6 tips for recruiting agents

As a broker operating an office employing sales agents and broker associates, your success depends on the quality of the individuals you employ.

The process of recruiting agents into your brokerage can take several different paths depending on your business model. Some brokers hire as many agents as they can squeeze into their offices; others recruit only agents and broker associates with track records that exceed typical production standards.

Setting a recruiting goal requires you to determine how many agents you plan to hire, and how you plan to find and solicit them. To be successful in your recruiting of agents to represent you, consider these six tips.

1. Identify your needs and goals

Set recruitment standards and goals to be attained when deciding:

  • how many agents you want to hire;
  • what qualities you are looking for in an agent;
  • who you are going to solicit, such as:
  • how much time you are willing to commit to training new agents.

These different types of prospective hires have varying needs and skill levels. Thus, the time you are willing to commit to training will determine who you will focus your recruiting efforts on.

When soliciting unlicensed recruits to become your sales agents, you will need to:

  • address your role in their California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) educational needs for licensing;
  • plan for a lag time between recruitment and eventual employment as a licensed agent; and
  • be prepared to provide much initial training and guidance since they lack experience and understanding about client relationships and real estate transactions.

When recruiting newly licensed agents, tell them what to expect from their first year of employment with your brokerage office. This newly licensed group of prospects also requires a commitment of your time or an office manager’s time for training and guidance. Newly licensed agents have no experience representing clients and rendering services in the real estate brokerage business.

When recruiting experienced agents and broker-associates, focus on the unique benefits you have to offer that will improve the agents’ income opportunities and advance their career. Unless your benefits outweigh their current situation, active agents and broker associates have no incentive to make the move.

When you recruit inactive sales agents or independent brokers, those not currently employed by a broker, focus on why now is a good time to get involved in real estate transactions and how they can build a profitable career in today’s market. Point out the benefits of working for you and what you offer them that distinguishes you from other brokerage operations.

2. Identify your strengths

Before speaking with recruits, prepare a list of your strengths and benefits. With it, you tell recruits about:

  • the training you offer;
  • your mentoring, coaching and accountability programs available to them;
  • company benefits, such as free marketing materials, premium office space or higher fee splits; and
  • the success other agents are experiencing working for your brokerage.

However, avoid making general statements such as, “we have the top performers at our office.” This does not impress prospective hires as it does not address their needs. Instead, provide specific information using statistics about how your brokerage helps advance an agent’s career.

For example, tell them how well your agents are doing by saying, “Our weekly training and management programs introduce important selling techniques, which on average, increases our agents’ production by six more closed transactions per year than agents with other brokerage offices in the area.”

Be honest and realistic when describing your company’s benefits to prospective hires. They need to know what to expect or they may well become disappointed when they go to work for you. Proper expectations greatly improve employee longevity by reducing agent turnover, producing a healthy business environment.

3. Create a recruitment plan

Recruiting takes time, energy and a bit of talent. Once you have set the staffing goals you want to achieve in the current market, create a recruiting plan. This plan needs to include:

  • a list of sources you will use to find prospects to recruit and hire, such as downloading a custom-made list of CalBRE licensees from CalPaces;
  • the medium you will use to contact the potential hires (direct mail, email or telephone); and
  • the scripts and company promotional pamphlets you will use to solicit and interview prospects.

Be on the lookout for potential hires at all times. Opportunities to pitch your brokerage arise at sporting events, seminars — even your local grocery store. Keep your business cards handy and pass them out to people you meet. Tell them you are hiring.

Use your agents and broker associates to find recruits

Your happy agents are a great source of recruits and need to be encouraged to also spread the word about working at your brokerage.

Ask your agents whether any of their friends or family are interested in becoming real estate agents. Also, they do know active agents who they can talk to about considering a change to another broker’s office — yours.

And since your agents interact with other agents on a regular basis, ask them to talk about the benefits of working for your brokerage. Have your agents provide you with the names and numbers of any agents they feel are a good fit for your brokerage — so you can follow up with a phone call.

