People Business.

I’ve worked closely with almost 100 estate agencies over the last decade and one of the most common issues they face is the recruitment and retention of the right people and removal of the wrong’uns.

In many cases, the problem is caused by the lack of an appropriate system and so, having helped fix this issue countless times, I thought it about time to share the standard prescription we encourage business owners to take. I’m going to focus on one key aspect today, which I hope you find useful.

It starts with having a really clear picture of the sort of person you wish to hire. The person specification for each role is very different (Property Managers and Sales Valuers are chalk and cheese) and needs to be carefully worked out. In his excellent book, “The Sales Acceleration Formula”, Mark Roberge of Hubspot who has interviewed thousands of sales people, has identified that the following four characteristics as being the most likely indicators of a successful sales person:

  1. Coachability
  2. Curiosity
  3. Evidence of past success
  4. Work ethic

Coachability is, he says, by far the most important characteristic of successful salespeople. Unless and until you’ve researched this as exhaustively as Mark, I suggest you adopt this template for your frontline hires (NB all support functions require a different profile).

Next, you need to work out how to establish if the candidate truly does have the right attributes. Asking someone, “are you coachable?” isn’t necessarily going to give you the honest picture you need, instead ask them to pitch your business to you in a role play. If they won’t do a role play, then they’re not right. If they can’t pitch your business, then they’re showing both an absence of curiosity and poor work ethic. If they do a good pitch, then suggest a variation/improvement and have them pitch again – if they’re coachable, it will be self-evident.

Of course, this scenario is looking at the first interview, but there’s an important part of the process prior. Rather than inviting candidates to submit a CV, I suggest you have an application form instead. This has several advantages:

  1. You control the process. A CV is designed to highlight the candidate’s best points and gloss over their deficiencies.
  2. When reviewing several prospective candidates, you’ll have all their information documented in the same order and layout, making comparisons easier and more efficient.
  3. By making them complete a comprehensive application it will indicate their work ethic, particularly if you ask them for examples of past success, (you could include an exercise such as: “Please describe in detail, three work achievements you’re particularly proud of.”)

Once you’ve carefully considered all the applications, then the next step I suggest is a telephone interview. This allows you to interact with a candidate in the same way the majority of your clients will. I recommend scheduling 40 minutes for this and then after 15-20 minutes say: “OK, we have 20 minutes remaining of our allotted time and I’m going to send you an email now with two questions which I’d like you to answer within the time remaining” and then send a prepared email with questions such as “who are the main competitors to (your business) and what are their advantages?” and “who was the best boss you ever worked with and why were they so good?” The first question tests their curiosity and work ethic. The second question will reveal all their preferences of how they like to be managed, which you can compare with your style/culture. If their email response isn’t well laid out or is full of spelling/grammatical errors then again this could be an indication of their work ethic.

We have developed our People processes to cover “The 9 R’s”

  • Recruitment
  • Remuneration
  • Reward
  • Recognition
  • Responsibility
  • Review
  • Renew (training, development, advancement)
  • Retention
  • Removal

Our members get to learn each of these processes to enable them to build a much better team – get in touch if you’d like to come for a free trial of our membership programme.

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