How to Find the Top Talent for Your Real Estate Brokerage
By Matthew Bushery
About Agent Basics
In 2013, the top recruiting challenge facing real estate brokerages nationwide was finding high-quality, young talent to join their teams. Fast forward to today and the challenge remains pretty much the same for brokers across the country. Offering substantial commission rates certainly plays a big role in attracting the best of the best to join your firm — but there are myriad other factors that affect which brokerages top-performing real estate agents will apply to.
If you want the inside scoop on what brokerage benefits the premier agent talent is looking for today and how you can modify your real estate recruiting practices business plan accordingly to appeal to these up-and-coming agents, consider implementing the changes and tactics below at your company.
It all starts with having the right digital real estate recruiting systems in place.
For starters, if you want to get more Millennial agents working at your firm, you have to meet them where they spend a significant portion of their lives: social media. Head to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest to not only determine agents in your market who have strong digital presences and work sans an agency behind them, but also to reach out to the ones you deem as possible fits for your brokerage. Sending messages to these hopefully soon-to-be official candidates on each social network with detailed descriptions of your brand, info on what you’re looking for in new hires, and a request for a meet-up or phone call is the ideal protocol for getting them interested in your firm’s open position.
This can undoubtedly be a time-consuming task, but it’s a phenomenal way to discern agents who are on top of their real estate marketing games from those who are seemingly still dedicated to their outbound/offline strategies (in other words, perhaps not the most optimal agents to pursue).
LinkedIn, Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, and other job-searching websites offer a great start for your recruiting efforts as well, but to find real estate agents who are exceptional fits for your brand, you’re going to need to be more proactive than simply posting a stock listing on one of these services.
For instance, find out what common keywords, terms, and phrases agent job-seekers tend to enter in these employment search engines so you know which popular ones to include in your listings. Think of it as a minor version of trying to rank organically on page one of Google search results, except now you’re trying to get your job listing to be listed as the most relevant for a variety of search entries.
For LinkedIn, specifically — which serves as a primary online locale for industry pros to display their real estate agent resume and employment history — be sure to systematically research possible candidates throughout the hiring process by filtering your searches based on the criteria you’re looking for in a new agent, like those who live relatively nearby, have worked in your market for a long time, and have mastered one or more niches with their business. As LinkedIn expert Ted Prodromou notes in this Entrepreneur article, using the platform’s InMail feature to introduce yourself and your brand is the best way to start building trust with prospective hires and nurture them through the recruiting process.
Focus entirely on quality, not quantity, when recruiting to maximize your efforts.
At certain stages of the real estate brokerage recruiting cycle, you may find yourself researching dozens of candidates to fill just one opening at your agency. As with many other facets of your business, however, it’s about quality, not quantity, so if you find yourself in front of an endless number of resumes for real estate agents, online agent portfolios, and other information for numerous potential hires, take a step back and figure out how you can dwindle down this list of prospects even further. For example, take into account all of the age, experience, sales history/niche, and character (via reviews and recommendations) for prospects you’ve researched. This will not only save you time and energy in the research phase especially, but also ultimately help ensure you employ the best agent who actually meets your preferences for the role.
Here’s a statistic that will make you realize the importance of recruiting the right way: From the second quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, 40% of employees nationwide left new jobs they started within six months. The reasons for vacating their positions varies widely, but this points to a systemic failure on the part of employers in all industries throughout the U.S. to pay close attention to the candidates they research, court, interview, and, at the end of the day, hire.
The moral of this poor hiring is clear: Focus all of your recruiting efforts and attention only to those agents whom you feel will be around at your brokerage years down the line and you’ll avoid having to start back at square one with your hiring process and incurring potential brand reputation issues (after all, if your firm has a high turnover rate, that could affect the pool of agents who want to work for you).
Exhibit your brokerage’s culture through some savvy online real estate branding.
Besides the fact they’re seemingly well-paid, why do you think Google employees are so historically satisfied working for the tech conglomerate? It’s simple, really: Those running the company have built in systems that set its workers up for success on a daily basis. Assuming your company is highly revered by employees, share the details about what makes your brokerage an enjoyable workplace in any communications you have promoting any openings you have. Anywhere and everywhere you list an available position online, there should be a clear and comprehensive mention of what it’s like working for your business, including:
- The types of people who currently work for your brokerage: Explain both the drive and ambition your staff has, as well as what traits best describe the agents you bring aboard your brokerage.
