I quit! Should you ever persuade an employee to stay?
Veteran estate agents have lived through the era of ‘board wars’ but now there’s a new battle afoot: we could call it ‘wallet wars’. With experienced talent in high demand, my team is increasingly seeing agency bosses refusing to take a resignation lying down and making a counter-offer to entice top performing staff to stay.
Even when a seemingly sincere estate agent has had several in-depth interviews in which they’ve enthused about the fresh opportunity and entered into lengthy negotiations about their package, they will sometimes pull out at the final hurdle.
Having invested considerable time, energy and skill in seeking out the right candidate and promoting their virtues to the prospective employer, this is obviously bad news for headhunters and recruitment agencies like Rayner Personnel. After all, we only get paid when the placement is made and a successful trial period completed.
Damaging for everyone
Frustrating as it is to see your efforts come to nothing, I don’t expect you to shed any tears for me or my hardworking team. But this behaviour harms all of us. It wastes the prospective employer’s time, destroys the employee’s credibility and reputation (people have long memories when they’ve been messed around) and is massively damaging for the industry as agency owners decide to look outside for talent.
Most importantly, while it may buy the employer some time, convincing a quitter to stay rarely works out long-term. You may harbour resentment about being forced to pay an employee more than you think they’re worth and there will always be that nagging doubt – can I ever fully trust them again? As soon as that employee made the decision to leave they mentally checked out. They may show up for work with their body, but they leave their brain and their heart at home.
Workforce researchers call it the “quit and stay” syndrome. Unlike an employee who actually leaves, this group slowly, but surely, puts in less and less effort, yet they stay on the payroll. I suspect the figures are far lower in our target-driven industry, but the data tells us in likelihood a large percentage of your workforce has already quit – they’re just still sitting in your offices. According to Gallup, disengaged employees account for more than 70% of the workforce.
Personally, I would question whether I want an ‘unhappy camper’ representing my brand and looking after my valuable customers. As an employer myself, I only hire people who actively want to be there.
As for the candidate, there was a reason why they were tempted to look around in the first place and those underlying factors – that line manager they didn’t get on with, the lack of career prospects – will still be there if they are persuaded to stay. How committed are they likely to be long-term? My purely anecdotal evidence suggests about six months.
When yet another candidate withdraws at the eleventh hour because their employer has belatedly realised their value and made a counter-offer, a part of me wonders, in our male-dominated industry, how much of this behaviour is driven by sheer competitiveness – with agency bosses acting like two silverbacks asserting their dominance.
Well-known industry figure joins leading recruiter
Specialist property recruiter Rayner Personnel has added another seasoned professional to its fast-growing network with the award of its south-west franchise to Chris March. Chris, who joins from Chestertons, brings three decades of experience in the property industry during which he has managed businesses from Exeter to Glasgow.
Chris set up his own successful multi-office estate agency, March & Co, running it for almost 15 years before selling to Countrywide. He became a main board director of Countrywide Residential Lettings where he spent a decade helping to grow its leasehold business into one of the UK’s leading managing agents.
Chris subsequently had a spell as property director at Allsop Residential Investment Management, where he was responsible for a national portfolio of institutionally-owned properties and was heavily involved in the PRS sector. Prior to that, Chris was CEO of Braemar Estates, where he specialised in the management of iconic residential buildings.
Commenting on the move into recruitment, Chris March said, “I am looking forward to using the experience I’ve gained over the years to help companies recruit the right people. Businesses are only as good as the people who work in them and, hopefully, some of the lessons that I have learnt over the years can benefit others in helping them make good decisions with key hires.”
He adds, “One of the things that I have always enjoyed is watching team members develop their careers and certainly I am well-placed to provide sound career advice for individuals looking for their next move.”
Joshua Rayner, managing director of Rayner Personnel, remarked, “It is fantastic news for our clients that we have been able to add yet another senior individual to the team with Chris’ experience and industry contacts. Chris’ appointment will strengthen our offering and add expertise in the block management and PRS sector.”
Initially based at Rayner Personnel’s head office, Chris March will open a new regional office shortly to cover his franchise area. He will also assist colleagues with recruitment nationally in his particular areas of specialism and help to develop Rayner Personnel’s block management and PRS offerings.
Agency owner gets in the swing of estate agency recruitment with Rayner Personnel franchise
Matt brings thirty years’ experience to the fast-expanding estate agency recruitment specialist. Before setting up his eponymous firm eleven years ago, he worked for Gascoigne-Pees where he spent four years as area sales manager. He started out in the industry at Countrywide, working his way up from negotiator to area sales manager over the course of a decade.
