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Watching brokers work a room of agents is an interesting and often amusing spectacle. The dialog is very consistent and reminds me of the pain of changing brokerages and the old-school way of building a business. Today, things are different; the people we want to join our firms must be exceptional, stand out from the average and have a strong desire to succeed. This is the most opportunistic time in the history of real estate and the need for true professionals has never been greater.

As you clearly define who it is you are trying to recruit, the path to a successful hire will become more focused. There are three categories of questions to ask yourself before you even begin the recruiting process:

1. What kind of person am I looking for? Will they fit in? Are they honest and ethical? What are their life priorities and are they givers or takers?

2. What qualifications do they have that will help them be successful? What specific real estate experience do they have? What about their sales skills? What is their social media quotient and are they technology savvy?

3. Are they hungry enough to do what it takes to succeed? People who make $100K a year know how it feels to take care of their families and enjoy life at a higher level. Do your recruits push you for training, systems, scripts and dialog? Or will you be constantly pushing them to do more?

I once asked four-time Olympic gold medal winner John Naber how he decides who to coach. He answered me by asking, “Have you ever seen a person walking their new puppy in the park?” Then came the key to his success: “I look for the puppy that is pulling at the leash, eager to go, and pulls me forward.” I love that analogy. Stop hiring any agent with a heartbeat to represent you and your brand! It’s time to recruit true professionals into this industry.

As the market changes, we are forced to work harder and smarter and employ more technology and systems to even compete, let alone stay profitable. By recruiting average prospects, we set ourselves up for disappointment and loss. Exceptional recruits, on the other hand, come from strong business—and often sales—backgrounds. Real estate provides one of the few real opportunities to people who are willing to fully engage, to set up their businesses and run them like a CEO.

When seeking out the elite, they must feel honored to be selected to work with you and must convince you why they are worth your training and mentoring investment. Following are a few recruiting tips:

• Run ads on Craigslist or local classifieds stating the real income opportunity available in your market for agents who truly work the business.
• Have them email you a PDF of their resume. This tests their technology confidence and their attention to detail as well as their ability to follow simple instructions.
• Ask them to leave a voicemail on your Google Voice account explaining why they feel they would be good for the position.
• During the interview process, have them take assessments and tests to determine if they have the personality and skills to succeed.

Once they have done these things and you have a good feel for who they are, make them a formal offer. Adding formality to the process gives you credibility and sets the stage for the professionalism they will learn to expect and appreciate in working with you and your company.

Verl Workman is a speaker, coach, business consultant and president of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®.

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