. At KBS Realty Advisors, that talent needs to be trained and prepared to jump directly into their new jobs.
KBS has a work force of 200, and Schreiber wants any new hires to be able to assume their full job responsibilities with 60 to 90 days of coming aboard. In that two- to three-month window, new hires need an education in the culture and structure of the real estate and investment firm, which CEO Schreiber co-founded in 1992.
Smart Business spoke with Schreiber about identifying and grooming top performers.
What are some of the key factors that you want to see in someone you employ?
An overused term is looking for the self-starter, but we are looking for people who are really thinkers. We give people a lot of responsibilities and the ability to grow in their job. So the people within KBS are problem solvers. They’re looking to improve not only their performance, but the performance of their whole team. We’re looking for leaders who not only finish their tasks by the end of the day, but sometime during the day and week, they take time and focus on how things can be improved, how things can be changed.
Another big one is integrity. That is our whole culture here. We work as a team, so we’re accountable to each other, so for example the performance in our reporting group and the fact that they’re completing their reports on a timely basis will have an impact on our reporting group. So if the accounting group is late, the reporting group is going to have trouble getting their reports out and distributed within a time schedule. They have to work evenings or weekends because the accounting group didn’t get their work done. So that is critical, the effort each group puts into their job and working as a team.
How do you identify a self-starter?
Sometimes it’s really simple. It’s something we’ve embraced and done for 20 years. All of the leaders in our company, I request that when somebody within their team comes to them with a problem, don’t bring the problem to them without bringing a recommendation along with it.
That is a fundamental step. If I have to solve the problem, I don’t need that employee. I just have to go do it myself. The positive is it requires everyone to think. The negative is that if somebody comes in with recommendations and you’re the supervisor, you really don’t want to say no. You want to encourage their ideas. So you need to manage that appropriately. So I think that it is a fundamental trait within a company like ours. Everybody at every level is solving their own problems, coming up with recommendations, and having the approvals that allow people to solve their own problems.
In the recruitment and interview process, how are you getting a feel for whether a person will be the right fit?
You have to be fairly challenging in the interview process. If I’m interviewing the person, they’re going to come in and have a key role within the company. I’ll go through at least two, if not three, meetings with them, and I’ll challenge them on their business skills. On the skills of etiquette, timeliness and just the fundamentals of being a good business person. I’ll challenge them on their dedication to their career, on their priorities, not only in their career but their life. You want people who are going to be successful not only in their business, but in their entire life. Hopefully by working with KBS, they’re going to have the tools where they can pursue personal goals. Those personal goals are really of interest to me.
How to reach: KBS Realty Advisors, (949) 417-6500 or www.kbsrealty.com