flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Fostering a Culture of Growth and Excellence

billboard - default

Fostering a Culture of Growth and Excellence

It starts with a rigorous interview process and taking your time to make the best choice

December 14, 2015

In the December 2015 issue, we profiled Neal Communities, Professional Builder’s 2015 Builder of the Year. During the downturn, this builder didn’t just survive—it thrived. When we traveled to Florida to see Neal, editorial director Denise Dersin, senior editor Mike Beirne, and I met with folks throughout the company: sales, human resources, operations, design, marketing, land acquisition, financial, and purchasing. We talked to top managers and project superintendents. We toured model homes and the design center. We talked to new employees and long-timers alike.

Everyone impressed us with smarts, talent, and ambition. But there was something else: A pervasive vibe of people doing and enjoying work they’re well-suited for—a good fit, the right match. It’s no coincidence: Owner Pat Neal is involved in every hire, says Southwest Florida regional president Michael Greenberg, an industry veteran who contends that such deep involvement from the top is unique to Neal Communities. Greenberg’s own interview process lasted two months, with both sides carefully checking each other out. 

Taking time. Interviewing with Neal involves at least eight steps, says Tashara Cronshaw, the company’s director of human resources: looking at a candidate’s résumé; having managers review it; a prescreening phone interview; a personality profile; and in-person interviews with the hiring manager, team members, HR, and with owner Pat Neal and president Michael Storey. Sometimes there’s even a follow-up interview. Why go to all that trouble? “This is a family business that has been around for over 45 years,” Cronshaw says. “We’re a family-oriented, team-oriented culture.” 

Personality testing. Questions on decision making, productivity, and multitasking reveal a candidate’s style of working. Neal’s test includes questions about how you’d describe yourself and how others would describe you. 

Precise interviewing. Cronshaw asks questions such as, “Tell me about the management style that brings out your best efforts,” “What one word describes you most accurately?” and “What irritates you about other people and how do you deal with it?” A favorite is, “How do you rely on others to make you better?” (An answer of “I don’t,” is good info, Cronshaw says.) 

Neal Communities wants people looking for a place to grow their careers. Of talented candidates who aren’t a match for the job they’ve applied for, “Nobody qualified gets stuck in a black hole,” Cronshaw says. It’s a candidate-driven market right now, and Neal draws top employees by investing in the development of every one of them. As you’ll see, it shows. 

leaderboard2 - default
Written By

Amy Albert is editor-in-chief of Professional Builder magazine. Previously, she worked as chief editor of Custom Home and design editor at Builder. Amy came to writing about building by way of food journalism, as kitchen design editor at Bon Appetit and before that, at Fine Cooking, where she shot, edited, and wrote stories on kitchen design. She studied art history with an emphasis on architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania, has served on several design juries, and is a recipient of the 2017 Jesse H. Neal Award for excellence in journalism. 

boombox1 -
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Home builders can maximize efficiencies gained through simplification and standardization by automating both on-site and back-office operations 

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

native2 - default
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.