You can’t build your real estate business alone.
No matter how much of a perfectionist you are, no matter how nervous you are about hiring other people, the fact remains… you’re going to have to delegate if your business is going to grow and thrive.
The good news is… you’re not the first agent or investor to hire for your real estate business.
All of our most successful members have at least a few people working for them so that they can focus on growing their business rather than getting locked inside of daily minutia.
And if they can do it, you can do it, too (regardless of your past hiring flops).
I talked with 5 of our members who’ve been around the ringer — they’ve hired A-players and they’ve hired F-players. Along the way, they’ve learned from their mistakes.
This is what they had to say about how to hire A-players, every single time.
Tip #1: “You can’t teach someone how to be hungry for success.”
When you hire someone for your business, you’re going to have to train them on a lot of different things.
You’ll have to teach them about your internal processes, how to use different kinds of software, and even how the real estate world works.
But there are some things you can’t teach. Matt Bristow, the CEO of MCB Homes Inc., points out…
“You can’t teach someone how to be hungry for success. Find someone who can communicate effectively and has the desire to do a good job or succeed in what they are doing. That’s something you can’t necessarily teach someone. You can teach them the rest.”
And he’s right.
You can teach someone all the technical aspects of your business, but if the applicant doesn’t have a hunger to learn, if they aren’t already effective at communicating, and if they aren’t self-driven, you should probably wait to hire someone who’s more disciplined — ’cause you can’t teach someone how to be a hard worker.
Tip #2: “Establish your company culture before bringing VAs onto your team.”
Generally speaking, people work harder when they’re part of a business they believe in and when they naturally fit in with the company culture.
As a leader, one of the fastest ways to kill employee efficiency is to kill employee satisfaction. And the fastest way to kill employee satisfaction is to hire someone who isn’t a fit for your company culture.
For that reason, Matt Bigach, the Co-Founder of Nexus Homebuyers, offers two pieces of advice:
“Establish a company culture before bringing VAs on to your team. Put your core values along with what your vision and purpose for your company looks like down where everyone can see them. Once those are established, only hire VAs that fit into your culture.”
“Establish what personality type you want in each position you plan on hiring for. Then you can fill that position with the right personality. Putting the wrong personality in a role can send you backwards.”
In other words, only hire people who believe in your company’s mission, who match the ideal personality type for the role you’re trying to fill, and who exemplify the culture you’re trying to create.
A personality test and a few long-and-honest conversations will go a long way toward helping you select the right person for the job.
Tip #3: “I hire for likeability and character — I train the whole real estate investing piece.”
How important is likeability when you hire someone?
In the real estate industry (as with most sales positions), it couldn’t be more important, especially if you’re hiring someone who will be on the front lines, taking phone calls for your business or meeting with sellers.
When Ryan Dossey, founder of Christopher Ellyn Homes, hires Acquisition’s team members, he looks exclusively for people with character who are likeable… and he trains the rest.
“When I’m looking for acquisition’s people, I’m looking for the guy who’s like the life of the party. Typically, I’m hiring for likeability and character traits — are they a good person? Are they ethical? — and I’m training the whole real estate investing piece.”
He also explains his reasoning for having such an exclusive focus on those two simple traits…
“If you’re looking to start hiring staff… the number one thing I’ve found that determines whether or not a new investor is going to make it or not is likeability. They have to like you and they have to connect with you.”
“I can’t tell you how many deals we’ve gotten where we’re paying less than somebody else, we’re not closing as fast… but we’re able to use rapport and relationships to get the deal done.”
The fact is, people, work with real estate investors and agents that they like — even if their offer is a little bit lower and their closing time a little bit slower.
“The number one reason that somebody is going to buy from you is if they like you.”
Tip #4: “Never hire a VA without a plan and a training system in place.”
Many new real estate investors or agents get in a hurry to hire a VA during a time when business is booming.
They’re not entirely sure what that VA is going to do once they’re hired, or even what processes they’ll need, but they know that they need help right now.
So they quickly hire someone, scramble to give them work to do, and just as quickly find out the error of their ways: you must have correct processes and systems in place before you hire someone.
You must know what that person is going to do on a daily basis, you must have instructional videos to train them, and you must know how much you can afford to pay them… all before you hire them.
Zachary Tetley, Partner at Nexus Homebuyers, which has 13 VAs running the majority of the business, explains…
“If you don’t track them with specific KPIs and give them clear cut video instructions so they can review and execute, you’re doing yourself a massive disservice.”
“Never hire a VA without a plan and a training system in place to replicate what you want them to do for you task-wise, otherwise you’ll end up drowning in the tasks with them and both of you will end up frustrated.”
Tip #5: “I give them a basic scorecard so they understand their accountability and job tasks before they accept the job.”
Using a rigorous hiring process to ensure you hire A-players every single time is a far better use of your time (and money) than hiring C or D employees without much thought and figuring out how to fire them down the road.
Which is exactly why Tim Oppelt, owner of Opp Real Estate, has such an intense hiring process for even the simplest of positions — he only wants to hire A-players.
In his own words,
“After I post a job description and get interest, I send them this long employment application.”
Here’s that application… (feel free to download, tweak for your business, and use it)
He goes on to explain that this long application serves two functions.
The first goal is to weed out people who are lazy and not willing to put in the work. And the second goal is to build a picture of the person by analyzing the pattern of their history. Resumes are easy to cheat. Patterns are not so easy.
Once I get them back, for the ones that are a good fit, I have a quick phone call to make sure they have availability, resources (computer/car). basic make-or-break stuff. Then, on the interview, I will use a variation of this doc below (depending on position).”
Here is the interview doc he’s referencing…
“Again, I’m asking the same questions about each of their positions to build a pattern. And the process isn’t just about determining who is “good” or “bad”. Its about understanding them. Once you hire them, you will have a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses which will help you train them better.
Also, you need to give them a basic scorecard so that they understand their accountability and job tasks before they accept the job and a clear benchmark for them to know they are doing a good/bad job. Basically I include anything that will cause me to fire them — Lying, integrity, communication, all of that stuff is important, because if they don’t have it, you will end up firing them down the road.
Here’s the scorecard he uses for his Acquisition’s Manager.
Pretty rigorous, huh?
But Oppelt swears that the results of this intense hiring process are well worth the wait.
“I weeded through dozens and dozens of people before hiring my admin in 2017. She is the best person for my business and a really loyal and hardworking assistant.”
He does offer one caveat, though:
“The only issue with my method is it definitely caters more toward Type A people who like to write things out. Sales people (even ones that are rock-stars) may not be inclined to fill everything out. But for an admin position, this is perfect.”
Hiring your next employee doesn’t have to be a massive headache.
The above 5 real estate pros have created clear-cut systems for ensuring that they hire A-players every single time — people who are going to make their business a joy to run rather than a nightmare.
Remember, it’s far better to wait for the right person than it is to hire the wrong person right now.
And with a little intentionality, using the above advice, you can significantly increase your chances of hiring the right person for the job on your first try.