Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

Hiring in Senior LivingWhat is your recipe for hiring a successful senior living sales person at your retirement community?  There are so many qualified candidates, what are your must have personality traits?  When I interview, here are the qualities that I look for in no particular order:

1)   Phone Experience and Voice – The applicant needs a great phone voice to even qualify for a live interview with me!  What is their history of making calls?  Have they made 50 calls in at least one day of their career?  How many calls did they need to make in order to have one live customer?  Phone calling can be one third of the job to fill the building.  It is crucial to have ongoing phone contact with our leads to make cool leads – warm, warm leads – hot and hot leads turning into move-ins.

2)   Real Sales Experience – They need to be able to give examples of how to warm people up, find communality, do discovery and educate the customer on a wonderful service.  I need to be able to visualize them describing our Continuing Care Retirement Community or Assisted Living.  I don’t require a background in senior living sales.

3)   Closing Experience – What is their closing ratio?  How many live customers do they need in order to achieve one sale?  Did they close me?

4)   Listener – If they practice good listening skills with me, then they can do the same for the customer.  This is vital…

5)   Teachable – Are they willing to learn and grow?  Some people want to live in a rut.  I want someone who can morph themselves and strategize the sales presentation and closing techniques based on the current economy.  I want someone who is willing to be a student of this business.

6)   Genuine – Are they believable?  Will the customer embrace their passion?

7)   Sincere love and compassion for seniors – Have they ever cared for a senior or helped find skilled nursing care for a relative or neighbor?  Do they have a history in working with seniors?

8)   Team Player – Is it all about them or do they enjoy and contribute to a team approach?  Operations definitely has a team approach in caring for the residents.  Marketing works best with a team approach as well!  I like to hear examples…

9)   Motivated by helping others improve their lives? – Does this rock their boat or is it all money, money, money?

10)   Education – If they had the dedication to complete their schooling, then they can have the dedication to fill the building.

11)    Professional Appearance – Great smile, well groomed and speaks well – These are all a must!

12)   Computer Literate? – Can they type at a decent speed, navigate through Word and Excel and learn a new database quickly?

Please share your top 12 favorite traits in hiring a senior housing sales person or feel free to add onto mine…

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog:


  1. Group: Mature Market Experts
    Discussion: Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

    Great tips! I would add energy and enthusiasm. That could fall under “genuine.” If you love what you do and are engaged and truly believe in it then your future residents and their families will instantly be at ease. They won’t feel like they are being “sold” to. Thank you for the great article!

    Posted by Shannon Grieb

  2. Group: Senior Assisted Living Sales, Marketing & Operations
    Discussion: Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

    @Diane Masson: Thanks so much for this information…I worked in marketing at senior communities for over 7 years, and now provide social media for the senior care, financial and housing industries. I looked at your list of traits, and you definitely have it covered! I would not add a thing. Cheers and happy holidays!!! :)

    Posted by Diane Castro

  3. Group: Senior Assisted Living Sales, Marketing & Operations
    Discussion: Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

    Great job on detailing the list of traits!

    Posted by Angela Olea, RN

  4. Thank you for providing this information about the traits needed to fill a senior living community. It is good to know that employees and nurses should be good listeners. This would enhance relationships and build trust. Something else to consider would be to hire people with good communication skills. This would go a long way in a senior living community.