Finding the best and the brightest is a lot easier than getting them to join your firm. Top producing and “best” real estate agent lists abound: The Wall Street Journal and RealTrends publish several lists, US News & World Report (by Agent Ace) provides a searchable, market-by-market “best” list, and there are often local data sources that can provide a production report that lists the most active local agents

However, the way that the real estate industry typically recruits hasn’t really changed much over the years (and even decades). The problem with doing the same thing year-after-year is that eventually, we don’t get the results we once did.

If you are looking for some fresh recruiting ideas, here are some innovative approaches to finding your next best real estate agent, often using the same tools agents use to find new buyers and sellers:

  1. Facebook advertising: Many social savvy agents know that Facebook is an amazing hyperlocal way to affordably target a specific marketing segment or geographical area. But it is also a great way to target other agents or a demographic that is likely to have an interest in real estate as a career. Try Facebook ads as part of your recruiting outreach. Don’t forget to create a page on your website or a landing page that provides the basic information about the career opportunity with your firm and collects contact information for a direct follow up.
  1. Retargeting or remarketing advertising: If you have gone to a website (Amazon) and looked at a product (a camera) and left the website only to see an ad from Amazon with the camera you were thinking about now appearing on other websites – literally following you around the web – you’ve discovered retargeting. From Google to Adwerx, there are dozen of solutions that can get you in front of an interested candidate multiple times, all based on a click-thru from just one ad.
  1. Invitation-only Webinar: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it serves as catnip for salespeople. Offering a highly confidential Webinar gives folks an inside look at your brokerage firm’s culture and career offerings. What makes your firm different and how you support agents lends itself to telling a visual story about who you are and what you do. A slick video might be a way to tell your story and may generate some views, but video alone can’t engage a participant in the ways that a Webinar can. If you physically can’t go to them, and they don’t want to be seen going to you to check you out, invite them to register for an “inside look” since curiosity is likely to attract potential candidates that might not otherwise consider your firm.
  1. Show them the money (not the recruits, your current agents): No one knows your culture and who might “fit” in your brokerage better than your current agents. But asking agents to recruit someone to your firm whom they fear will compete against them can be a challenge. However, research says that for companies in other industries, about half of the best hires come from referrals. So how do you engage agents to recommend talent? Two suggestions: First, pay them for a successful referral and second, encourage them to recruit non-agents that can be trained to become successful agents. Offer a cash bounty, to be paid first after 90 or 120 days, and then pay an additional cash bonus to the referring agent at the new hire’s one-year anniversary if a certain production benchmark is made. This does two things: It quickly rewards a referring agent for their initial efforts, and then it incents them to see their referral succeed as they have a stake in their success. Moreover, by suggesting that agents recruit non-agents, you will find that they will likely recruit both. Yet by focusing your recommendation on getting salespeople from other areas in real estate (mortgage loan officers) and other businesses (media, health and beauty) or professionals from other industries (teachers, nurses), you help them bring in potential stars that won’t be perceived as being immediately competitive.