General
Josh Rayner | May 30, 2017
We’re approaching summer and there are small but unmistakeable signs the housing market is picking up.

It’s getting warmer, properties look more inviting in the sunshine and sellers suddenly feel that now is the ideal time to put their home on the market. You know the business is there for the taking but your team is already working at full stretch so you need to hire an additional member of staff.

You tell your PA or the HR department to draw up the usual advert, share it on your company website, plug it on LinkedIn and put the word out at your weekly business group meeting for good measure. You get a trickle of interest but none of the applicants is what you’re looking for. Why haven’t you got the response you were expecting? Here are five possible reasons why:

You’re not spreading the net widely enough. Simply posting your shiny new vacancy on a well-known job board isn’t enough in a candidate’s market. Unless, that is, the timing is so spot-on you miraculously catch the eye of an incredibly experienced, well qualified, results-driven go-getter at just the moment they resign their job and decide yours is the perfect next move. Back in the real world, you need to blitz all relevant social media sites, start contacting the pool of potential candidates you’ve been nurturing for just this moment or, better still, put in a call to your trusted recruitment specialist.

Your business has no identity. I touched on this point recently in my article on the importance of building an employer brand. Every business needs to have a distinct personality, a culture, an identity – that intangible something that all things being equal, would make a prospective employee want to work for you and not the estate agency next door. I explained that alongside your company reputation, every thought you tweet, every article you post on LinkedIn and each amusing meme you share on Facebook contributes towards how you are perceived by potential employees.

You’re being too specific about what you want. As a headhunter, I frequently come up against this situation. Of course, it’s good to aim high but if you want to hire someone this year rather than next, you also need to be realistic. Be honest here, how many of the ‘Essential qualities’ on your person specification are really ‘Nice to haves’? If a promising applicant has strong people skills and a willingness to learn, aren’t industry knowledge or familiarity with your particular property management system something that can be taught?

Instead, look for potential and be prepared to invest some time and effort into turning that individual with raw talent into a great employee. I’ve seen this happen with several clients where someone initially hired as a trainee negotiator has had the enthusiasm, aptitude and determination to rise through the ranks in a very short period of time to become one of the agency’s most successful branch managers.

Your recruitment process is too slow. Many estate agents – corporates, independents and hybrid – take too long to make decisions at every stage of the hiring process. Or sometimes there are simply too many steps between making the decision to hire and making the job offer. In my experience, good candidates will often reject an offer – or even decide to stay where they are – if you take too long to get back to them.

My advice is to cut out any unnecessary people (and habitual timewasters) in your recruitment process and manage timescales tightly so there aren’t long periods of silence for candidates.

Lastly, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. So, you’ve done everything right and found your perfect candidate. But what happens if they unexpectedly turn down your seemingly irresistible job offer? Always ensure you start by attracting plenty of quality candidates so you have a second or third choice you can be happy with in reserve. Otherwise, you will need to go through the whole process all over again!