Expanding a flexible workspace business is a celebratory milestone for operators. Yet it also comes with a common headache: how do you find the right person to fit the role?
One of the biggest challenges within the serviced office industry is experience. As the sector evolves with each passing year, this is becoming somewhat easier – but progress is slow, and competition is intensifying.
Rachel Verghese, founder of Chatterbox Talent Ltd, understands the challenges perhaps more than most. Earlier this year Rachel set up her own recruitment consultancy dedicated to the flexible workspace sector, and now covers a wide range of staffing needs from front-of-house roles like Centre Managers, to sales led roles for serviced office brokers.
“In my experience, the top challenges flexible workspace companies face when recruiting is where to start looking!” says Rachel. “There are so many different ways of advertising a role, from traditional offline publications to online job portals and of course social media. You’ve got to send the right message too – even writing the advert is an art in itself.”
In addition to choosing when, where, and how to advertise job vacancies, the next challenge is dealing with the response.
“There is the possibility of zero response, if the advert is placed or worded wrongly. Or the reverse… you can get too many applications, and managers have to take a lot of time out of their already busy schedules to sift through CVs.”
This is a daunting challenge for workspace operators, but one that comes with the territory of running and growing a business.
For Rachel, who formerly worked for more than a decade with Express Staffing, she has developed an ability to source potential candidates with flexible workspace experience.
“That’s what makes Chatterbox a specialist in the market,” she says. When such experience is hard to come by, Rachel looks for applicants with alternative skills and experience – particularly those with a hospitality background “due to the synergy between the two industries”.
As for the main skills and personality traits to look for when filling serviced office roles, Rachel offers the following advice:
- Look for a skillset that broadly matches the industry. “This is likely to be someone who has excellent customer service skills, and who can deal with conflict or urgent situations calmly and efficiently.”
- For Centre Manager roles, the candidate will need “soft selling skills” to upsell other services within the centre, such as booking meeting rooms and recommending upgrades to IT or Telephone packages.
- Operators looking for more Senior roles will need someone with proven management skills, coupled with the ability to manage more than one centre.
- In the service sector, first impressions are everything – and that starts with an employee who is presentable. “This is key, as they will be representing the centre’s brand every single day.”
- Finally, a good candidate is open to problem-solving and thinking outside the box. “Above all they would need to be personable, approachable, and happy to go out of their way to assist clients or solve a problem.”