Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – What to Know When Employing New Staff

In any commercial real estate brokerage office today there are certain roles and responsibilities that need to be filled by the right people and supported with the right training.  Any team leader needs to choose the right people to work cohesively across a number of job disciplines and property types.

It can be difficult to achieve the correct balance of people and skills in a real estate brokerage particularly with some of the property skills and knowledge required today.  Care and consideration is required from the outset of looking for the right people for placement in the team.

A Cohesive Team

In a cohesive and proactive commercial real estate team, it is quite easy to generate listing opportunity locally, process marketing requirements, and shorten the time on market with quality listings.

Ultimately a good real estate team will always set the foundations for a successful real estate office, dominant market share, and referral business.  The trick to making the process work is in finding the right people with the right motivations, and then retaining them for the long term.

Many team leaders make the fatal mistake of employing new people far too quickly without complete care and the in-depth consideration of the essential skills that the person brings to the brokerage.  On that basis some real estate offices have a high turnover of staff; they have not taken the time to fully review potential candidates for employment; that review process has to be completed over a series of interviews by at least two people familiar with the industry and the requirements of the brokerage.

Team Approach

The team approach to the employment interview allows for a fuller interpretation of a person and the required skills; the team approach also helps when it comes to identifying weaknesses and hidden agendas in the potential candidate seeking employment.

Top brokerages and agencies will usually interview a candidate two or three times before the final decision is made regards employment.  The same rules apply when it comes to brokerage sales, leasing, and property management.  Don’t be too eager to employ the first person that comes in looking for a job.

Take the Time to Employ Quality People

The extra time spent up front in review of a candidate’s skills and motivations will assist greatly when it comes to staff retention, income conversion, and performance over time.  The commercial real estate industry needs a consistent commitment and focus from each and every individual employed if they are to be successful; employment ‘experiments’ are not normally successful.

The only time to identify and understand a person’s commitment and focus will be through the job interview process.  Preparation is a good thing when it comes to the employment interview.

Here are some ideas to help you identify the right people and create the right team for your brokerage:

  1. Industry experience and knowledge – check out the industry experience and knowledge of any interviewed candidate. Test them particularly regards property strategy, prices, rentals, sales, and leasing.  Ask plenty of questions and expect direct accurate answers.  If they have worked in the industry for other brokerages, they will know what to say and how to explain their activities.  Ask direct questions about market share, new business generation, levels of success, and job discipline.  They should be able to display to you a good level of work achievement and work ethic.
  2. Check out the testimonials – most candidates will give you a list of names and people to contact as part of a reference check or testimonial. That being said, the facts should be checked out fully and the calls should be made to the people concerned; take plenty of notes in the process.  Seek out work based testimonials and not references from friends and relatives.  When in any doubt, ask more questions.
  3. Focus on new business – there are two types of people that work in commercial real estate. Firstly you have the administrators to control work created, and secondly you have the business generators or individual agents.  The classic formula and balance between the two groups is hard to achieve and will depend a lot on your location and property specialities.  Ultimately you need a good selection of agents and brokers independently producing new business on a regular basis.  The administrators and office support team are there to control the work effectively and directly.  A good administrative team will normally control the marketing and paperwork for every listing thereby allowing the agents and brokers to generate more income.

So the message here is that a degree of care is required when it comes to employing any new person in the commercial real estate industry.  Choose your people directly and carefully.  Make the final choice of candidate based on facts and not feelings.

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