Joining the Company
During my second week as a managing broker, I’ve been learning a great deal about recruiting and hiring agents to be a part of our brokerage. While our company has several full-time experienced recruiters, part of my responsibilities is to meet with potential new agents and ultimately to make the decision about whether or not they will join our company.
Not the Usual Type of Hire
Hiring real estate agents to work at a brokerage is very different from hiring employees to work for a company. Surely, there are some similar considerations — will that person perform well? Will they fit in well with the personality of the office? Will they bring skills and knowledge to the table that will help them and the company succeed? However, since, throughout the real estate industry (with a very few exceptions), real estate agents are independent contractors and not employees, there are some very real differences. For the most part, the brokerage is not controlling the activities of its agents, but is rather there to stand behind their agents and help to support and guide them to their own success.
The success of each agent contributes to the overall success of the brokerage. Thus, I have two ears ready and listening to the ideas that each potential new agent has for their business. I’d rather hire someone with some innovative, challenging, and unique ideas for growing their business — one willing to take some risks — than someone who wants to maintain the status quo. An agent with new, potentially profitable ideas, can motivate, inspire, and bring new energy to an office. My role is to show them what we have to offer to help them achieve their goals, NOT to tell them how to do OUR business, but rather support them in THEIRS.
At the same time, as a brokerage, we, and as a manager, I want to hire agents who will have long-term success, will thrive, and who ultimately help our office remain profitable.
Who’s Interviewing Whom?
In a traditional interview, whether it’s for your first job at the local convenience store, an on-campus employer interview, or a coveted dinner interview with a top tier Wall Street firm, companies ask you questions to decide whether they wish to hire you. They do most of the asking and the applicant does most of the answering. Sometimes a job applicant may fit in a question or two about the company, but it’s often as an afterthought.
If you were a fly on the wall during a real estate brokerage interview, you might wonder who’s interviewing whom. Since agents are independent, “free agents”, if you will, much of the time, they are really interviewing real estate companies to decide where they want to hang their license. At least, that’s what I thought until this past week.
You see, until this week, I’ve only been on the agent side of the interview.
A Magic Formula?
We’ve had 2 recruiting interviews so far this week. I’ve got another one later today. Each one is different. Each candidate is very different. One has little experience, but lots of enthusiasm. Another has closed a few sales and all of a sudden finds herself with a ton of listings. Later today, our candidate has years of experience and is excited to tell me about a new innovative business plan he’s created.
While there is no magic formula for determining whether an agent is the exact right fit for our office, there are some key things to look at in making that judgment. How much business has the agent done? How long have they been in the business? Sales statistics — days on market, areas they sell, etc. Any ethical or legal complaints? Then there’s the intangibles, like enthusiasm, professionalism, etc.
In “selling” our office to a potential new agent, it’s likely we’ll do more listening than talking. Find out what they want and then explain why we’re the best place to provide it. At the same time, we’re subtly asking our own questions to make sure that the agent is “hireable.” That they’ll make it in our brokerage. That it will be a mutually beneficial arrangement and that they’ll be here for the long haul.
Take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. Are you the type of agent you’d want to hire if you were the broker?