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The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of Realtors® and Steve A. Brown, NAR’s Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

Steve A. Brown
Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Barbara Wolcott
Chairman/CEO, Prudential Towne Realty, Virginia Beach, Va.
Tracy Hutton,
President, CENTURY 21 Scheetz Real Estate, Indianapolis, Ind.
Linda Sherrer,
President/CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, Jacksonville, Fla.

Steve A. Brown: A friend once told me, “Good recruiting will eventually solve all of your problems.” I believe he was right, because recruiting a steady stream of the right people can make the single most important difference to the continued growth of your business. Tracy, how important is recruiting to you, and how do you recruit for today’s market?

Tracy Hutton: There’s no question, recruiting is our lifeblood. I think it’s fair to say the real estate community is largely an aging population. If we’re going to survive, we need to draw new people—and young people—into the industry. Now. We’re big on Career Nights at our company, and recently had 28 people come to a Career Night in our corporate office—people of diverse backgrounds and varied ages, some who found us through social media channels, where we have a big presence, but many more are brought in by our own agent base.

Barbara Wolcott: We’re out in the community all the time, and much of the time, we’re talking about our business. Personally, I think at least once in every twelve month period or so, almost everyone evaluates where they are and whether it’s time to make a change. If you’ve been talking up your business so that you’re top of mind, very likely you’re the one they’ll call. I’ve recruited some of my best people late in the evening, which is when people seem to want to talk. If it’s someone who I think is right for our company, we talk value proposition right there, right then. I don’t put it off, and I don’t sleep on it. I want them to know what a great match I think they’ll be for us.

Linda Sherrer: Over the years I have encountered many people who have a real talent in service and sales. In a substantial number of cases I have recruited these talented people from entirely different industries. They have brought their service orientation and sales ability to real estate and in many cases have become industry stars. But so does team building. Besides the fun and satisfaction involved, the “TeamBuilder” program offers our agents cash incentives and other rewards for bringing us good people. And recruiting is very high on the list for our managers who basically do that very important first screening.

TH: The truth is, this is a great business and a tremendous opportunity for the right people. In our recruiting efforts, we’re opening doors for people who might not have thought of it on their own. We like to target the college crowd and salespeople who’ve shown us really great customer skills. Often, they’re flattered that you noticed. It’s amazing how many people will say, “Hmm…real estate…interesting!” One of my most productive agents was formerly a sales pro for a medical products company.

BW: Whether it’s a first career or a second career, the right fit is also a lot about an individual’s caliber and attitude. I trust my agents and my managers to find and bring in good people. But it’s also on me. I want to speak to every good candidate myself.

SAB: How do you evaluate whether a recruit is likely to succeed?

LS: We consider how well they fit with our company culture and whether they have like-minded goals and values. We want to be sure they’re career-minded, eager for training, and committed to becoming the best.

TH: You have to be selective. Of the group that came out of our last Career Night, 20 percent wound up in real estate school, so we place a premium on the commitment and qualifications of each candidate, and also on our internal mentorship program.

SAB: Ultimately, the broker has a responsibility to follow up, train and mentor these new agents to ensure they have become fully integrated into the team.