Property Personnel Managing Director Anthony Hesse says that companies which limit their search criteria too narrowly are in danger of missing out on the chance to hire some excellent recruits.
“When an estate agency calls us looking for a sales negotiator for one of their offices, they nearly always ask for ‘someone with around 18 months to two years experience’. The trouble is, this automatically excludes a host of potential candidates from other industries who could be just as good. So by focusing on experience in the job rather than aptitude for it, we are in danger of seeing people who might be the perfect catch slipping through the net.”
In any case, research suggests that experience may not be the most important attribute that house-hunters are looking for. A survey carried out for the Home Owners Alliance has indicated that only 12% are put off by inexperience when choosing an agent, and rate factors such as professionalism, appearance and telephone manner (93%) as being more relevant instead.
Anthony Hesse adds:
“The truth is that even if a candidate has no experience in the field, there are a host of transferrable skills that can turn them into a great estate agent. Qualities such as competitiveness, good communication, empathy and passion are all required – but of course these can be found in other professions too. If companies are prepared to broaden their search, they are likely to find someone with the attitude and attributes that line up perfectly with what they are looking for.
“In fact, over the last five years, almost a third of the candidates we have placed (31%) had no prior industry experience whatsoever; simply a desire to move into the property sector. Their backgrounds span hospitality, hotels, restaurants and bar work, cabin crew, recruitment, athletes, ex-military and beyond.”
Whilst some estate agencies may be reluctant to have to put in the time teaching a new recruit the basics of the property industry, Anthony Hesse says that investing in talent outside estate agency can have its benefits.
“There is an argument that instead of hiring someone who comes with bad habits they may have picked up elsewhere, you can teach them the skills you are looking for afresh, and mould them into the agent you want them to be. After all, if you have the right candidate on board, those capabilities can often be picked up very quickly.
“Ultimately, we must never forget that we’re working in an industry where there are considerably more vacancies than we have people to fill them. What’s more, agencies are incurring costs for every day that a position remains vacant. This doesn’t mean that we need to lower our recruiting standards. Instead, we should recognise that some people outside estate agency have qualities and characteristics which provide an ideal fit.
“So in order to make sure that our clients get access to the best range of potential candidates, we recommend that they widen their focus from hiring purely based on experience and qualifications, to hiring also based on attitude and aptitude.”
SOURCE Property Personnel