Leasing a chance to build on people skills

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am

Employers know very well that personality and attitude count most when it comes to hiring for service-oriented positions. However, candidates with the right attributes are not always easy to come by, and this can become an issue when a service business is in expansion mode requiring a continuous supply of talent.

So to prepare for the long-term development of its property leasing operations, Sino Land has embarked on an open-ended recruitment drive for qualified professionals who fit the company's service-oriented culture.

'We do have vacancies now, but we are prepared to hire beyond what we need now as long as there are suitable candidates because we foresee a long-term need for talent to support the continuing development of our leasing operations,' said Allan Chan Siu-wah, associate director of Sino Group's leasing department.

'As we are a people-focused business, we require our staff to have strong people skills meaning they have to be cheerful, outgoing, sincere and attentive to detail. They must also have strong initiative for upgrading themselves and be innovative and resourceful problem solvers. You don't always find such people easily, so we will consider taking on any candidate that meets these requirements apart from having the necessary academic qualifications.'

The department has 110 leasing professionals working in 13 district-based divisions. It has job opportunities at different levels ranging from leasing officers to senior leasing managers. They all require a basic first degree, while manager and senior manager positions require relevant experience of 10 years and 15 years respectively.

The recruited staff will have the opportunity to work in the company's wide-ranging property portfolio in Hong Kong covering office, retail, residential and industrial developments.

Mr Chan said that although the leasing team's work was not immediately visible to most people, they actually made an important contribution to maintaining the high quality of Sino Group properties to benefit not just tenants but also the public.

'For example, our team makes sure that each of our retail properties has a tenant mix that befits its image and target markets. This not only fosters the profit potential of our tenants, but it also gives visitors to these properties a pleasurable shopping experience,' Mr Chan said.

His team, he said, also stayed alert to developments and changes in areas like retail market trends, urban development, population distribution and demographic changes. They also initiated and guided the reorganisation of properties to keep them at optimum competitive potential and value.

'This is very demanding on the individual capabilities and experience of our leasing staff. But at the same time, we put a strong emphasis on teamwork, both within the department and with the company's other departments to maintain a consistently high level of service,' Mr Chan said.

What this means to the team is to always consider tenants' interests and be ready to go out of their way to meet demands made by individual residential tenants and attend to the business expansion needs of corporate and retail tenants.

While the team maintains cordial relations with tenants through regular courtesy visits and recreational functions, they sometimes need to mediate between tenants and help settle problems.

'We are happy to use our extensive contacts to help business tenants in need of networking resources. When we negotiate leases with tenants, we always try to be considerate and accommodating to their business needs,' Mr Chan said.

'This is all about creating a win-win situation for all concerned, which goes back to consolidating our relationship with our tenants. I am proud to say that our team is highly regarded by our tenants and such recognition is very gratifying.'

Mr Chan said that on-the-job training would be given to inexperienced staff, while enhanced training would be provided to help staff make continuous upgrades. Key training areas included legal issues, technical knowledge such as property refurbishment, marketing and people skills.

He said although each staff member would acquire specialist knowledge in their own areas of work, they had to have an all-round knowledge of property leasing to perform well in the business.

'We require our people to have a 'can-do' mindset and strive to provide total service to our tenants,' he said. 'I like to tell them that if you are able to do well in property leasing, then there's nothing you can't do!'

Solid foundations

Property leasing candidates are required at different levels - from officers to senior managers

A basic first degree is required. The experience required increases according to the seniority of the positions

Good people skills and a service-oriented attitude are key attributes

On-the-job training for inexperienced staff and continuous enhancement training for staff in general are provided