Pain or Process: Hiring for Your Real Estate Team

Pain or Process: Hiring for Your Real Estate Team

By Jim Knowlton, Master Coach with Workman Success Systems


Leverage (hiring) in real estate manifests itself in one of two ways: pain or process. Let’s start with pain first.


The most successful agents or team leaders get to a place in their business where they recognize that the highest and best use of their time is in listing properties. Hopefully, they’ve already seen the need for leverage and have hired and trained an amazing assistant.


This is typically a result of the realization that the time spent versus the return when working with buyers is less, and they begin to view buyer work as problematic. To make it go away with little effort, they quickly “hire” an agent who is available within the office for a quick and easy referral dollar. They offer little in the way of training or support, and as the person they hired was available for a reason—most likely because they weren’t doing the job correctly to begin with—the lead agent invests more and more time in the team member with limited financial return. This is the exact opposite outcome they were seeking; however, it’s as expected: limited production, high level of frustration and a revolving door of new agents and team members.


Conversely, the team leader who follows a written and defined hiring process goes about the process in a completely different manner. They start with a “Missing Persons Report,” which defines the key function of the buyer’s agent position. This could include prospecting, showing properties and writing offers. They then develop a job description for the position based on the team needs and advertise the position everywhere: online, print, social media, calls to vendors and key partners, as well as in the office, if allowed. Once applications are received, multiple levels of screening are used to weed out unqualified applicants and find the next great hire.


Start with traditional hiring documentation. This should include an application, resume and letter of interest.


Next, after reviewing the basics, the top 50 percent (or more) of applicants are sent a DISC screening tool. Those with both good basic paperwork and possible success based on DISC profiles are moved onto the next phase.


Conduct a full personal interview with specific questions that focus on the candidate’s journey in life, values associated with team/work and fit based on company mission statement/core values. If there’s a value fit, then focus on the candidate’s understanding of daily money-making activities (MMA) that are needed to succeed in real estate, as well as their role in the team’s commitment to a high level of daily accountability.


Finally, conduct an in-depth review of the candidate’s references and work history. Some team leaders may decide to get approval from the applicant to complete credit and background checks.


Once a candidate is selected, offer a letter with terms of employment, training requirements and your short-term and long-term review process.


The candidate’s first day is agreed upon and scheduled after signing the offer package. A comprehensive training program and mentor are assigned. The team training partner or team leader helps, supports and guides the new agent for the first 30, 60 and 90 days with daily huddles, weekly meetings and one-on-one sessions. Those identified as not being able to comply or not committed to the systems are given goals to improve, as well as warnings, and are released “quickly” if commitment and improvement aren’t evident.


Having, committing to and following a time-tested hiring process will no doubt elevate your leverage within your team. However, shortcutting, not holding standards, not completing training process/reviews and not conducting daily huddles/weekly meetings will greatly limit the success of your new team members.


Nearly three decades of real estate experience—including 15 years of coaching with Verl Workman—have made Jim Knowlton one of the top agents in the country and one of the most popular coaches on the Workman Success Systems’ team. In addition to serving as director of Coaching for Workman Success Systems, Knowlton also owned and managed several real estate franchises, earned numerous awards for his performance and continues to lead a Keller Williams Mega Agent team in New Hampshire today.

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