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Hiring Do’s and Don’ts (Part 1)

This is a two-part article on the do’s and don’ts of hiring. In this issue, we will discuss Hiring Don’ts. Next month we will cover Hiring Do’s.

First a question: Do you believe successful hiring is an art or a science?

Many real estate agency leaders will say that hiring is an art. Without  effective hiring and induction systems, they’d be right. But with systems, you have more certainty of finding and developing winners, moving hiring from art to science.

To give your hiring increased effectiveness, here are some Hiring Don’ts.

Nine Hiring Don’ts

  1. Don’t believe you are a good judge of character

In many areas of your life, you probably are a good judge of character, but when hiring you are dealing with people who are trying to impress you. Many will say the right things. And you don’t spend enough time with them to form a character assessment with any accuracy. Belief in your good judgement of character can blind you to clues you may have detected had you been more open minded.

  1. Don’t look for another you

I couldn’t manage another me, and I doubt you could manage another you!

You are looking for somebody who can be trained into a winning salesperson. They may not be as good as you, but can they be trained into a winning salesperson? That’s all you should focus on.

  1. Don’t wing it

Prepare before you phone applicants. Prepare before you interview. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

  1. Don’t develop systems ‘on the trot’

The number one cause of high turnover of salespeople is the absence of a hiring system for attracting, sorting, interviewing, testing and inducting candidates.

Hiring systems keep you on track and, most importantly, get recruits started off right. Developing systems as you go reduces your chances of having your new salesperson pay his or her way quickly.

You might think you are saving by not investing in a hiring system, but you’ll spend a lot more in lost wages.

  1. Don’t talk too much

You are interviewing a candidate, not the other way around. Interviewing is like a sale – you are better off asking questions than you are making statements.

Too many statements mean that you are talking about you and your company. You want the candidate to open up and convince you on why he or she is right for this position.

Ask questions and listen. Secondary questions are very important.

  1. Don’t rely on ‘gut feel’

You can ask questions to uncover the attributes you expect your candidates to exhibit (see Part 2 next month, Hiring Do’s) and you may find evidence that this person will be a winner. If you rely on gut feel, your emotions will cloud your judgment.

Gut feel has its place, but it’s a better tool for firing than hiring.

  1. Don’t procrastinate

The idea is to move people through your hiring system as smoothly and quickly as possible. Decide quickly. Winners won’t wait around too long.

  1. Don’t act out of desperation

If you are desperate for staff, you will probably make the wrong decision. Keep only quality people on your team. Seek out quality people to join your team.

  1. Don’t fall for ‘junk statements’

A junk statement is any statement that sounds good but provides no real information. An example is, “I’m a team player“.

Statements like this should raise a red flag. Can they prove it?

When you detect junk statements like this, question further. “You say you are a team player. What does that look like to you?

A second question: “Can you give me an example of a project you were working on as part of a team, your contribution to that project, and a specific example of how you worked with the team to bring that project to completion?

A third question: “When I ask your referee about your contribution to the team, what do you think he (or she) will say?

Drill down. Ask for evidence. The candidate will know that you are serious about finding the right person. The good ones will appreciate your questions. The wrong people will shuffle awkwardly.

This not a definitive list of Hiring Don’ts but if you address the issues in this list, you will greatly improve your chances of sorting the winners from the wrong people.

Next month we’ll look at Hiring Do’s, in Part 2 of Hiring Do’s and Don’ts.

Gary Pittard
PS Pittard periodically broadcasts a webcast entitled How To Find Good People. This webcast is free and designed for agency principals. It is by invitation only, as we cannot accept some agents owing to contractual obligations to our current members. For more information and to check your eligibility, please follow this link.
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