Tips for Hiring Employees for Your Real Estate Business

In any organization, the team’s success depends on the quality and performance of the individuals on that team. Nowhere is this reality more important than in the make-or-break world of real estate. Whether hiring agents, management, or administrative support staff, bringing on quality talent is absolutely critical to building a successful real estate business.

The following article includes tips and best-practice advice for how to recruit, hire, and retain high-quality employees for your real estate business, starting with an outstanding Tom Ferry interview, “Best Practices on Growth, Hiring, Onboarding, and Management for Real Estate Professionals.”

See It from the Potential Employee’s Perspective

Regardless of location, certain key characteristics define a quality real estate business. Potential employees understand this reality, and they will seek out firms that embody these characteristics. The following traits of a successful real estate business can be considered prerequisites for any successful employee recruiting and retention program. In other words, before looking outward for talent, a firm should perform some honest self-assessment to ensure that that following traits exist:

  • Professional reputation: Does your business project an image of professionalism in the industry?
  • Industry expertise: Do your current employees show demonstrated expertise in the field?
  • Proven track record: Does your business have a demonstrated record of success in the local real estate market?
  • Opportunities for growth: Is your business primed for continued growth in the local market?

Quality job candidates are going to ask – either directly or indirectly – each of the above questions during the recruiting process. Firms will put themselves in great positions if they anticipate and affirm these questions. Put simply, excellence attracts excellence, and before looking outward for talent, firms need to make sure their own “house is in order.”

Clearly Define Your Company Culture and Values

Directly related to the above, the best real estate businesses – and businesses, in general – clearly define their company culture and values. Now more than ever, employees place tremendous emphasis on job satisfaction. The best employees don’t just want a paycheck; they want to take pride in what they do and the people with whom they work. And, this means more than just paying lip service to company culture. From the top down, the best firms both define and carry out a positive company culture and associated values.

While every real estate business is going to be unique, attracting high-quality talent means buying into the importance of company culture and values. Here are a few techniques that apply universally in creating the kind of outstanding culture that attracts winning talent:

  • Take lessons from the past: While people may not be able to define it, everyone’s seen examples of both outstanding and awful company culture. Talk about this as a team and pull lessons from the past. What’s worked best? What should be avoided at all costs? You’ll be surprised at how much keen insight members of a team have on establishing solid company culture.
  • Ensure culture aligns with your core values: What core values define your company? These are the scaffolds to your company culture. By not creating a culture within the framework of your values, that culture’s doomed to fail. Instead, ensure that clearly defined values drive the culture that you want to achieve.
  • Communicate: Very few things can crush morale and a positive company culture more quickly than a failure to communicate. Members of the team want to be kept in the loop. Make sure regular and open communication is a central part of your routine.
  • Set the tone at the top: If leadership doesn’t embody the culture and values of the company, no one will. Conversely, when leaders live and breathe a company’s culture and values, that approach becomes infectious, spreading throughout the organization.
  • Regularly self-assess: It’s okay if you don’t get it 100% correct the first time. Establishing a winning company culture is an ongoing process, and regular self-assessment enables a company to take a quick pause to see what’s working – and what isn’t. Use these opportunities to continuously make your culture better. This approach also has the ancillary benefit of emphasizing continuous self-improvement in all aspects of the business.
  • Have fun: At the end of the day, no one wants to dread coming to work every morning. Working hard and establishing a winning culture are not mutually exclusive of having fun, and potential employees will be attracted to this sort of environment.

Don’t Be Reactive – Establish a Hiring Process

As the saying goes, proper planning prevents poor performance, a particularly apt phrase when it comes to the hiring process. As a real estate business grows, recruiting and hiring new talent cannot be an ad hoc process. Successful firms ensure that recruiting and hiring is continuous, not a last-minute fire drill.

While a business may not be able to precisely say when it will need to hire new talent, best practice entails establishing the relationships and processes to quickly and efficiently either A) replace a departing team member, or B) bring on a new one to grow the team.

Real estate is a particularly relationship-heavy field. As such, successful firms make time to build and maintain strong professional relationships throughout their local markets. Directly related to this, these top-notch firms establish tested and documented business processes for actually recruiting and hiring new employees. Having done so, hiring new talent doesn’t become a chaotic event; businesses simply reach out to their established professional networks and utilize the documented hiring processes they’ve created.

Embrace Professional Meetings and Social Gatherings

A key part of successfully building and maintaining the professional relationships mentioned above is taking full advantage of professional meetings and social gatherings. The real estate industry can be an absolute grind, so people look forward to opportunities to relax but still “talk shop” with fellow professionals.

The benefits of the above events are two-fold. First, and most importantly, it gives you the ability to meet and build relationships with fellow real estate professionals. It is this network that will serve as the foundation for effective recruiting practices. Second, and related, industry gatherings provide you an opportunity to show off your brand identity, the traits that make working with you special. When fellow professionals see that sort of positive brand identity embraced by your employees, they’re naturally going to want a part of it, making the recruiting process that much easier.

