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Intentional interviewing to recruit new agents

A good recruiting plan includes a great interview process. One broker walks through his system.

A good recruiting plan includes a great interview process.

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote a book called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” In it, the author touches on the ‘theory of liking’ whereby most people are more likely to say yes to you if they’re like you in some way.

It is this basic principle of reciprocity that has guided us with our recruiting efforts for new-to-the-business agents. And it’s working. For 27 years, it’s worked this way and the process has helped us grow our company from two agents to 73 agents.

It’s a collaborative effort from the interview to on-boarding. Together, we exchange motivational goals and vision to see if there is an alignment with our values as a growth-driven, family-oriented culture. It’s that simple. If it’s not a symbiotic match, we part ways and wish them the best.

This approach is intentional. Every Monday, we review the pending list from the real estate commission, and we begin an introduction and engagement campaign. Every week, they get something from us, such as a congratulatory email, professional recruiting video, testimonials from our agents, etc.

In-person trumps Zoom

Typically, after several of these touch points, we get requests for interviews, or we reach out and invite them in. It’s all part of the recruiting process. Yes, we can do Zoom calls, or phone conversations, but it’s best for both parties if we coordinate face-to-face conversations. (of course, if both are comfortable with in-person meetings.)

Nothing replaces the in-person meeting when talking about goals, desires, expectations, and what they’re looking for in a company. If the conversation starts off with money, it’s a very short interview. If they ask questions about learning, training, marketing, and building a business, then it’s going to be a much longer meeting. It could be full-time or part-time, that really doesn’t matter. What matters is mindset, a willingness to learn and whether that person will fit into our culture. We are looking at the long game.

Mindset more than body count

There was once a time for me when it was all about body count and the number of cubicles per agent, but it’s not like that anymore. Now, with our recruiting, we do a lot more weeding out, if you will. I want to make sure the recruit understands how difficult this business is. It’s a hustle. You must work hard, no matter how easy it may look for some people.

While conversation is important, it’s important to discuss the challenges, especially in the beginning. We go old school and put pen to paper and talk through each pain point and discuss expectations and show them what we offer to help overcome any of their challenges and get them to achieve their personalized goals.

This helps develop stronger relationships with our family of agents and retention. That way, instead of them leaving a note on our desk and walking out of the door, they will come to us. Then, we will talk through situations and come to a happy medium for all parties involved.

Hit them with the hard truth

Here’s an important tip for the interview process. This might not work for all brokers, but it works for me. Hit the prospect with the hard truth. If you spend 60 minutes explaining all the reasons not to get into the business, and they decide not to pursue selling real estate, you saved them (and yourself) time and money. If, at the end of the interview, they want to proceed, then that’s an agent that fits my profile to the ‘T.’

After we collectively agree that there is a ‘fit,’ we dive deeper into our value proposition as a company: Local market image and long-standing reputation as a family-owned business of a major global brand, personalized training programs, and a family- and growth-oriented culture that adapts to the agent’s lifestyle and expectations.

Of course, no recruitment strategy works all the time. Like you, we sometimes lose people to other organizations or they simply leave the business. It’s always a concern. But, we try to provide services for those looking for a long-term career, and that’s baked into our interview process. Overall, when you look at our numbers, we do not have high turnover.

There’s no silver bullet in this business. No guarantees. Loyalty begins on day one and must be consistently earned throughout the relationship. And the best way to get this done is in the interview process.

Show the recruits that you support them not just in the beginning, but their entire career. If there’s a mutual understanding and connection, from there you will build a team of agents with the right mindset for growth and teamwork, and ones that fit your company’s culture.

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