Top 5 Tips for Recruiting High-Performing Real Estate Agents

The best real estate agents handle tough sales, high-maintenance clients, demanding schedules, and multiple listings with confidence. Simply put: they close sales. They get the job done – and they are an invaluable asset to your firm. But exceptional candidates are getting more challenging to find, thanks to fierce competition and a growing shortage of talent across industries. So, how can you attract, and retain, top agents?

Closing the Deal with Recruits

To get the best, your firm must revamp outdated hiring practices. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, ask not what your real estate agents can do for you, but what you can do for them. In other words, why are you the employer of choice? Why should they continue their careers with your organization? Tips to help you start answering these questions:

  1. Pay as much attention to your employer brand as you do to your company brand. You invest in marketing and advertising campaigns to appeal to consumers: you highlight your strengths and how you can add value to their lives. Do the same for your employer brand: why would top real estate agents find working with your beneficial to them? How can you help them achieve their goals? Develop recruiting strategies that emphasize these facets.
  2. Nurture your culture – and hire to fit. Most people want more than compensation (though that is critical) – they want happiness, fulfillment, and opportunities to advance, and the chance to make a difference. Employees are more engaged, and productive, when they connect with the company. Your culture is the key to this connection.Are you hip and trendy? Conservative and no-nonsense? Socially-conscious and progressive? There is no one “right” culture; the key is to instill a strong sense of identity, align your business activities with your core values, and hire people who fit. Research shows that 89% of “bad hires” are caused by lack of fit, not lack of skill. Remember, skill can be taught; attitude cannot.
  3. Start recruiting before you need someone. Ideally, you can build a deep talent pool so you have a wealth of candidates to draw from when you actually need to hire. Attend industry events, join and/or lead LinkedIn groups, ask your current agents if they have any talented associates, see who the competition is employing. Start by reaching out, asking about their goals, articulating how you can help them, and leaving the lines open for a continuing relationship.Often, the best agents are already employed; planting these seeds can help keep your firm top of mind if they start looking for new opportunities.
  4. Ask the right questions. When you get a candidate in the door, ask the right questions to keep them there. What trends do they see in the marketplace? What opportunities? What challenges have they faced in their careers, and how did they overcome them? Ask scenario-based questions: for example, “What would you do if a buyer placed unreasonable demands on your time?” or “How would you handle a seller who kept refusing good offers, holding out for an unrealistic price?” Listen carefully to the answers to get a sense of their capacity to think quickly, adapt, and “sell” you on their abilities.Don’t forget to ask questions designed to determine fit. What type of work environment are you most productive in? What management styles and qualities bring out your best work? What do you need from your manager in order to give your all – and be happy? What are your greatest accomplishments? What do you look for in a company?
  5. Do your homework. Treat recruiting talent as a key business initiative – which it is! Take the time to learn more about attracting and hiring top talent. Some resources that can help:
    1. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-04/classified/sc-cons-0102-umberger-20140104_1_real-estate-many-agents-generation
    2. http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/08/11/retaining-salespeople-starts-with-a-strong-culture/
    3. http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-recruiting-retaining-salespeople

You can’t afford not to take a proactive approach to hiring. Top real estate agents are in hot demand; they have options. These tips will help them choose your firm.