Your company website

A recruit will probably go to your company’s website before deciding to interview with you. To make your brokerage appealing to these prospects, add a recruitment page to your website. Include testimonials from other agents to your website and list your company’s strengths, such as providing transaction coordinator assistance, training and staff support for your agents and broker associates. Talk about the standards you have set for the company and your agents so any potential hires will know what is expected if they join your brokerage.

Yes — solicit agents employed by other brokers

Soliciting active agents and broker associates employed with other brokerages is a controversial issue among the larger brokerage operations, sometimes called poaching by those brokers. However, soliciting fully trained active agents who find their current employment arrangements unacceptable fosters competition between brokers for the best agents and broker associates. In turn, this employment rivalry improves the livelihood for all licensees, an advancement which strengthens all parts of the real estate industry.

When you offer more advantageous fee splits, a stronger sales training program or a well-branded office compared to other brokerages, you give prospective hires an incentive to work for you.

When recruiting agents employed by another broker, you want to remain polite and professional. Do not speak badly about their broker, as doing so will not persuade potential hire to work with you. Present the advantages you offer over conditions offered by other brokers.

Daily tasks

Recruiting is an activity requiring consistent attention for maximum results. Daily recruiting tasks include:

  • calling recruits and scheduling appointments;
  • preparing and mailing solicitation letters;
  • following up on recruits you have contacted by telephone or email; and
  • conducting interviews.

Block sufficient time in your everyday schedule and devote it to executing your plan. All brokers know what it takes to build their sales staff; most don’t do it.

Contacting the recruits

Whatever the contact medium, a personal touch is the key to grabbing prospective recruits’ attention. Stylize your message to recruits to make you more memorable in a recruit’s mind.

When time permits, call. Remain polite when telling them how they will benefit from working with you as an agent or broker associate. Present yourself and your company in a positive manner, as a progressive organization in which they can grow.

4. Set realistic expectations for recruits

Potential hires often have impractical ideas or false expectations about the work and earnings as an agent with a brokerage firm. In your first contact with your recruit, establish realistic expectations for them of your management style. A presentation of expectations enables them to have a realistic idea about what to anticipate when representing your company.

To eliminate financial misunderstandings, always review the contents of the Agent’s Income Data sheet with your prospective recruits. If they understand and demonstrate an awareness of the anticipated costs and expenses they will incur during their first year of employment with your company, they are more likely to succeed as an employee. [See RPI Form 504]

5. Third-party recruitment tools you can use

Several recruiting tools exist to help you accomplish your recruiting goals. These include:

  • CalPaces: Joining CalPaces for online access to a pre-certified mailing list to reach any variety of licensees in your area. You can search for new, inactive and seasoned licensees as either agents or independent brokers. If you are interested, click here.
  • first tuesday’s Broker Search: Enter your information in the Broker Search to let agents know you are hiring.
  • Recruitment letters: first tuesday offers recruitment letters for recruiting new agents and active agents.
  • Recruiting sites: For a fee, enlist help from a recruiting service. Be sure to research these sites and confirm they can help you reach your specific recruiting goals before you pay any fees or enter into a contract.
  • Social media: Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways to find potential hires and list job openings. Make sure potential hires can easily contact you to apply or receive more information.

6. Assessing prospective licensee hires

Once you’ve located potential hires, send each of them the Agent Interview Sheet, a tool to help you gauge their individual potential. The form asks them to provide information about their background, education and real estate activities they have been involved in. If they fill it out and return it, they are interested in being hired. [See RPI Form 500]

In the interview, discuss the findings of this sheet in conjunction with the terms of employment set forth in the Broker-Agent Employee Agreement with your potential recruit. Eventually, you need to discuss their personal finances and how their income in your employ fits into that picture. [See RPI Form 505 and 506]

Ask questions that will determine whether their characteristics are in line with the goals you initially set out for your agents and broker associates you want to hire.

The discussion allows both you and your prospective hire make an informed decision about whether they will thrive at your brokerage.