He was attracted to his new role by the appeal of a fresh challenge. “I know a couple of existing Rayner Personnel franchisees very well and saw how well they are doing. I looked at the business model, did my research and thought to myself, ‘This is a no brainer’” he explains. “I’ve been running a thriving estate agency business for years myself and the reason it’s been successful is because I’ve always recruited very well. Employers can trust me because I’ve been in their shoes at the sharp end.”
An Arsenal season ticket-holder, Matt describes himself as “a massive football fan” who loves sport. He and Gail, his partner of eight years, have three children together aged 11, 9 and 6 and a two-year-old Springer Spaniel ‘Woody’ who Matt says, “is almost as hyper as me!”
The plain-speaking Matt prides himself on ‘telling it like it is’. “If someone’s being unrealistic, I will tell them – honesty is always the best policy.” He believes his extensive industry knowledge will help him build trust with candidates and he plans to offer a very personal, proactive recruitment service to employers and candidates alike. He explains, “I know a lot about the companies I will be recruiting for, how they work, what they’re looking for and who will fit best where.”
Joshua Rayner, MD of Rayner Personnel comments, “We’re delighted to welcome Matt on board to join our fast-growing Rayner Personnel family. Having run his own successful estate agency business for many years, he will hit the ground running and I predict within a very short time will take Rayner Personnel to a market-leading position in east London.”
Matthew Swing can be contacted on 0330 088 6666 or 07786 836481 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, contact Joshua Rayner on 0330 088 6666, email email@example.com or visit http://www.raynerpersonnel.com/join-our-family/
Career estate agent snaps up Rayner Personnel’s north-west London franchise
Ian owes his estate agency career to a bad case of chicken pox, which led to him missing his A Levels. Having been considering a career in the army or police, he decided to change course and embarked on a career in the property industry. Ian learnt the ropes at Phillip Charles Estate Agency where he covered a patch “from Guildford to Hammersmith and everything in between”.
He then joined GA Property Services, climbing the ranks over twelve years, before becoming associate director for Your Move. Here, he was responsible for sales, lettings, mortgages, conveyancing and sales management for a group of estate agency offices in North Surrey, South and East London for 18 years. This included a spell working for Rayner Personnel franchisee Guy Hodge, who back then was responsible for GA’s Wimbledon Village branch. Ian then took on additional responsibilities for business expansion and land & new homes for a further three years.
Having got as far as he could working for a large corporate, Ian decided it was time for a fresh challenge. While discussing potential openings with Guy, Ian had an epiphany and realised that, with his knowledge of the industry and wealth of contacts, he could be on the other side of the desk in the interviewer role.
“I’ve employed literally hundreds of staff throughout my career to date. I like to find what makes people light up, get under the surface to see the real person underneath and if it’s what I’m looking for,” he explains. “As you can imagine, I’ve dealt with many recruitment agencies in my time but have always liked the Rayner Personnel brand, the tried-and-tested processes they follow and the business model. I realised this was something I could do well.”
Rayner Personnel boss Joshua Rayner agreed with him and the pair entered into discussions. Ian was subsequently awarded the north-west London franchise, which covers all NW postcodes from NW1 to NW11. The area includes some of the most desirable parts of central London such as Primrose Hill, Hampstead and St Johns Wood; as well as popular suburban areas.
Ian, 51, is excited at the prospect of what he describes as “the second chapter of my life”. Married to Heather for almost 20 years, the couple have a 19-year-old daughter Emily and an eight-year-old Border Collie, Summer. Something of an adrenaline junkie, the fearless Ian has tried paragliding, bungee jumping, flying a glider and zooming down the longest zipwire in North America!
His more sedate outside interests include karate, swimming, playing guitar and golf – as he modestly says, “I’ve tried many hobbies but am expert at none” – but his real passion is blues music and he attends the week-long Blues Festival in Cognac, France every year.
Ian has always had a good track record for staff retention due to his knack for employing good people and believes this will stand him in good stead. “Making the perfect match is the goal of candidates and employers alike and that’s something I’ve proved myself to be good at. It helps that I’ve been in employers’ shoes. I want to become my clients’ go-to estate agency recruitment specialist in north-west London and look forward to meeting many firms in my area over the coming weeks.”
Joshua Rayner, MD of Rayner Personnel comments, “We’re delighted to welcome Ian on board to join the Rayner Personnel family. The experience, insights and contacts he brings from his estate agency career make him ideally placed to help employers and candidates alike in his new role as owner of a Rayner Personnel property recruitment franchise. With Ian’s solid track record, he will hit the ground running and I predict within a very short time will take Rayner Personnel to a market-leading position in north-west London.”
