I think I highlighted one of Peter Weddle’s articles a couple of months ago, and I usually like to let more time go by before I cite him again as a source for a new discussion.
But, the content in his latest newsletter was just too good to pass up.
Why? Because Peter (unknowingly) identifies a hiring advantage that real estate companies can quickly and easily use to differentiate themselves from traditional employers.
I wish that I could report there has been a sudden and unexpected groundswell of respect that candidates have gained for the real estate industry in recent months. While this would be well-deserved among many of our clients, there is no real evidence that any change in behaviour has actually occured here.
The change has instead happened among traditional companies who hire employees. Many of these companies have become very disrespectful toward their applicants, and many candidates have noticed this change.
Peter makes the following observation from the candidate’s perspective:
“For the first time in modern American history, those in transition now have to worry about serial unemployment. They must endure a grueling and often lengthy job search, and then they have to deal with the ever-present possibility that they may lose their job 6, 12 or 18 months down the road. No sooner are they employed, it seems, than they face the prospect of becoming unemployed all over again.
There are, of course, a range of reasons for this phenomenon. The lousy economy, changing consumer tastes, and the introduction of new technology certainly deserve some of the blame. In far too many cases, however, there's another cause. It's employers behaving badly.
What does that mean?
Bad employer behavior includes misrepresenting the nature of a job - the tasks it involves or its compensation - and/or the nature of the organization - its culture, values and leadership. The former is rare because it can only occur if recruiters and other employees are complicit in the cover-up and thankfully few are willing to do so. The latter, on the other hand, occurs far more frequently than it should primarily because the warning signs are overlooked or, worse, ignored.”
At first, you may not see traditional employers as your competitors, but when it comes to attracting and hiring talented candidates, they are the ones who most commonly lure candidates away.
And while they seem to have the “unfair advantage” of offering upfront salary and benefits, this advantage has a disproportionate impact on desperate people—these are the individuals who put up with the abuse and ignore warning signs of poor employers.
Every real estate hiring manager knows that desperate candidates do not make good real estate agents. They typically cannot afford the start-up costs and sustain focus on the long-term payoff of a real estate career.
So, an interesting dynamic has developed-- We have traditional employers who disrespect candidates and naturally filter out the desperate candidates for themselves. Who’s left in the pool? Non-desperate candidates who have the resources, talents, and self-esteem to not jump at the first thing thrown their way.
Anytime your competitors act badly, it’s an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself. But you have to counter their missteps with good behavior of your own.
Peter goes on to describe how this is achieved in the hiring process (again, from the candidate’s perspective):
“A decent employer is one that provides the environment, encouragement and support for you to succeed. In short, it's an organization that respects you as a person of talent. It recognizes the contribution you make to its success and treats you accordingly. As a consequence, you are able to perform at your peak, and that outcome - excelling at your work - is the best guarantor of continued employment.
Respect, however, is a two-way street. Yes, an employer should respect you, but you must also respect yourself. You must think enough of your talent to ensure you can always deliver it on-the-job. You must constantly refresh your skills and knowledge so that your talent is as strong, versatile and durable as it can be and must be in today's highly competitive global economy.
With self-respect in place, you are in the right position to evaluate the level of respect you would get from prospective employers. How do you make that judgment? Look for telltale signs in the recruiting process of each organization.
- Does the employer acknowledge the receipt of your resume when you submit it and thank you for doing so?
- Does the employer keep you informed of your status as the evaluation process unfolds?
- Does the employer remove filled positions promptly so you are not applying for jobs that are no longer available?
- Does the employer provide a clear and complete description of its culture and values on its organizational web-site and/or Facebook page?
If you are invited in for an interview, are you greeted in a friendly and courteous way or are you treated as if you're just another widget with DNA?
And, while you are interviewing, are you able to meet with the people who would be your coworkers and are they able to speak freely about their working conditions?”
All of this boils down to respect. Are you willing to put in the time, effort, and focus on details to show another human being respect in the hiring process? If you make this commitment, you’ll be well-positioned to attract and engage the next generation of talented agents for your office. If not, know that you’ll be in head-to-head competition with traditional employers to hire desperate candidates. That’s a game you can’t win--even if you do make the hire.
Editor's Note: This article was written by Ben Hess. Ben is the Founding Partner and Managing Director of Tidemark, Inc. and a regular contributor to WorkPuzzle. Comments or questions are welcome. If you're an email subscriber, reply to this WorkPuzzle email. If you read the blog directly from the web, you can click the "comments" link below.