- The mission statement and goals for your company: Detail the overarching, high-level goals you have for your business, including what you define as success and how to achieve that success.
- The support systems you have in place for your agents: To stand out from competing brokerages in your market, you need to relay how your firm better supports its staff with daily business activities.
If your company culture needs some fixing, hold off on the recruiting process until you’ve filled in the holes, so to speak. For instance, if your employees aren’t highly engaged, consider hosting more company functions and being more hands-on with staff.
A Gallup study found brands with highly engaged workers are far more successful than those with low engagement, so prioritize your company culture by implementing some new, modern real estate branding ideas and tactics and then you can effectively show off the many pros of working for your brand.
Send personalized email to prospects and create stunning visual presentations.
After narrowing down your list of real estate agent recruits, it’s time to send them a message to let them know of your interest. This includes both people whom you feel would be right for the job and applicants who reach out to you regarding potential interviews. Regardless of who sparked the initial outreach, sending a well though-out, personalized email to candidates of interest that explains who you are, what (roughly) impresses you about their history, and a request to speak soon is the ideal next step.
For agents to whom you contact who have no idea about you or the role you’re looking to fill, you’ll have to provide sufficient detail on what your brokerage is all about — everything from where you’re located to the niche audience(s) you serve to the size of your firm. Then, delve into your pitch to them by noting what the core benefits of working for your brand are compared to other real estate agencies in the area (e.g. back-office support, marketing automation systems, agent-to-agent referral systems, etc.).
While you wait for one or more candidates to get back to you, craft a presentation in video or slideshow format you can use to sell the agent(s) in question on your brand. Think of this process as creating real estate listing presentations: You want to include financial info, including how many deals your agents typically close monthly and annually, and, as noted, culture details, such as what a day in the life of your staff is like. Simply put, differentiate your business from all others to make it as attractive as possible to potential hires.
Offer incentives to potential agent hires that no (or few) other brokerages can.
The best way to know how you can differentiate your real estate brand from competing ones nearby is to research them to learn what bonus incentives they offer agents and one-up them where possible. Broker Rick Lamb of the North Carolina–based Asheville Realty & Associates noted his firm offers a slew of distinct incentives to attract the top agent talent in their market, including and especially the tools they need to thrive with their online real estate marketing.
“Our agency will use numerous methods to solicit new Realtors to our agency,” said Lamb. “The best and most effective offer that provides prospective Realtor hires with better incentives includes increased earning potential, lower office fees, better benefits, a free personal real estate website, and lots of digital marketing assistance. Of course, all of the incentives we provide are in addition to showing the potential Realtor our agency is a better working environment than other brokerages.”
List out all the bonus assistance and incentives you currently provide your agent teams, see what competitors in (and even out of) your market offer that you don’t, and determine where you ought to adjust your business strategy so you can appeal to a wider array of prospective hires.
Leverage your existing agent base to find other great real estate sales representatives.
Speaking of your staff, they too can serve as an ideal agent recruitment resource — particularly if you offer a referral program for bringing in new hires (e.g. a financial bonus for a hire who lasts at least six months at your firm). Services like Jobvite, which helps companies’ existing employees share job listings with their own personal networks, can provide them an incentive to find the best candidates for you, thus saving you tons of time.
The caveat with implementing such a referral program is it could serve as a distraction for some of your team members, so this may be best used as a last-resort method for finding ideal candidates. Should you decide to move forward with one, though, just be sure to outline what qualities you’re looking for in an agent so your team knows who to search for within their own networks.
One place you can certainly find the top agent talent nationwide is at the best and biggest real estate conferences — of which you can learn all about, including what they entail and when they take place, right here in our exhaustive, complete industry events guide for agents and brokers.
What are the core real estate interview questions you ask agents you consider hiring? How do you determine who is worth employing at your brokerage and who to avoid? Share your real estate recruiting, interviewing, and hiring tips and tricks with us in the comments below.
Published on October 15, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.