By Aiman Attar
Being great at sales and giving exceptional service to customers doesn’t necessarily translate into someone being a great leader and manager.
I recently worked with a Realtor for seven months to hire an office manager for her team. Let me say that again: SEVEN MONTHS! I presented her with some of the industry’s best office managers, both licensed and unlicensed. What I experienced in that time and what the candidates were put through during this period was completely unprofessional and I was shocked that this was coming from someone who is renowned in her industry.
From this incident, I have come up with three recruiting warnings you should heed.
A good manager is someone who has a great handle on her business:
Someone who continually can’t take your call, can’t return your calls, can’t answer emails or text messages, is someone you should be wary of. In short, the manager who continually drops the ball on communication during the “courtship” phase of your business relationship is demonstrating that this is a normal business practice for her. There are always excuses: high-peak season, understaffed, being sick, client emergencies and so on. But they are just that: excuses.
Once in awhile, we all have an emergency but when it is a weekly or even daily occurrence, you must wonder as to the individual’s time management skills. We all must deal with managing our schedules, but professionalism dictates that we control our schedule: it doesn’t control us.
During the seven months working with this Realtor, I saw my messages go unreturned, candidate interviews being missed at the last minute, candidates dragged on for months and never hired and so on. Getting post interview feedback from her was like pulling teeth. Business relationships don’t have to be this difficult, and if they are, it’s time to end them.
The recruitment process is a great opportunity to see someone’s mental organization, decision making and thinking process:
A business leader, salesperson or manager needs mental clarity. They must come to the table with a clear job description and straightforward expectations of what they will give and what they expect.
This Realtor was going at it the wrong way. She was trying to create a job description to fit a candidate that she liked, rather than being clear on her needs first and then looking for the right fit. She was constantly changing the requirements to make it suitable for someone she liked, on a personal level.
While a certain degree of personality compatibility is required when you are going to work closely with someone, some of the candidates she liked didn’t make a good hire on a skills basis. However, she preferred to adjust her business rather than invest the time in finding the right fit, both in skills and personality. This left the candidates and I feeling lost, confused, frustrated and disappointed, time and time again. Leadership that is chaotic will breed an environment where even the most successful candidates from other teams will fail.
The rule in recruitment is hire slow and fire fast:
Unfortunately, this was clearly not the Realtor’s methodology at all. Her recruitment process dragged on for so long because she was unable to decide. It left candidates feeling put off. Most people would prefer to be rejected than remain in limbo.
Hire slow means interviewing the same candidate two to three times, putting them through some testing, all within a two to three-week period, and then making a decision. To drag candidates along for months, never making time for thorough interviews, and instead relying on nothing more than a casual chat, is not a solid basis for hiring. Never making time for testing or proper reference checks are indications that there will be no time downstream for training, support or ensuring the work is done effectively.
Clarifying your needs before you hire is key for a successful and beneficial hiring process that gets the staff you need in place efficiently. If you’re not sure who you are looking for, you won’t even begin to be able to manage them effectively. So, start there and finish with a happy team.