By Aiman Attar

Many of us have laid off some stellar and talented employees due to the economic halt the COVID-19 lockdown has caused.

The good news is that the downturn in the economy will create an influx of incredibly qualified candidates in the job market searching for their next career move. Not everyone will be waiting for their existing employer to re-hire them. This also means that the employers have more buying power than the candidates. In a thriving economy, it would be quite the opposite, where there would be multiple employers making an offer to one superb candidate.

With massive layoffs across the real estate industry, candidates have started to doubt whether they even want to return to their previous jobs. Some are considering changing industries. A lot of administrative staff and sales reps have had a moment to rethink whether they want to stay in this field simply because there is no longer a healthy source of income. In a downturned economy, many sales reps will either join teams to survive or begin searching for salaried employment to weather through the storm.

COVID-19 has made a lot of us go through a soul-searching exercise. Some of us will learn from this while others will just sink into the abyss.

There will be employers that will be reactionary and hire in a rush, making costly decisions, while a select few will take this time to have a proactive recruitment process in place along with an onboarding manual to ensure business continuity.

Here is what you need to do in order to be set up for success:

1. Salary CMA

Moments before the economy ground to a halt, candidates were earning more money in 2020 than in previous years. Although when the market rebounds we may hover in a quasi-recession, this does not mean that we pay salaries based on a recession (which often means lower wages due to influx of candidates). If the quasi-recession ends in a few months, all candidates you hired at a lower rate will quickly find other employment opportunities offering top dollar.

This is a delicate discussion because many business owners, brokerages and salespeople have experienced profit and revenue loss during the lockdown, so finances are genuinely tight. However, it can come across as vulture-like to feast on hiring great candidates for $40,000 who were previously making $50,000-$60,000 to do the same work they did prior to COVID-19. We highly recommend that you seek advice from a business coach or a recruitment coach prior to making any decisions on salaries to ensure you are aware of current market intelligence.

2. Job description

Create a job description that is realistic and reasonable for who you want to bring on and how much you want to pay based on a CMA of their skill set and salary. Hint: Do not pay a 10-year veteran $20 an hour and expect them to answer calls after hours! Be sure to post your job on all social media channels and free job boards.

3. Choose the right fit

There are seven steps when choosing the right candidate. Do not assume that if someone has five years of experience for one brokerage or team that they would automatically be a great hire for your business. Having the right recruitment process, thorough interview questions and one-day paid assessment, ensure that you make the right hire.

4. Offer and onboarding

Once you find the perfect candidate, you want to be sure that you have all your ducks in a row. A proper legal employment offer is the first thing a great candidate looks for and if you do not have one ready, it can make candidates very wary of the employer.

The second most important step is the onboarding process. Do not wait until your new hire starts to order a desk, laptop and phone. Nothing is worse than starting a new job and having nothing ready for you to begin working. And part of onboarding is training your new employee – even if they have years and years of experience. How you do business is always slightly different from how someone else does theirs.

Congratulations – You have just made your hire. Now it’s time to live under one roof with your work wife/husband for the probationary 90 days to see proof in the pudding. If it is not working out in the first three months, then know when to pull the plug.

So, question is: Are you ready? Have you planned? Are you going to take what comes your way or will you have a process in place when the market rebounds?

The former owner of Imaginahome Inc. and former Realtor at Re/Max, Aiman Attar is the managing partner of AGENTC: The Real Estate Recruiter. She has worked in the real estate industry for over 10 years with Toronto’s finest, most accomplished Realtors. She decided to dedicate her talent and experience to helping you hire the best candidates to build your business. Email Aiman.


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