Char MacCallum of Olathe, Kan., found herself in the same boat as many other brokers: with buyer agents who just weren’t getting the job done. The numbers proved it – they were only contributing 15 percent to her total sales volume. If you keep reading this article, you’ll learn how she more than doubled that number.
She was particularly flustered because she knew she had already invested a lot of time and money in these agents. Time and money that she felt was going to waste – literally hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars were swirling down the drain. And she was right. Hiring the right people for your real estate business is, well, serious business.
Far too many brokers end up rolling the dice when they choose new hires. It’s like a trip to Las Vegas – you never really know if you’re going to win, even if you feel lucky. Trust me, that’s no way to hire your employees.
The good news is you can put the chances of hiring the right folks in your favor. When Char came to me with her problem, we agreed rather quickly on the solution: hire the right folks to work as buyer agents. But the trap that Char – and most brokers – fell into was the trap of lost objectivity. Many brokers just rely on their gut feeling, or worse, friends of friends who know someone who’s looking for a job. Then they feel obligated to hire these people who aren’t really suited for the job.
Char was smart and admitted that while she was one heck of a broker, she wasn’t an expert at hiring. She also came to realize that objectivity was a must in getting the right people on her team. That’s what I offered: objectivity and the know-how to get the right buyer agents on her roster.
My best advice is to give the job of hiring to the professionals. But since you’re reading this article, I’ll share some tips on hiring:
1. Realize how important hiring is. Interviewing is a high-stakes game – choose the wrong candidate and you can pay the price for months or even years. And it can be a steep price; a professional job that pays $50,000 annually and turns over too quickly can cost a company twice that amount in hiring expenses and lost productivity.
2. Become an expert on behavior-based interviewing. This is much easier said than done. And, of course, this is where you really need to hand the hiring function over to a professional. But you’re here, so for now just know that behavior-based interviewing is powerful because it uses past behavior as the best predictor of future performance.
3. Craft interview questions that omit the hypothetical and include reality. This is an integral part of behavior-based interviewing. So instead of asking, “What would you do if…” ask, “Tell me about a time when you…” Just because people can give the right hypothetical answer doesn’t mean they can do what they say. And you can actually verify their past real-life experiences. A good human resources practitioner has to be a sly detective as well.
So yes, it’s true: when Char got the right buyer agents on board, their numbers did more than double; today, her buyer agents are contributing 38 percent of her total sales volume.
I’d love to hear from you on this. What do you think? How is your hiring practice going? Do you agree with me that hiring is indeed a critical piece of the success puzzle? What will you do this year to improve your hiring practices? Email me at [email protected] and let me know.
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker, author and founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.