Recruit Talent from the All Experience Levels

While recruiting and hiring top agents can certainly be a win for a business, the best real estate companies recognize that talent exists at all experience levels. Sure, a new agent may need some more oversight and mentoring than a veteran, but the best agents in a market needed that same level of guidance at some point in their careers.

The most successful firms understand the reality that talent exists at all experience levels, and they recruit and hire accordingly. While it can be challenging to identify the up-and-coming rockstars, taking the time to seek out this new talent can pay long-term dividends for a business. And, by balancing this approach with active recruitment of more experienced agents, real estate businesses can maintain a solid foundation of both current performance and growth potential.

Create an Environment with Growth Potential

Recruiting and hiring are only two parts of a three-part process, with retention being the third crucial element. If you can’t keep top talent, what’s the point of recruiting and hiring them?

The most successful real estate businesses understand the importance of employee retention, and they create an environment of growth potential to achieve solid retention. The most ambitious and talented employees don’t want to tread water in their professional careers; they want to grow, both personally and professionally.

To create an environment of growth, businesses should take the time to invest in training and making their employees better. Whether that means attending formal courses and seminars, regular mentoring, providing stipends for professional education, or some combination of all of these, successful businesses help their talent learn and grow.

In addition to providing a level of personal satisfaction, this investment in your business’s talent will have the additional benefit of reflecting extremely well on your company. Other real estate professionals will see these growth opportunities and naturally want to work with you.

Be Creative with Employee Perks and Benefits

When thinking of benefits to recruit new real estate team members, compensation packages are certainly important. And, while a solid compensation package will certainly help bring talented employees in the door, creative perks and benefits are an area to “sweeten the pot” and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Is guaranteed health care something that’s high on your employees’ priorities? Or, maybe a new employee has young children and would love access to high-quality childcare? At the end of the day, the sky’s the limit when it comes to employee perks and benefits. Get creative, and be willing to employ some outside-the-box thinking to create the best possible package.

Whatever path you decide to take when it comes to a benefit package, this all relates back to the importance of having a clear understanding of what a potential employee seeks in working with your real estate business. If you understand this motivation, recruiting, hiring, and retaining outstanding talent becomes that much easier.

Use Top-Notch Real Estate Technology

It may sound cliche, but time is money, especially when it comes to real estate transactions, and industry professionals understand this fact. Consequently, to recruit and retain the best talent while staying as productive and competitive as possible, businesses need to invest in the following key technology:

  • Document management software: Mountains of paperwork are an unfortunate necessity in the real estate industry, but effective software can create a streamlined and effective process for maintaining this paperwork – an absolute timesaver.
  • Video marketing tools: Especially in the new reality of COVID-19, real estate marketing is increasingly reliant on effective video marketing. Investing in easy to use tools to create professional looking video content will differentiate you from your competitors while making your organization that much more attractive to potential employees.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions: The days of the desktop rolodex are gone. Top talent in the real estate industry now expects the new normal of streamlined CRM software solutions to manage leads, clients, and former clients.
  • Accounting solutions: Hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue is certainly the goal, but if not properly accounted for, that level of production can lead to catastrophic financial oversights and mistakes. A high-quality, fully-integrated accounting information system will help ensure that these mistakes won’t happen.

Set Yourself Apart Online

The world has moved online, and successful real estate businesses embrace this truth. Creating an effective and visible online presence for your firm is critical to recruiting new employees. Though an online presence can be created with different approaches, the following techniques are nearly universal:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): This is an ongoing process that makes sure your site ranks high on the page when people search online for your services.
  • Quality content: Getting users to your page is important, but high quality content convinces them of the value your company provides.
  • Website user experience: Related to quality content, focusing on smooth and effective user experience keeps your bounce rate down, that is, when users get to your page, the positive design experience makes them want to stay.
  • Social media: Online presence is not limited to your website. Rather, different social media platforms cater to different audiences, and embracing these different platforms can multiply your reach.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: This advertising technique lets you target specific keywords, audiences, and geo-locations, thus giving you immediate online exposure. And, as you only pay when someone actually clicks on an ad, you can set a budget to meet your unique situation.

Support Individual Agents with Personal IDX Websites

In addition to setting your real estate business as a whole apart online, it’s essential to provide the same level of online exposure to individual agents, a key recruiting and retention tool.

By providing agents with their own IDX website, a real estate business can immediately boost an agent’s career. As emphasized above, the world has moved online. Giving your agents the support they need to build their own online brand will make them more successful and, by extension, build a winning environment for your entire team.

References and Additional Resources

Featured Image Credit: coffeebeanworks / Pixabay

YouTube contribution: Tom Ferry

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