By Ken Goodfellow

A single agent can only do so much. The success of a real estate team depends on the quality of your talent. One bad hire can ruin the entire team’s productivity, motivation and morale. There are so many things to consider, and there is no magic formula, but there are a number of key issues to consider before you start the hiring process.

Most real estate teams and businesses do not have the luxury of a dedicated HR department, can’t afford a head hunter and don’t believe they have a lot of time to devote to the hiring process, so they look for a shortcut and end up hiring the wrong person and witnessing the disaster that ensues. In the end a wrong decision ends up wasting time and money and risks going through the process a second time around. And maybe a third. Or fourth.

What teams need is a streamlined hiring process that saves them time and increases the odds of finding the right person for their team. The following eight points are the foundation of that process.

Develop a proper checklist

Take the time to prepare a description of what the job entails and the qualifications you are looking for. You will also need a list of attributes you value, such as a sense of humour and time management. This will make it easier to visualize the person you are looking for and help you imagine candidates actually doing the job.

Use your network

More often than not, the ideal candidate is hidden in plain sight. They might be part of your network of contacts – clients, colleagues, friends and even someone family members might know. This is a good place to start because someone you trust has recommended these people. If you advertise, be sure to put a time limit on responses and be specific about what you are looking for to avoid getting 200 resumes to read through.

Perform an applicant evaluation

Once you have decided which candidates to interview (keep it under 10) check out as many details from their resumes as you possibly can before you meet them, including academic credentials and references.

Be a sceptic

Prepare for and go into the interview skeptical and make the candidate prove you wrong. Most people go into interviews wanting to like the person and have them be a perfect fit. Go in planning to be disappointed and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Interview the right way

Have preset questions to ask each candidate, but don’t be afraid to veer off course if it feels right. You want to know more than qualifications and experience. Let the applicant do 90 per cent of the talking and make sure you are listening carefully for discrepancies or areas where the qualifications may be inflated. You are going to be working with and relying on this person. Attitude is important. Look for someone who not only wants to work, but wants to work with you and your company. Listen to your gut.

Seek a second opinion

Once you get down to one or two possible candidates, have them come back in for a second interview. This time introduce them to other team members and give them a tour of the office. Have someone who will be working directly with them or their potential supervisor meet them and ask a few questions. Feedback from another source will hopefully confirm your decision, or in some cases make you aware of something you missed.

Establish your core values

Hire according to your core values. If you know what attitudes and behaviours are important to you, it’s easier to filter candidates accordingly. Attitude and work ethic trump experience and skills. Technical abilities can be learned. Basic personality traits are difficult to change, so hire a candidate that is a good fit with your core values.

Hire someone who fits

This might sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen it happen where an entrepreneur hired a person who was at the top of their field, a genius with stellar abilities. This person was also an intolerant egomaniac and quickly talked down to the other team members and treated them rudely. Picture yourself being trapped in an elevator for three hours with this person – would they drive you crazy? If so, don’t hire them.

In a perfect world you would have an ideal team and no one would ever leave, but barring that you should proactively keep your hand in the talent pool, to offset attrition and accommodate growth. Successful entrepreneurs are always hiring.


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