This is the first article in our series covering broker recruitment strategies. This article details how a broker’s business model, recruiting plan and recruiting goals are developed and maintained to help a brokerage function at its highest capacity and avoid becoming a stagnate office.

Setting standards for recruiting

Whether you operate a small, medium or large brokerage, one of your goals as the broker is to increase revenue by recruiting a better grade of agents.

Yes, new agents bring revenue to your office. And they bring excitement, new energy — and of course a new batch of contacts known to the new agent.

The act of recruiting falls within the business model established by most brokers who employ agents, whether they are licensed as sales agents or brokers.

A business model is a plan establishing the means and manner for producing and servicing the sellers and buyers who employ the office. Another components of a business model ensures agent oversight through broker supervision activities and risk management parameters — limitations — for conduct with clientele. [See RPI e-book Risk Management Chapter 2]

Related Video:

Regardless of your business model, the process of recruiting always includes:

  • a recruiting goal;
  • a plan of action; and
  • minimum standards for employment.

Setting a recruiting goal forces you to determine how many agents you plan to hire, and how you plan for desk cubicles, conference rooms and common area space requirements. Prospective recruits may include:

  • pre-license prospects who are aspiring agents needing guidance;
  • newly licensed agents who need conditions for training;
  • inactive licensees who have active experience; and
  • experienced agents who want to improve their opportunities.

Once your recruiting goal is set, prepare a plan of action. The plan determines:

  • who is in charge, responsible of soliciting potential recruits;
  • the source of the prospects (i.e., co-op agents on recent closings, MLS rosters, DRE licensee list, staff referrals);
  • the media used to solicit recruits (i.e., physical mail, email, telephone calls, postings online); and
  • the scripts used to solicit, setting the appointments and interviewing the prospects.

Deciding who qualifies to be hired when setting the plan in motion and beginning interviews varies by the culture of your office and the nature of prospect you are recruiting. Define your range of standards based on your goals. Remember, your team players reflect your business and you — their broker and their coach. 

Related Video:

Click here for more information on this topic.

Soliciting agents employed by another broker

When planning your recruiting goals, you may have a sense it’s best practice to stay away from soliciting licensees associated with another broker. After all, isn’t that a form of poaching?

Real estate brokers widely and erroneously believe that it’s unethical for a broker to knowingly recruit agents employed by another broker, especially when they are also an AOR member. In a firsttuesday poll, one-third of respondents felt that way. This thinking is wrongheaded.

A vehicle for this misconception is the inaccurate belief that the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics presently prohibits all poaching behavior of any variety. However, no such prohibition exists in any controlling legal or trade union schemes. The confused beliefs may arise from the concept that soliciting a listing — employment — with a seller or buyer who has retained another broker is prohibited. But a broker soliciting an active licensee to switch brokers and become your employee is always permitted, and generally encouraged.

When agents are not permitted to move about freely between different brokers, it unlawfully stifles their exposure to better income and employment opportunities in the local marketplace. Without access to alternative and superior employment opportunities, agents lose out on more beneficial employment arrangements. This limits an agent or broker-associate’s potential in the industry, and by extension, hinders the industry itself for lack of adequate employment competition. Brokers get lazy; agents become disenchanted.

Like it or not, competition between brokerage offices is good for brokers. It encourages brokers to develop and offer similar or superior benefits, fee splits and training opportunities compared to their competitors, and when they do not, forces them out of the business. When they don’t offer competitive employment arrangements, they risk losing their best talent. On the other hand, a broker offering competitive fee splits and benefits will attract the higher quality players. Ultimately, they close more deals with an efficient, high-functioning staff — a better consumer experience which in turn generates the goodwill needed to best brand the office.

In trade associations, when companies openly or sympathetically and consciously or unconsciously collude with one another to not hire each other’s employees, or otherwise collaborate to keep their employees’ wages – fee-splits – low, they violate antitrust laws.

Although agent poaching may be uncomfortable for some brokers when they engage with the former employing broker civically, socially or professionally, this type of solicitation plays an important role in shaping a competitive and thus fairer, better functioning real estate industry. Some brokerages will prosper and grow; others will not and diminish. But a general brokerage, when willing to adopt change, will automatically see growth.

Related article:

Agent poaching is good for business

Finding the perfect candidate

Recruiting is an activity requiring consistent attention to achieve maximum results. [See RPI e-book Office Management and Supervision Chapter 2] Daily recruiting tasks include:

  • calling or taking calls from 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. Otherwise, you will not stay on track, you will lose your rhythm, and goals will either be deferred or abandoned like new-year resolutions.

Although the adverse effects of slacking is common knowledge among brokers, few achieve their recruiting goals consistently. Since generating growth is the development of an asset, it requires analysis and takes time, effort, talent and probably a bit of luck – right place at the right time. Most taper off after an initial period of engagement before spending sufficient time for the recruiting effort to become bed-rock routine. Part of failing may be the heavy lifting required in the search for the right fit in prospects. Also, finding talent takes talent — and that might not appear without greater time and effort.

Another factor inhibiting a successful recruitment campaign might be a broker’s lack of knowing how to best approach a candidate in letters soliciting prospects.

To help you narrow down your search and prepare recruiting letters, brokers with 10 or more licensees employed are eligible to join firsttuesday’s CalPaces Broker Appreciation Program.

The CalPaces program provides you, the broker, with a local list of all DRE licensees as a primary recruitment tool — all at no cost. You can search by city, ZIP code or region, including cities outside of California.

Further, once you begin searching in your desired area, you can narrow the search filters to generate lists limited to:

  • active sales agents and broker-associates;
  • inactive sales agents and broker-associates; and
  • firsttuesday

You can also search for the DRE’s newly licensed sales agents, including those licensed for:

  • 12 months;
  • 9 months;
  • 6 months; and
  • 3 months.

Based on your preferences, you will receive an instant list of all licensees meeting your criteria. The list includes their name, DRE license number, expiration date of their license and physical mailing address.

Once you have a list of prospective licensees to contact, you may choose to download the list, print labels or prepare recruiting letters through a provided template.

This simple process takes the pain out of routine office management activities — activities that are a necessary component of remaining competitive as a real estate brokerage.

To enroll in CalPaces, call 951.781.7300 or visit

Related article:

Infographic: Recruit for success

Want to learn more about office management and broker recruitment? Click the image below to download the RPI book cited in this article.