This is the second article in our series covering broker recruitment strategies. This article details the main types of hires available to a broker, provides techniques to solicit prospective talent and advises on how to alter the solicitation approach depending upon the type of hire.

The first article covered the creation and maintenance of a broker’s recruiting plan and goals.


Types of hires an employing broker considers

As a broker planning to employ agents to set up or enhance a brokerage business, your initial step is to lay out your recruiting goals in a written plan. Planning is a fundamental effort which obliges you to:

  • establish the number of agents you can justifiably hire;
  • identify the qualities you need in an agent;
  • allocate the time you and others will commit to training and overseeing agents; and
  • who you are going to solicit to hire.

The types of hires available to brokers include:

  • pre-licensed prospects;
  • newly licensed agents;
  • experienced agents and broker-associates; and
  • inactive licensees.

The types of hires a broker chooses to pursue will bring with them varying skill levels. Some, such as yet unlicensed prospective agents, will require more time for training than others, such as veteran agents, broker-associates, and independent brokers.

Brokers planning to recruit agents first determine which type of hire best fits the services they intend to offer to attract clients. When you decide to go with multiple types of hires, prioritize the order for implementation and create different strategies to locate and attract each type.

Read on to learn how to identify and attract each of the four types of hires listed above.

Aspiring, unlicensed agents

New recruits need not be licensed to be considered for immediate employment in your office. Unlicensed individuals can be a productive part of a brokerage business model, particularly advantageous as these individuals will have already begun in-house training and be bonded to your office by the time they become licensed.

Beyond performing administrative work for the broker’s staff, they may be employed to take on the task of referring buyers and sellers as a finder.

Finders do not need to be licensed by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) so long as their conduct with members of the public remains limited to activities permitted for a finder. [See RPI e-book Real Estate Practice Chapter 20]

Finders are not controlled by DRE law and regulations. Rather, finders are controlled by other California law. Thus, finders are not real estate licensees but are a different category of agents who may be employed by brokers or directly by principals. For the many real estate brokers who employ agents, finders may be their unlicensed agents-in-training acting on behalf of the broker.

As part of a strategy for generating brokerage business, an unlicensed finder acting on behalf of a broker, may:

  • be recruited and immediately hired under a written contract of employment [See RPI Form 115];
  • begin work locating and introducing transaction participants who need real estate services which will be performed by licensed agents employed by the brokerage office, and function as a “runner” or “gopher” while bonding with the brokerage office as part of the team;
  • study and train to be licensed by enrolling in the three DRE-approved statutory pre-licensing courses needed to qualify for the state salesperson exam while getting practical experience operating as a finder in the broker’s real estate office;
  • pass the state exam administered by the DRE; and
  • restructure their employment within the brokerage office on becoming a DRE licensed salesperson, taking on the demanding fiduciary duties a licensee owes to clients when rendering services requiring a DRE license.

A finder’s function is limited to soliciting, locating and referring potential clients to brokers or principals in exchange for a fee. Essentially, finders provide leads identifying individuals who are likely to become participants in real estate transactions.

Related Video:

Click here for more information on this topic.

Attracting prospective pre-licensed agents

When soliciting unlicensed recruits to become part of your team of agents, you will need to:

  • address the extent of your role in monitoring their DRE educational needs for licensing;
  • plan the prospects activities during the lag time between recruitment and eventual employment as a licensed agent; and
  • prepare to provide or arrange for plentiful initial training and guidance upon their becoming licensed to mitigate risks since these hires lack the empirical experience and understanding needed to handle broker-client relationships and negotiate real estate transactions.

To recruit pre-license prospects:

  • create an employment section on your company’s website offering training for new licensees;
  • task all your current agents to identify individuals who express an interest in becoming an agent;
  • rent a booth at local job fairs;
  • post flyers at your local community adult schools and community colleges; and
  • place ads on internet job boards.

For hiring individuals who are yet-to-be-licensed, the formula is deceptively simple:

  • hire on with the broker;
  • work administratively with a team;
  • study to qualify to be licensed;
  • license; and
  • render real estate services for a fee.

Related page:


Newly licensed agents

The next type of hires to consider are newly DRE-licensed agents, whether or not already employed by a brokerage office.