Ian can be contacted on 0330 088 6666 or 07746 068472 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, contact Joshua Rayner on 0330 088 6666, email email@example.com or visit http://www.raynerpersonnel.com/join-our-family/
How to lead the next generation of property professional
And as a generation that came of age after the 2008 financial crisis and have never known a world without the internet, they have very different expectations about jobs and money. If you have kids in this age group, you will already know that these younger workers aren’t motivated by the same factors as previous generations, such as a pension, private healthcare or job for life, but instead value a good work/life balance and a sense of purpose beyond mere financial success. (Although as a long-suffering parent you may feel financial success would be a good start).
It’s a drastically different outlook from the generations before who are used to the more traditional hierarchy of large corporate firms where it was once common practice to reward decades of long service with a carriage clock or gold watch. Less than 25 years ago, it was considered commendable to stay at the same firm and work a set number of years in a particular post before progressing. But as millennials grow as a proportion of the workforce, employers will need to shift their working practices and shake up their company culture to attract and retain staff from this generation.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson has long recognised this and was ahead of the game in creating the kind of corporate culture that appeals to millennials. “People are what have made Virgin what it is today and my philosophy has always been treat staff how you would want to be treated,” he says. “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Being Richard Branson, he took this philosophy a stage further and Virgin Group held what it called “a corporate day” asking employees to behave in the way many traditional firms expect just for one day. Staff had to wear formal business clothes, arrive at 9am, use titles such as Mr and Mrs instead of first names, couldn’t look at social media and weren’t allowed to make personal calls. The horror!
“The purpose of the exercise,” he explains, “was to give our people a taste of what a lot of the world is still run like”.
So, what does mean for estate agency businesses? Surely as an industry we already offer fairly relaxed workplaces where harmless banter is encouraged – admittedly within limits, as we must still present a professional image to customers. From my experience of talking to numerous millennials one-to-one for many years, here are my tips:
1. Bear in mind that you are talking to people used to buying everything they need on demand. This generation doesn’t bother with doing ‘the weekly shop’ because it has grown up with Amazon Prime and knows they can place an order for coffee and it will arrive tomorrow. They don’t bother with hire purchase plans to buy a car because they can simply pick up an Uber whenever they want to go somewhere. This age group doesn’t care about owning the music they listen to when they can access it free on Spotify or YouTube. And as for waiting a week to watch the next instalment of a TV show, you must be joking – they expect to stream it instantly and watch it at any time on any device. What this means for the recruitment process is that we simply can’t get away with ‘old school’ timescales any more. Responses at each stage need to be more or less instant.
2. Digital is second nature, paperwork is not. While the legalities of the conveyancing process mean a certain amount of documentation will always have to be hardcopy, digitise as much as possible and make good use of services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
3. Use social media to show what your company is really like. Use real employees in your pictures, not stock photos. In addition to a list of open positions, your LinkedIn and Facebook pages, Twitter account and website should be full of un-posed pictures of your people going about their everyday working lives. In this way you’re giving an authentic view of your firm to help potential employees see whether you’d be a good fit. The key word here is ‘authentic’ – don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Attracting millennials (or anyone else for that matter) under false pretences will only get the relationship off to a bad start and may well result in them leaving anyway. And a company trying (and failing) to show it is “down with the kids” by communicating in text speak or whatever they think is their lingo is not only embarrassing but patronising.
4. Acknowledge that many millennials want a job where they can make a difference. This is another reason posting only photos of drinking and smoking employees could backfire. Apart from being misleading, it’s a stereotype that partying is all millennials care about. Survey after survey shows millennials are not motivated only by money: they want their work to mean something. Show them how they can change people’s lives by helping them find their perfect homes.
5. Focus on retention, not just recruitment. According to Forbes.com, 91% of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. The main reason agents leave an office is because they felt their boss didn’t appreciate them and stopped communicating with them once they were on board. Stay involved. Provide training and guidance that will help them get to the next level. Other ideas include reward programmes, community involvement and mentoring.
6. Show off your workplace. In common with all candidates, millennials want to have all their questions answered and see everything they need to see when they come in for an interview. Yet how many companies sit candidates in a conference room or one corner of the office? Sara Luther, managing partner in human resources at the Lucas Group, says, “They don’t care about this one room, they want to see the space, they want to see the people. And if you don’t show them, what are you hiding?”
She suggests walking candidates around the office so they can hear phone conversations, see what people’s offices look like, if people have family photos around and what the atmosphere is like. You might even have them shake the hands of some key people. This is about more than showing a candidate where they might be working – with millennials especially, it’s all about making a connection.
Rayner Personnel takes licensing route to growth as it reveals ambitious growth target
The company will achieve this by hugely increasing the number of licensees working in its regional franchises, which now cover most of the UK.
The licensee role involves taking the Rayner Personnel service to a particular territory, building business by promoting the brand within the area and ensuring a good customer experience for candidates and employers alike. Licensees retain up to 40% of the income they generate. A licence differs from a franchise in that there is no outlay for the licence, making the proposition a limited risk.
