For the past two years, the topic of recruiting has dominated the responses when we’ve conducted the research for our annual Thought Leader Surveys. Of those surveyed, 86% have said recruiting is a critical business challenge. One in four say it is the biggest challenge of all. When asked for particulars, brokerages say they have a hard time attracting younger agents, don’t have enough time to recruit, and don’t get top producers to apply.
A partial solution to the challenges of recruiting is hidden in one of those responses above: attracting younger agents. Here’s why…
When it comes to recruiting, there is one fact we can’t ignore: The average age of a realtor today is 56 years old. Yet the average age of a first-time home buyer is 31. This difference in age is a strong indicator that realtors are aging and we’re not keeping pace by recruiting younger people into our brokerages. This gap could be due to brokerages focusing on the older, proven agents that they’re trying to woo away from other brokerages, or it could be the industry as a whole hasn’t made the real estate field appealing to millennials.
Targeting the younger crowd may be a better way to spend limited resources and invest in the future of your brokerage. These younger folks offer something else new too. They won’t need to spend time building up a Sphere of Influence (SOI) because they are already well connected via their social networks. They will come to work with a strong SOI already in place!
Here are four strategies you can use to uncover candidates for your real estate business:
Target candidates outside the field
Some experts are suggesting that brokerages broaden their recruiting reach. They say stop looking for realtors and start looking for sales people and entrepreneurs who can be trained. These don’t necessarily have to be younger people, but you might find you have a bigger pool to recruit from if you’re targeting those who haven’t established themselves in another sales field already.
An accountant once said it was easier for him to make a good accountant out of someone with good people skills than to teach a good accountant to be good with people. It’s the same with real estate. You don’t have to recruit real estate agents. You can recruit people with the drive, personality types and skill sets that can make them good agents, and then teach them to be just that.
Develop candidates from within your own brokerage
You might think your time is better spent stealing the top talent away from another brokerage rather than recruiting someone less experienced and unproven. Are you sure? If you invest time and energy into training a younger, less experienced agent, or one of your office admins, you might be rewarded with longer-term loyalty as a result. In addition, they won’t already be set in their own ways of doing things, so there’s a good chance they’ll adapt to your brokerage’s culture and processes better and faster. They might even change things up in a good way with new ideas and energetic attitudes!
The millennial generation came to age with cable TV, the Internet and cell phones. Technology is how they define who they are. If you’re investing in real estate technology for your brokerage, you benefit in two different ways. First, you’ll find it much easier to attract candidates. An Accenture study found more than half of millennials consider state-of-the-art technology an important factor when selecting an employer. Second, these younger agents will put it to great use. They will be more productive because they view technology as making their lives easier. It’s second nature for them.
Use social media to accelerate your recruiting efforts
Use social media to do more recruiting in less time with better results. You know to encourage your agents to use their Sphere of Influence for lead generation. The same approach can help you find potential agents. So tap into social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. Ask your agents to use their social networks to put the word out too. You’ll show the younger crowd that you understand where they are, and you’ll reach more of them faster.
The Internet offers plenty of tips on recruiting younger agents, so do your research if you choose to go down this path. Keep in mind all of the other useful recruiting advice that’s available, and learn to target it to the millennials.