A list of recently licensed agents is available through the DRE, though it is not organized to locate licensees by a specific city or ZIP code. Finding agents who are in your area using the DRE site takes a considerable amount of time. You need a different, efficient tool

As a CalPaces member, you easily download a free list of recent licensees located in the ZIP codes of your choice by using the Recruit Local Licensees link on your CalPaces Broker Affiliate page. Also, you may select from multiple parameters of newly licensed agents, such as those who have been licensed for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months or one year — narrowing your target for the prospects who best fit your profile for newly licensed recruits.

The most efficient approach to take when soliciting a newly licensed agent is to mail a letter introducing yourself and your company. Emphasize how you effectively help your agents move forward with their real estate careers and boast about specific tools you and your brokerage offer to help them achieve their goals. Every office is different, and you need to speak to the conditions and assistance which distinguishes and makes yours more desirable.

To help you craft a personalized letter to introduce yourself and encourage a new licensee to join your office, consider using a customizable FARM template for new agents. Simply fill out the template, modify wording as deemed necessary,  and send it to these individuals directly.  Or use it in your general marketing campaign to draw attention to the fact that you are actively hiring.

When you are a CalPaces member, you have access to a handy new agent recruiting letter. You will find this letter at the bottom of the Recruit Local Licensees page. Introduce yourself to agents you download through your search for licensees in your area.

Entering information on the form letter is quick and easy, as the licensee’s name and address is provided in your search results. The only other information you need to enter is your name, your company’s name, your phone number and your email.

Finally, you may also provide training information for new agents on your company website. Newly licensed agents are typically interested in training opportunities. They will inquire into what sort of support and training you make available to them. So, let them know upfront what your answer is to these basic inquiries,  which gives you a brighter spot on their radar. You are not only their employing broker, you are their mentor.

Related article:

Brokerage Reminder: Recruit and retain for long term success

Experienced agents

Attracting active, experienced agents and broker-associates to your brokerage is all about leveraging what makes you unique and competitive as an employer. Make a list identifying the advantages your brokerage operation has over other brokerage offices for experienced licensees. 

Active licensees have little incentive to join your team unless your benefits outweigh the current environment offered by other brokers.

When recruiting experienced agents, focus on naming the distinct benefits you and your office offer that improve the agent’s income opportunities and boosts their career. Agents in this category are fast to move into what they see as a more advantageous employment in terms of income, benefits and their overall career trajectory. You must state the specific building blocks you provide for increasing an agent’s efficiency and thus earnings.

These agents and broker-associates require less of your time upfront compared to the demands of an unlicensed finder or newly licensed agent.  The trade-off, however, is that you will have to make a convincing case selling the benefits you offer in exchange for their expertise when teaming up with your office — and offer them more perks than you offer lesser experienced hires.

Determine these factors in advance when you set up your recruiting plan. The organization required to build a plan makes implementation easier when you are ready to solicit these experienced agents. [See RPI e-book Office Management and Supervision Chapter 2]

Agents and broker-associates in this category are already employed by another broker, or practice independent of other brokers and hire no agents themselves. Although soliciting another broker’s agents is fair game, it’s important to be tactful in your approach. Most are content where they are, and even when they are not, they might not admit their discontent. Personal contact is best for these recruits.

To recruit experienced agents:

  • call them directly and discuss the benefits of joining your team;
  • be respectful to them and their companies; and
  • be honest about what you offer.

Again, you located these types of experienced agents and brokers by going to your CalPaces DRE name list page. There you select and download the names of the type of hires you seek.

Related FARM letter:

FARM: Join the team (active agents)

Inactive licensees

Finally, inactive licensees are sales agents not presently employed and working for another broker.  While not currently employed by a broker, they  may be interested in joining your office.

When you are recruiting inactive sales agents, focus on why it is the optimal time to get involved in real estate transactions, and how they can build a profitable career in today’s market, whether it’s in a recession or recovery phase. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the economy and what types of deals are happening in the real estate market in your area will help you formulate your case to these prospects.

Also, point out the benefits of working for you and what you offer that sets you apart from other brokerage operations.

With CalPaces, you will find inactive licensees easily with CalPaces online apps.  You use the Recruit Local Licensees feature available on your homepage. Here, you may search for Inactive licensees, or any other class of licensees in your desired area — city or ZIP code. The list is updated monthly, so check back with CalPaces as needed.

When you download a list of licensees to contact, send them an introductory letter explaining what they will achieve working for you. Recruiting Letter templates are available for your use from CalPaces as well.

Related article:

Brokerage Reminder: Recruiting agents – tools and techniques

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