When you are looking to employ a new commercial real estate broker or agent, it is important that you establish the levels of competency that they can bring to your business. You have some choices in doing that. The levels of competency will change between those brokers or agents that are new to the industry, and those that have been working for a number of years.
Set some points in checklist form to use as part of your candidate interview process. Here are some ideas to help:
- You can and should get a character analysis done of the candidate as part of the preparation for the interview. In most cases you will be looking for a candidate that has the required drive and commitment to produce listings and commissions. The character analysis will capture the information in preparation for your interview.
- Local property knowledge will be critical to the conversions of clients and listings. If the person has been in the market for some time, they should be able to talk to current marketplace activity with confidence and relevance. Explore those issues with them. Get them to tell you exactly what they will do with a client in any listing presentation using local property knowledge and recent results from the region.
- Property knowledge is one thing; product knowledge is another. In other words the candidate should be very knowledgeable relative to the local properties and also to the property type. They should also be very familiar with the strategies behind marketing, presenting, inspecting, negotiating, and documentation. Suitable questions can help you identify strengths and weaknesses in each case.
- Test the candidate with current property problems and challenges. Get them to tell you how they would respond in the case of a difficult property challenge and or client. Create situations as test cases.
- Find out what they currently do regards database activity and prospecting. Any successful agent or broker should have an established and up to date database. The system behind that needs to be checked and questioned. If necessary ask the candidate to show you their prospecting activities and results.
- The reputation of an agent or broker in the property market today is critical. Seek some testimonials and references relative to the candidate and their experience. You don’t want someone that will tarnish your brokerage brand.
- Ask them to show you how they will consolidate and grow market share if they are successful with obtaining a position within your brokerage. Question the process quite deeply to ensure that they are committed to making a success of their activities.
- Communication skills are a very big part of our industry. They occur across a variety of circumstances including prospecting, meetings, inspections, negotiating, and documentation. The candidate for the job needs to prove that they are skillful in each respect. It is a sad fact that many salespeople have significant weaknesses when it comes to communication.
- Ask questions about any risks and liability that may have been incurred or generated in previous places of employment. Some brokers and agents leave a trail of destruction and poor quality service behind them. You don’t need to employ someone with that reputation. Satisfy yourself with these facts before you proceed.
You can waste a lot of time and energy when it comes to employing the wrong person. A successful salesperson will have a reputation of quality, customer service, market growth and business reliability. Find the right people as part of the employment process. When you get the facts and the information you require about the candidate, the ongoing business is better in all respects.