Whether your business is booming and you can’t seem to find enough hours in the day or you’re trying to increase local market share, hiring the best real estate agents is likely a 2015 to-do list item. Interviewing, hiring, and developing talent can be expensive and stressful, so this guide will walk you through the big steps with some great insights from experts.
Before the Interview
Before you even start talking to potential hires, you need to do some prep work if you want to avoid headaches later in the process. In Geoff Smart and Randy Street’s book “Who: The A Method for Hiring” they outline exactly what you should be doing in this phase if you want to hire top talent. You need to identify what the position is and what a successful person in that role will provide, as well as benchmarks for performance expectations. You will be judging every candidate against that scorecard.
You should also identify the questions you will be asking your candidates. Focus on their past experience and job performance to visualize how they will perform in future endeavors, utilizing “tell me more” to probe deeply and get past canned responses. Smart and Street suggest beginning with their most recent experience and going backward –
- What were your accomplishments in that role? What were you proud of?
- What were your low points? How did you handle challenges?
- Who was your boss and what would they say about your performance?
- Who were your peers, and what would they say about you?
In addition to focusing on their past experience, you need to be aware of what you can and cannot ask them. In his post “How to Hire the Best Salespeople“, Lloyd Manning outlines the major no-nos in what you shouldn’t ask. “Questions that you cannot ask are anything that could be construed as discriminatory by way of race, ethnic origin, birth place of ancestry, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, marital status and if female, if the person is pregnant or plans on getting pregnant.” Manning also suggests that your interview process should be informative so that your potential hires will understand what you will expect of them.
Recruiting Top Talent
With hiring, you want to focus on quality over quantity, and that usually means identifying proven agents and convincing them to join you. In RISMedia’s “8 Must-Know Steps for Recruiting Top Talent” they suggest that you start with identifying what your prospect’s goals and determining whether you are mutually a good fit. They may not be looking now, but when they do, you want to be top of mind so that they will come to you first. The article has some great ideas on recruiting tools you can utilize.
New Talent – Identifying Potential Problems
Not every hire you make will be someone you wooed from a competitor, often you will have to bring in and develop new talent. Real estatate has a high turnover rate for new agents, which means that you may find yourself in a position to be hiring unseasoned agents.
To be successful, you need to be aware of the pain points they will be experiencing, prepare them for it, and help them navigate through. In a 2013 Inman News article, Bernice Ross indentified the following four major hurdles to new agent success:
- Lack of Adequate Startup Capital: Not only lack of capital, but lack of awareness of the fees involved and how the commission splits work.
- Unrealistic Expectations: They expect the broker will provide their leads and are not aware of the hard work they will need to put in. “They enter the business believing that real estate will be an easy way to make money, and the difficulty is way beyond what they expected.”
- Part Time vs. Full Time: They believe that they can be successful on a part-time schedule.
- Mindset: Prospects who take short cuts with their training (online vs. classroom) are more prone to attempting the same as they start their career and are therefore more prone to failure.
New Talent – Developing Skills
To overcome these hurdles, you need to set expectations with them and be prepared to take time out of your day to mentor them through their early transactions. A hands-off approach will waste your time and could put you at risk. A great way to build this rapport and reduce your liability is to institute a coaching program. If you haven’t been through a solid training course on this, have no fear, there are many expert real estate trainers and websites to help.
ManagerTools.com has a great guide for building that relationship with a new hire featuring a three-pronged approach – how to give feedback, how to set up a successful one-on-one program, and effective coaching. These are great podcasts that you can listen to on the road, while you’re exercising, or writing up paperwork. And it’s free!
Hiring is a big decision and the wrong one can cost you money and wasted time. You need to approach it with diligence – prepare for the interview process, make sure you set expectations appropriately with your prospects as you go, and be ready to manage your new hire if you want to build a successful team or brokerage.