Every successful team leader and business owner has proven strategies for recruiting and retaining today’s top agents. From effectively identifying and evaluating candidates, to remaining laser-focused on what the business needs, mastering the art of recruiting usually involves some hard-earned lessons.
Side partners David Cohen of City Real Estate; Nicole Solari of Level Up Realty; and Samantha Tov of Portfolio Real Estate, share some invaluable lessons—and their tried and true recruiting techniques—with the Side community.
Here are three insider tips from our recruiting masters
Identify the x-factor that your business needs
Knowing your current team composition, and finding the missing fit can fuel further growth and success for your company. By the same token, hiring the wrong candidate can deteriorate your culture, upset others on the team, and possibly lead to agent departures. How do you screen for x-factors that include personality traits and level of motivation?
For David, that x-factor is a hungry agent. Early on, he made the mistake of seeking agents who— like him—were top producers. “It’s really easy to find an agent who is already producing, but is stagnant….” he says. “I’m looking for an agent that wants to grow their business. If they’re hungry, if they need a commission check, they need a sale. I think those are usually the best agents.” David points out that while you can teach someone the details of being a real estate agent, “you can’t teach hunger.”
“You can’t teach hunger.”
– David Cohen of City Real Estate
Samantha assesses motivation. She says: “The number one question is, what’s the why? Why do they want to get into real estate? Why are they doing it? What is their biggest motivation? And if I can get there, then I know if they’re the right fit for the office or not. And if they [could] be part of our team too.”
Many of Samantha’s agents are in the business for their kids and their family, and want to build up their own portfolio assets. Sussing this out early on helps her assess good team fit.
Ask unconventional interview questions to get under the hood
Nicole uses unconventional questions alongside more expected questions in her interviews to understand what type of person is applying for the role. Some of the less common questions she asks include: “How did you prepare for the interview today?” “What’s more important to you, fixing a client’s problem, or the client having a good experience?” and “Teach me something.”
To her, these questions speak volumes to a candidate’s level of preparedness, people-pleasing vs. problem-solving skills, and ability to think on one’s feet. “You want a good mix of people on your team,” says Nicole. “You want some good problem solvers, and then you also want some people who are overly, highly empathetic, to balance that as well.” As for the teaching request, Nicole says: “The reason I asked this question is, I want to see how they communicate when they’re thrown off, or thrown into…a hairy situation.”
“You want a good mix of people on your team. You want some good problem solvers, and then you also want some people who are overly, highly empathetic, to balance that as well.”
– Nicole Solari of Level Up Realty
Hire for the role, not the person
Nicole stresses the importance of being hyper-focused and clear on what the hiring need is. “Have a job description, have KPIs, have details on what the day to day expectations look like, when you’re going into the hiring process,” she says.
This is a hard-earned lesson for Nicole, who made the mistake of hiring people she liked, rather than hiring for positions. “So I would meet someone, I would really like them. I would say, “Oh my gosh, I want you, you’re awesome. You would fit in here. Let’s create a position for you. And it would be something that I didn’t need, or something that I didn’t even really want. It might have even been in my wheelhouse, and I was giving up a piece of what I enjoy doing, and it just never worked out.”
Similarly, Samantha shares that she will never hire friends. “Friends are usually not the right fit if they’re joining the company, just for the wrong reasons,” she says. “Sometimes friends will take advantage of you, and they think they know it all already. You want to hire [someone with whom] you can actually grow together. And if they’re a team player, they’re willing to go the extra mile.”
“Friends are usually not the right fit if they’re joining the company, just for the wrong reasons.”
– Samantha Tov of Portfolio Real Estate
As a final tip, David shares a unique benefit for Side partners when it comes to recruiting:
“Most of the agents that I’m recruiting are at a big box realtor, a real estate company, and at all those companies, there’s an admin fee. It’s anywhere from 4% to 6%,” he says. “When we’re recruiting at Side, there is no admin fee. So when you’re talking about commissions or splits, if it’s a 70%, 80%, 90% split, you have 5%, let’s just say, split to play with. So the net is going to be 5% greater than whatever company that they’re coming from.” The ability to have that 5% to save on administrative costs is a huge benefit.
“At [other brokerages], there’s an admin fee. It’s anywhere from 4% to 6%. When we’re recruiting at Side, there is no admin fee…So the net is going to be 5% greater than whatever company that they’re coming from.”
– David Cohen of City Real Estate
Side is grateful to David, Samantha and Nicole for sharing their recruiting tips and tricks with the community.