Thanks to advancements in technology, the average surveyor’s working life has markedly changed over the past few years. What skills should the modern property professional possess? Is experience sought over qualifications? Is it better to be a tech wizard or a stunning salesman? Two more recruiters share their insights on the skills and qualities they are seeking most – and what candidates will need in the future.
Having experience shouldn’t mean you have nothing to learn
Neale Smith is head of recruitment at UK firm Connells Survey & Valuation
The world of surveying will dramatically change in the next 10 years. The technology curve is making the way we work faster and more efficient, while the huge intake of tech-savvy, young chartered and AssocRICS-qualified surveyors will bring down the average age of the profession. Furthermore, we will probably see more lenders using automated valuation technology on low-value properties. The marketplace will get more competitive, and surveyors will have to differentiate themselves to get an advantage. This could be by having exceptional local knowledge, reputation for high quality and accuracy, or offering a particular in-demand service.
Candidates should also note how the marketplace is becoming more competitive, due to the way the assignment of work is changing. Mortgage lenders are increasingly recognising the skills of AssocRICS-qualified residential surveyors, so much so that experienced AssocRICS surveyors now carry out the same work for them as chartered surveyors.
I would say experience isn’t everything. For us, it is more important that candidates are in tune with the company ethos of “getting it right first time”, and have the polite and flexible customer service skills that make you memorable. Just because you have 20 years’ experience, it shouldn’t mean you have nothing else to learn.
Client facing work means communications skills are essential
Donna Banks is a recruitment manager at Joshua Robert in Birmingham and Worcester
An ability to “just do the day job” isn’t quite enough anymore. Recruiters want people who can demonstrate strategic thinking and bring value to a company and its clients. Such candidates also tend to be more successful over the long term within a company, and gain more opportunities for promotion. As so much work is client facing, great communication skills are essential, too – surveying has probably become one of the industry’s most sociable professions.
For me, likeability is very important. Someone with strong interpersonal skills, who knows how to deal with people from all walks of life, will always be somewhere near the top of the list of ideal candidates. A recruiter will have certain questions running through their mind: how is this person coming across? Can we see you fitting well into a particular business? How are you going to act with our client?
A good deal of experience is necessary, but having great personal qualities will differentiate you in the marketplace. Many businesses look for people who can be a bit entrepreneurial – by building client trust and bringing more money into the firm. If you consider your role not as just your job, but as your mini business, this can help you think outside of your limitations and push you forward into new challenges.
Originally published in RICS Modus January 2019. Read in full here.