Tips for Hiring Talent in a Tight Job Market

Don’t lose your top-choice candidate to the competition. Here are a few tips on hiring a real estate assistant in a tight job market.

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By the time most agents are ready to take the plunge and hire a real estate assistant, they’re long overdue for the support. But even though you might need an assistant preferably yesterday, it’s important not to skip any steps in the recruiting process while moving quickly to get your top pick.

If this is the first time you’ve ventured into hiring a real estate assistant, or if you haven’t made a new hire since the economic downturn, you might be surprised to find out just how competitive it is to attract top talent today. The national unemployment rate has plummeted to 4.4 percent today from a high of around 9.4 percent at the height of the recession, so well-qualified candidates can afford to be choosy. With that in mind, it’s crucial to think about how you’ll market the role and keep your top choice from slipping away.

Below is an overview of some things to consider and focus on when you’re preparing to make a new hire in today’s tough market. In the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring a few of these tips in depth, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out!

1. Get crystal clear on your needs.

Before you start drafting your job ad, spend some time evaluating where you need the most help and how much you’re willing to invest and budget for. A full-time salaried position probably makes sense if you find that you are unable to generate new business because you are bogged down in current business, while a part-time, hourly employee might be a better fit if you’re only just starting to feel the strain of the workload.

Also consider who would make a great fit: A social media-savvy person who you can trust to take over your online marketing? Or do you need a licensed assistant who’s able to jump in and help manage the transaction cycle? Are you looking for someone with previous real estate experience, or is the right person worth training? Make a list of your must-have and nice-to-have qualities or skills in a candidate. Keep in mind that, like a homebuyer, you likely won’t get everything you want, but if someone ticks most of your boxes, you probably have a great candidate on your hands.

Once you know what your business needs, and you have a clear picture of the person you want, do some research on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to find out what other people are paying for that type of candidate. Or, you can contact Pro R.E.A. Staffing—we’ll be happy to offer guidance on what salary to offer.

2. Market your team or brokerage—to potential employees.

Leave aside salary and benefits for a minute. What kind of culture, office environment, opportunities for growth, and perks can you offer that will be attractive to candidates? Think about what makes your team or brokerage a great place to work, or what you could do to make it more appealing.

Take this time to think about the way you operate your business and how you’d like it to run as it expands to include a new hire. If you had to describe your work culture or style, what words would you use? Just as you differentiate yourself from the competition to potential clients, do the same in differentiating yourself from other employers. Include this in your job ad, and you’ll attract like-minded candidates.

And don’t be afraid to include some personality! Case in point: We recently had a client at Pro R.E.A. Staffing who was adamant that the person she hired must be a fan of the TV show Seinfeld, and she included that in her job ad. It was a clever way to get the attention of candidates who shared her interests and sense of humor and attracted a number of people who were enthusiastic about the position.

3. Attract top talent with a great package.

You’ve determined what you’re willing to invest and have drafted a thoughtful job ad that is clear on expectations and highlights the kind of agent or team you are. Don’t leave candidates guessing on salary and benefits. Indicate a range that’s in line with what a well-qualified candidate is worth, and applicants will appreciate the transparency. At Pro R.E.A. Staffing, we see a significant increase in response to job ads that include a salary range and description of benefits.

Keep in mind that salary isn’t the only thing top talent considers when selecting a job offer. Things like a flexible work schedule, generous paid time off, bonuses, training and mentorship, health insurance, or a paid cell phone go a long way toward making your job stand out. Without overselling the position, focus on the opportunity—what can they expect to achieve with you if they take this job?

The right real estate assistant can be a game-changer for your business. If they know they’ll grow and learn and be a valued part of your team, you’re more likely to have their loyalty for the long-term.

4. Streamline your interview process.

Before you post your job ad, make sure you have a plan for screening and interviewing applicants. You don’t want to lose your top candidate to another job because the process was too slow. In a tight job market like this one, the best candidates go fast.

Most real estate agents are overwhelmed by this process and feel like they don’t have the time to sort through applications and conduct interviews. Pro R.E.A. Staffing does most of the heavy lifting so you can focus on running your business while we find you the very best candidates, but if you’re going it alone, start by letting candidates know what your target start date is, as well as how early in the interviewing stage you are and when they can expect to hear from you next.

If you’re interested in a candidate, check their references early—after your first interview. Reaching references can take several days, and you don’t want it to be the thing that holds up the process and makes you lose out on a candidate. Finally, if you plan to use skills assessments, a working interview, or additional interviews with your coach or mentor, group these together to save your candidate from having to take multiple days away from their current job.

5. Make a strong offer.

When you’ve found the one, don’t be coy! Show them how serious you are about bringing them onto your team. Like you would representing a buyer in a competitive seller’s market, make your strongest offer from the outset, and let them know you’re excited about them! It’s nice to feel wanted. If it’s as good of a fit as you think it is, your first choice will likely be eager to sign an offer from you.In that case, congratulations! You’ve done a great thing for your business and your peace of mind.

Thinking of working with Pro R.E.A. Staffing to find the perfect real estate assistant for your business? Here’s how we make the process seamless and stress-free.

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