Recruiting Faux Pas

by Stephanie Sims


We’ve all heard cringe-worthy stories of some recruiting methods – mass texts; the same email copied and pasted to several agents within the same brokerage and being pushy. So, what are the biggest faux pas a hiring manager can commit when it comes to recruiting? A top managing broker, brokerage president and a talent attraction manager share their faux pas that, in their opinion, managing brokers should never, ever do to recruit top agents.

Jeani Jernstedt, managing broker, Koenig & Strey Gold Coast

1. Not being a good listener. Brokers want to tell potential agents all the wonderful, fabulous things their company offers. They can do that, but in the beginning stages of recruiting, they really need to ask questions and listen to the answers. What are these agents looking for? What are their strengths and weaknesses? From there, they can see if they’re a good fit; managers can’t do that if they do all the talking.

2. Robotexts. These mass texts are a bad thing – anything automated looks like you don’t care. A message that reads, “Sally, this is Jeani, I want to talk to you about joining our company,” is impersonal, and even worse, these can be set up to automatically be sent to agents once a month with certain programs. Anything impersonal is a faux pas. Also, if there has been some major change in a company, emailing everyone in the company at that point of announcement is a faux pas. For example, we just merged with Prudential Rubloff and Berkshire Hathaway and immediately, our Koenig & Strey agents were being bombarded with messages, such as, “Don’t want to be with such a big company?” Some of those emails come off as disrespectful; you want to talk of your positive offerings and not be disrespectful to the agent’s current company. There’s no advantage to being negative about another company.

3. Bugging/pestering/annoying people.

If you touch base with someone twice a year about them possibly joining your company, that’s fine. But if you keep contacting the same person more than twice a year and no one is calling you back, leave them alone. I think you can send emails, but actually phoning people is a bother if they’re not interested.

Yuval Degani, president, Dream Town Realty

1. Recruiting based on production only.

When recruiting, we tend to look at culture first and production second. Recruiting is not just about the bottom line, it’s about creating a culture of collaboration, service and systems that create success. The addition of an agent that does not share our core values  takes energy away from the culture of the company. We have a passion for systems that breed success, and they are developed with agent participation and feedback. For example: when we revised our listing presentation, we held internal focus groups. Dozens of agents in our office participated and had a profound impact on the outcome. Our job as a brokerage is to serve our client – the agent. When we do that well, recruiting is authentic and easy. It becomes a function of attraction rather than promotion.

2. Showing the sizzle and forgetting the steak.

Successful brokers can see through the sizzle of wining and dining and promises. Let’s face it – most everyone has beautiful brochures. Every broker is a business owner with a unique vision. People looking to make a change want substance. They want to know they will be given everything they need to create success, and they want to know all the details. They want to know exactly how your systems, support and services can take their business to the next level.  We believe our marketing and systems are better than anyone else’s, and it’s our job is to show prospective new agents a vision and a clear process that will truly amaze them.

3.   Assuming agents won’t need training. Many times, we meet seasoned agents with steady production, and we wrongly assume that they will not require some training, as they have been doing this for so long. I see many seasoned agents who are able to sustain a career, but their  business never grows because they essentially repeat their first year in real estate over and over again. Our job is to help them realize where meaningful breakthroughs can be made.

Joan Bernstein, talent attraction manager, John Greene Realtor

1. Reaching out to every person. Set standards and keep them in mind. A mass email to 1,000 different agents wouldn’t be our approach; our approach is selective. We have a strong company culture and work from a teamwork standpoint, and need agents who embrace our company culture and are a good fit. If someone doesn’t measure up to our standards or mesh with them, we won’t continue to recruit them.

2. Keeping a closed mind. Although you want to set standards, you also don’t want to disregard anyone who might not fit into your idea of what a successful agent is. Successful agents come in all shapes and sizes – our top producers on our roster come in a wide range of personalities and varying ways of running their businesses. When interviewing, it’s important to not look for a specific mold of what a classic salesperson or agent is. Successful agents present themselves in diversified ways.

3. Talking too much. I think hiring managers get caught up in sharing too many details about their firm sometimes, and though it’s important to share compelling reasons for why agents should join their firm, they need to listen to what drives the agent to succeed and what motivates them. It all comes back to the idea that you are recruiting agents who stack up with your company culture and who will be a good fit.

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