By Aiman Attar

Should you hire the real estate phenom or the long-term employee? The answer may surprise you.

Most employers stress that they want to have someone stay for the long term. The time and money invested in finding, hiring and training a new candidate isn’t something they want to do again and again, so they try to pick a candidate who is most likely to stay for the long term.

The unintended consequence (which is sometimes fully intended, politically incorrect, legally ambiguous and totally unspoken) is that employers will bypass candidates who seem like they might up and leave for personal reasons. Someone who comes across as too smart and ambitious, or someone newly married who might want to start having kids. Someone with many personal responsibilities that might keep them distracted from work.

In real estate, as in most other businesses, the notion of long-term employment, where someone stays with one company for life (or at least a very long time), is over. It’s not a millennial thing, or a gen-x problem. An interesting piece from Forbes magazine gives valid reasons for this change in the way people work as being related to:

  • Globalization
  • An accelerating rate of change
  • New loyalties – employees being loyal to individuals rather than to companies.
  • Changing expectations – employee disengagement is at an all-time high.

I’ve worked with Realtors who had an employee stay for only six months and leave, who swear that this was the best six months of her business life.  “I got so much further ahead in that one year that I wouldn’t trade it for five years with someone else.”

Sometimes, the right candidate, even for a short period of time, can add so much value to your business. She can create the right systems to get you organized and can help you build the foundation for any subsequent hire.

Let’s face it, hiring someone really bright, extremely creative, professional and motivated can do wonders for your business. Keeping them excited, long term, isn’t always feasible. That said, excitement isn’t everything. A lot of people are interested in other things, such as work-life balance, flexibility and so on. It’s not always possible to offer those perks in an environment like a busy realty office, so the really important hiring question is: will you get back return on your investment? And how an owner/broker needs to calculate that is not in terms of longevity in the position but in terms of what the candidate contributes to the office, processes and the bottom line.

Most entrepreneurial personalities make a great short-term addition to any business. They think on their feet, and are resourceful and quick problem solvers, but they also get bored really easily. Unless you are able to continually challenge them, they can’t possibly stay, or they will stagnate and ultimately be unhappy.

Believe it or not, there are some business-minded Realtors who see the real potential of a short-term phenom over a long-term hire. When they find an incredible candidate, even though she might be high risk to leave within a year, they are prepared to invest and reap the benefit. Like stocks or real estate, sometimes the highest risk yields the greatest gain.

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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