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Are you recruiting for the future?

Friday 28 September 2018

Anthony Hesse, Managing Director of Property Personnel, a recruitment firm for the property industry, says that agencies are finding it more and more difficult to recruit people from inside the industry. So, how should you be looking for new staff, and what would attract them to your firm?

Where will future candidates come from?

Anthony believes that agents need to broaden their horizons and be less blinkered when it comes to sourcing candidates:

"With more and more people leaving the business, lettings agents have to focus on attracting candidates from outside the industry. I appreciate this is easier said than done, especially as more time and effort needs to be invested in getting these employees up to speed. However, they usually come with an empty head (easier to train), no bad habits and at a much cheaper price. We have always prioritised attitude over experience. And this doesn’t only apply to someone looking for their first job. We regularly place personnel who have never worked in the industry before – many of whom go on to hold positions at managerial level, with some even running their own agency.

In fact, over the past five years, around a third of our placements (31.2%) have had no lettings or estate agency background whatsoever. Firms also need to look at attracting candidates from other businesses that employ people with the right skill sets, especially in sales and customer services. For example, we’ve always had a great deal of success with people who have worked in hotels, bars and restaurants. They are invariably used to working much longer hours for less money, and usually have fantastic people/customer service skills.

What are candidates looking for?
Recent that Property Personnel conducted showed that a good work/life balance is as important to a candidate as the salary. A survey of 4,326 followers of Property Personnel’s social media channels revealed that over a third (38 per cent) who took part said that an acceptable division of time between working and leisure activities was the most important factor when applying for a new job. Salary and benefits led the poll results with 46 per cent while employer brand and location came joint third with eight per cent, each.

Nathan Emerson, Property Industry Consultant has similar views but believes that both job hunters and agencies need to be realistic:

"You need employees who can deliver in both sales and customer service, who have more realistic expectations of earnings, but also show desire, loyalty and the work ethic required to make this industry a success. This will not happen from people already in the industry, this will not happen for people looking to move into the industry. It will, however, happen from the thousands of people that have the skills and attributes to be really good estate agents, who have never considered the industry, or even considered themselves capable of doing the job, well not until you offer it to them that is!"

Nathan has been known to go out and scout for talent in very unconventional ways, such as choosing to take clients of his out "shopping" for prospective employees.

Nathan explains: "In every high street within every major chain, there is a customer service-trained superstar waiting to be discovered. My challenge is simple; next time you need an employee, grab yourself a batch of business cards and invest less time than it takes to write and place a job advert walking the high street. 

"Listen and engage.Watch them sell a product. Watch them sell a product. Look out for how they interact with people and how they advise customers on the best additional products that will benefit them, but of course also results in additional sales."

To read the article in full, refer to your copy Issue 29 of Property Professional magazine, which is delivered free to members and also available as a flipbook. If you're not a already a member, please consider joining. Find out what you have to gain, and what we have to offer by visiting our Join pages of the website.