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RISMEDIA, February 20, 2009-“The recruiting principles of reaching out to people, giving them information and consulting with them on the real estate business-and discussing if they’d be good at it-is an old principle. The new practices of deploying these ideas over social media and job boards, combined with the Web and lowering company expenses-that’s just a homerun,” says Rick Haase, general manager of Prudential Gardner Realtors.

As the general manager of Prudential Gardner, overseeing 1,300 agents in 26 offices across Southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Haase believes that it is especially important these days to spend the time necessary in order to assess a candidate’s suitability for a real estate position.

“We put our sales associates on the front line, connecting every day with customers, so if you don’t have the right skills or commitment toward customer service, you put your company brand and entire future at stake,” he explains.

According to Haase, the old-school way of recruiting involved a thought process of since you can’t predict success, take in as many agents as you can and let people fall by the wayside-keeping only the good ones. This costly mistake jeopardizes more than the money spent to train these individuals-it can also do serious brand damage in the marketplace by allowing under-skilled agents to interact with the public on your company’s behalf.

More and more, as companies tighten their budgets, that costly method just won’t work. Four years ago, Haase, realizing this, sought out the expertise of AlignMark, known for being a leader in technology-enabled employee solutions, to help his management team in the identification and selection process of new recruits.

“When [AlignMark’s] Real Estate Simulator came out, it was just what the doctor ordered to give our hiring managers a tool to look into whether or not a real estate candidate will have a high likelihood of success in the industry,” says Haase. “When we recently heard about AccuRecruiter, we thought it would allow us to dramatically decrease our advertising and marketing expenses in the recruiting area-and more importantly, use the Web in the way the Web is being used today.”

As social networking and blogging gain in popularity, and as the Web becomes the primary way people search for jobs, AccuRecruiter speaks directly to those tech-savvy candidates of any generation who are browsing the Web-whether they’re actively pursuing a new career or company change, or are just curious to learn about the industry, AccuRecruiter engages the prospect through an exchange of information.

AlignMark’s programs help Haase identify both active and passive recruits. More importantly, AccuRecruiter will not only bring incremental leads from different sources than currently utilized by Haase, but it will convert more leads. It does this through an interactive tool, providing a means for the broker to differentiate themselves as the “broker of choice.”

“With the explosion of social media and networking, AccuRecruiter deploys widgets on social networking sites like Facebook, which fits hand-in-glove with our company and the systems we currently have in place,” says Haase.

“Hundreds of our agents are on Facebook and they all have the opportunity to put a widget on their Facebook account that talks about getting into the real estate business.” This is an excellent vehicle to reach the Gen Y and X candidates, who are essential for any brokerage to continue to grow.

According to Haase, AccuRecruiter delivers an interactive experience for all generations of existing and potential agents, and engages the casual job seeker in a discussion about what it’s like to work in real estate at his company. And this is all accomplished anonymously. After clicking on the widget, the individual is guided through a question-and-answer process-customized by Haase for his company-piquing their interest while informing them about what it’s like to work in real estate at Prudential Gardner.

“Because I have the ability to customize the questions, I can make them relevant to our region of the country and I can make them contemporary so they don’t get outdated,” Haase says.

What’s more, using this system, a company can present their broker branding, employee value proposition and why their company is the ideal one over the competition-demonstrating the company as one they will enjoy working for and where they can grow as a professional-all in one location.

“It’s all about the casual exploration,” Haase explains. “If someone is interested in real estate, it helps get them to the next step, fully engaging them before I ask them to take the Real Estate Simulator, which then assesses their skills.”

AccuRecruiter, in addition to saving the company money, also offers a way for Prudential Gardner agents to generate additional income through the company’s revenue-share program.

“It’s both a Web-friendly and candidate-friendly way to explore joining our company, and at the same time, it helps our agents generate additional income,” says Haase. “In the downturn market over the past three years, it’s much more important to do things more economically with higher results.

“We expect great things from AccuRecruiter as there’s a need for identifying the right people to select into the real estate business,” he adds. “This is a product that offers due diligence. In addition, with AlignMark’s assistance and commitment to helping our large company manage the recruiting process, they’re as good as it gets.”

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