Inside Alliance – Q&A with Greta Schneider, Director of Talent

With the multifamily industry growing every year, scouting out strong applicants to fill vacancies can prove to be a challenging task for recruiters. Companies are now looking to colleges and universities for interns as a way to “test drive” and shape potential talent. As Director of Talent at Alliance, Greta Schneider is the brains behind our recruiting and personnel acquisition programs, and she had some interesting facts to share about Alliance’s internship program and how it’s evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of the company.

How does the internship work – what will someone in the position experience?

We have three internship programs in place at Alliance. The first is a development associate internship opportunity for MBA students focusing on real-estate development and the second is a sales associate internship. The third comprises a variety of operational support internships at our corporate office in Phoenix, mainly in the sales and accounting/finance areas.

With regard to the internship experience, I’ll use our sales associate internship program as an example. This is an 11-week program beginning with one week (five business days) of training. This includes instructor-led training, online coursework and role-playing/shadowing activities, and candidates must complete a pre- and post-test during the training period to determine whether they are ready to continue the internship program as an on-site sales associate. Those who pass spend the next 10 weeks working on-site at various Alliance-managed communities in the area.

Our interns experience a comprehensive introduction to Alliance and the property management field. They acquire highly marketable skills and experience pertaining to every aspect of running a successful business, including sales/marketing, customer service, business management and administrative functions.

What qualities make a good intern?

We are looking for students who exhibit intellectual curiosity and demonstrate leadership qualities. We want interns who are looking for the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience and show a desire to make a positive contribution to our organization. Our most successful interns possess world-class customer-service skills and excellent communication techniques, and have a competitive nature that allows them to thrive in an ever-changing environment.

How has the program evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of the company?

We continue to expand our program to meet our growing business needs. The formalized sales associate internship program has helped grow our pipeline of qualified candidates that may or may not have thought about a career in property management.

Once the internship is finished, do any ever stay with the company? If so, in what capacity?

Yes! Approximately 25 percent of our sales associate interns have returned to work with us during breaks from school, and another 25 percent have been able to stay on with us in a full-time sales associate capacity while completing their degrees, thanks to their flexible class schedules. At the corporate office, we’ve had interns return each summer and continue to expand responsibilities in their respective areas — typically to match their degree focus.

How else can you measure success of the program?

In addition to tracking return and hire rates, we closely monitor performance throughout each internship period and evaluate the number of referrals interns send to us from their respective schools.