Years in business have taught me that few things are as critical to success as building a great team. High performing organizations have some common traits. Everybody needs to have a good attitude, be a good fit for their role, and fit into a cohesive culture. Getting there requires careful hiring.
Prior experience is very valuable, but for many roles I do not consider it essential if the applicant has other experiences and traits. I look to hire hardworking, team-oriented, growth-mindset applicants. I can teach a new associate the real estate business, but it’s much harder to teach persistence and grit. Some of my best hires have come to me with limited experience but a great attitude.
Smart people often learn to hide their flaws behind sterling resumes and polished interview skills. Personality tests offer a useful way to weed out bad-fit candidates. One test that I like emphasizes the critical fit-for-the-role element of hiring. It can help differentiate a natural salesperson from an analyst, for example. Other tests can offer a useful measure of traits like conscientiousness, truthfulness and teamwork orientation.
There are a ton of different personality tests, and none of them does everything. They each offer a different tool for revealing particular strengths and weaknesses in a candidate. I would never use them as as a substitute for normal job application materials like resumes, references, and interviews. Instead, they supplement a standard job application, helping to confirm an applicant’s story, or reveal telling inconsistencies. By using this total-package approach, I’m less likely to be fooled.
At Alliance, we’ve spent years carefully cultivating our brand, so that investors, bankers, real estate brokers, etc. trust us to do a great job and do it quickly. The firm’s reputation is at stake with every deal and every external interaction, so it’s essential to hire people who will be assets to our brand, as well as cultural fits.
Most applicants know what they’re supposed to say in an interview. Personality tests help me weed out inauthentic applicants by hitting them from a variety of different angles. In a high-performing team, there’s no room for bad hires. Only those who are prepared to learn, grow, put the team first, and do what it takes to get the job done will do. If they have those key traits and their personality matches the role, the rest will take care of itself.