This is the first article in our new 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 new 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 most brokers’ established business models.

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

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

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

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

  • pre-license prospects who are aspiring agents;
  • newly licensed agents who need training;
  • inactive licensees who had been active; and
  • experienced agents who want a boost.

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, set the appointments and interview 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 type 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: Referral Fees and Business Development

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 if they are also an AOR member. In a recent 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 — by a seller or buyer who has retained another broker is prohibited. But soliciting an active licensee to switch brokers and become your employee is not.

When agents are not permitted to move about freely between different brokers, it unlawfully stifles their incomes and 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.

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

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

Large tech firms in Silicon Valley, including Google and Apple, settled an anti-poaching lawsuit for $415 million in 2015 for refusing to poach one another’s skilled employees. Without receiving competing offers, the employees received less than market wages.

Although agent poaching may be uncomfortable for some 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 subject to 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 and talent. Most taper off after an initial period of engagement. 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 be there 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 students.

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

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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.