I recently received an email from a former student who asked me a question that every agent is bound to ask after getting busy. Whether you are taking real estate classes in Los Angeles or going to our real estate school in Orange County the below is applicable.
The email goes like this:
“Dear Kartik, I’m doing well in real estate and I think it’s time to hire my first assistant. How do I go about finding someone, and when did you hire your first assistant?”
I’ll answer his questions here.
How Do You Go About Finding an Assistant?
Overall, to hire someone, you need to take the following steps:
• Create a job description of the tasks you need performed.
• Properly screen candidates. Don’t make impulse hires! There’s a great saying “Be slow to hire and quick to fire!” Good advice.
• Offer them a fair wage to reduce turnover.
After you hire someone, you should …
• Train them well.
• Stay on the same page with your goals.
• Run your business by the rules created at the beginning but be willing to bend.
To fully answer my student’s question, I’ll also explain my first hiring experience. I hired my first assistant four years after starting real estate, mainly because I had a lot of plates in the air at once. I was running my real estate brokerage business and working at the real estate school at the same time. Naturally, I was feeling overwhelmed. I actually feel like I got lucky with my first assistant. In fact, she’s still working with us as the manager of our real estate school. I never screened an applicant before hiring her, but just ended up with a great assistant who stuck with me for the years to come. However, after gaining some experience in hiring more employees, I can now give you some real pointers.
Write It Out
The first thing I’d advise you to do is write out the job’s description. What do you personally feel overwhelmed with? Do you need a personal assistant who can get your car washed one time a week and pick up your dry cleaning? Or, do you need a real estate assistant who can organize your files, input your listings into the MLS or oversee photographers and videographers? Hire someone who has experience doing these tasks or get someone who is willing to learn them well.
Properly Screen Candidates
In reality, hiring someone is always a little bit of a crapshoot. You’re going to do all you can to examine resumes and make applicants take personality tests, but there’s always an element of luck in the hiring process. However, properly screening your candidates can reduce the chances of making hiring mistakes.
Here are some basic rules to follow:
• Don’t randomly hire. Too many agents hire friends or friends or a spouse who was laid off, and then five months later they wonder why it didn’t work.
• Avoid impulsive hires, even if you’re in a rush.
• Check out their resume and make sure they have a background in the tasks you are giving them or are a good fit to learn.
• Use personality tests and other assessments, but don’t let the scores define their destiny. I’ve seen someone who was told he didn’t fit the agent personality profile become a successful broker and start his own company!
Prevent Frequent Turnover
Good talent usually sticks around with good pay, so offer a fair wage to eliminate turnover. After all, who will stick around if you offer just minimum wage? I’ve had people stay with me for five years, 10 years, even 14 years. Why? It’s because I always think about how I can put more money in their pocket. I ask myself how I can make them more money … because when they’re making more money, I’m making more money, and the company’s making more money. Pay your employees a fair wage and they’ll not only work hard for you — they’ll stick around.
Train Them and Have Accountability
After you hire someone, you’ll need to do some degree of training. You should also hold them accountable for staying on task. Many agents like to have periodic meetings or phone calls to set goals and objectives because being on the same page is important. Whatever frequency you feel you need to communicate is up to you. I have some members of my sales team that I literally call three or more times per day. This might be a bit much for some of my readers, but it is what it takes when you are getting something off the ground from scratch.
Play By The Rules
Now that you’re a boss, you need to make sure that you have all your legal ducks in a row. Have worker’s compensation insurance for your assistant and withhold the right amount of taxes. Make sure the people you hire are properly classified as either independent contractors or employees.
Learn From the Best
Congratulations on getting to a point where you can hire your first assistant! I wish you the best of luck in the hiring process and hope you find the right person to join your growing business. If you are looking for the right real estate school, check out our website for real estate classes, or call us at 888-768-5285.