Finding the right people for your business is probably one of the most critical aspects to determining its success. Use this advice to help you identify agents who will be the right fit
People determine your brand and your value proposition to potential buyers, sellers, lessors or lessees. The recruitment of these people is complex and rife with challenges from a legal and process point of view. You need to arm yourself with questions that will evoke thoughtful conversation and provide insight, plus familiarise yourself with the processes.
An organisational culture is defined as the values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organisation. Every estate agency has a unique organisational culture. It’s based on shared attitudes and beliefs, plus written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time within the business.
When interviewing candidates it’s critical to establish the ways in which they conduct business, and manage and build relationships with potential clients.
Most candidates will present themselves with an existing skill set. It’s up to you, the interviewer, to establish whether these skills are directly transferrable into your business context and whether the candidate would be able to apply these skills to add value to your business.
There are various ways of tapping into a candidate’s skill level. Ask skill and competency-based questions in the interview; ask questions around behaviour by asking the candidates to respond to business-based scenarios; and obviously check their references.
Relationships and the ability to establish, build and maintain them are critical in any business, but this is even more so in estate agencies.
These relationships apply internally with sales and support teams, as well as externally with existing and potential clients. From our experience, the client can very quickly sense when internal relationships are dysfunctional. This dynamic will disrupt service levels and professionalism and have a detrimental impact on clients. Ensure that your internal relationships are intact before embarking on developing external relationships.
During an interview establish the “relationshipping” abilities that the candidate has – it’s a fundamental aspect to this industry and to building your brand and business.
Values are the principles or standards of behaviour, as well as judgements, of what is important in life. Along with a culture, skill and relationship fit, the alignment of values between the candidate and the business is hugely important. This is one of the more difficult areas to establish in an interview as it can be based on religious, personal or cultural principles. As South Africans, we tend to find these conversations uncomfortable.
But there are ways of engaging in an individual’s values and principles while displaying respect, sensitivity and empathy. In the interview, ask questions about their thoughts and actions on giving back to communities, for example. Once again, asking scenario-based questions to elicit behaviours and responses would provide interesting insights around this.
ENSURING A SUSTAINABLE FIT
Don’t overlook what needs to happen in the final stage of the recruitment process – many do! Complete the reference checks, criminal record checks, credit checks and psychometric testing. These will assist you in confirming the right candidate for the role and business, once you have completed the interviewing process.
Linzi Kelly is a co-owner of Cherry Bomb Recruitment with Frances Williams. Cherry Bomb offers recruitment and business consulting expertise by partnering with their clients, understanding their context and delivering value aligned with that context.
Words: Linzi Kelly