Rayner Personnel Managing Director Joshua Rayner believes the licensee role will appeal to commercially-minded individuals with prior sales or recruitment experience. “A background in estate agency is good to have but not essential as licensees are trained by industry experts and ongoing support and development are provided,” he explains. “The right attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit are far more important qualities.”
With the support of centralised marketing and industry-leading software, licensees can realistically expect to earn upwards of £50,000 annually. This is not mere hyperbole: several existing licence holders will generate an income of £65,000 or more this year and Rayner Personnel’s top performing licensee is on course to earn £95,000+.
In addition to increased earning potential, the opportunity to get their weekends back is likely to prove appealing to many estate agents as Rayner Personnel licensees set their own hours and typically work from Monday to Friday.
Rayner Personnel has negotiated favourable finance terms for an overdraft facility or personal loan (dependent on credit history) to make the move from salaried employee to self-employed status more bearable in the early stages. Individual franchisees may also be willing to guarantee the licensee’s salary for an initial three-month period to cushion them while they build up the territory.
Joshua Rayner spells out the type of person he is looking for. “Applicants need to have exceptional integrity, flawless business etiquette and be punctual and reliable. As well as at least three years’ sales or recruitment experience, industry qualifications would be ideal. On a practical level, they need to be computer-literate, have a driving licence and own their own car. I believe this is an exciting opportunity for the right people to join our family.”
Those interested in finding out more about licensee opportunities should visit our Join Our Family, call 0330 088 6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is the most valuable person in your estate agency business?
The answer I would suggest, perhaps controversially, is none of the above. Without stock, agents would have nothing to sell to generate income and for this reason alone, I would argue that the humble lister has the most important role to play in an estate agency business.
This is especially true in today’s depressed market. With limited stock, fewer transactions and a flat investor market due to the impact of Stamp Duty changes, estate agency branches need an exceptional lister to see them through the hard times.
Fighting over the same people
The problem is that many estate agents recognise this and, consequently, traditional and hybrid agents alike are fighting over the same small pool of effective listers with two or three years’ experience. So, what can be done to attract and retain this talent?
For some estate agents it all boils down to money. In fact, Arun Estates, the largest independent estate agency in the south east of England, has recently increased pay across the board for all its employees, including listers. This will no doubt have the desired effect. As well as a competitive commission scheme and salaries, Arun offers its listers and managers a choice of aspirational cars from its fleet.
But tangible rewards aside, Arun Estates promotes itself as being a great company to work for, with good reason. It has won several industry awards including one for outstanding training and boasts a supportive senior management team all of whom have worked their way up through the ranks.
The company’s culture is such that it encourages employees to participate in as many charity events as possible, even going so far as to pay the entry fees. The family-run business says its vision is to “out-passion other agents to help customers achieve their dream move”. A strong believer in “growing their own”, the company offers staff a clearly defined career pathway, with opportunities for crossover, supported by the necessary training for every development stage.
And what of the fabulous, attention-grabbing incentives such as trips to exciting destinations like Dubai, New York and Iceland that were once so prevalent? These will always have a place but estate agency is essentially a commission-based business so they will only have a real impact on staff retention when offered alongside a competitive remuneration package.
Fast-growing hybrid estate agent Purplebricks offers its 500 self-employed ‘local property experts’ a stake in the business in the form of share options. It promises on-target earnings averaging £45,000 a year but claims many of its property professionals are enjoying an annual income of more than £95,000. Indeed, we are seeing a number of Rayner Personnel-placed candidates on course to earn upwards of £60,000pa.
Purplebricks guarantees its local property experts £2,000 per month income for the first three months after they undergo an initial ten-day training course. A recent Eye story suggests the company is as good as its word, with Purplebricks making up the shortfall in income in a new recruit’s first month during which they won just one instruction. Purplebricks is currently seeking to increase the number of its local property experts to 300 in the near future.
While so far Purplebricks has only had to compete with traditional agents for talent, with new hybrid competitor easyProperty set to launch its offering on 1 September, there will soon be another challenger fighting for experienced listers.
Listers can make or break a business
The role of lister is often under-appreciated. It is about more than knowing the local market and having a knack for valuing property. In our experience, the most successful listers are those who willing to be proactive and ‘feed themselves’. From talking to fellow parents at the school gates and knocking on the doors of properties listed with competitors, to traditional door drops and actively using social media to the full, a good lister will stop at nothing to find or create opportunities to win an instruction.
But all listers, however self-motivated, need to be supported. Now more than ever, estate agency employers need to invest in their marketing activity to generate leads. Use every channel possible, both online and offline, from Facebook and Instagram campaigns to open house days and a greater board presence. Consider investing in lead generation tools to ensure your lister’s diary is kept jam-packed or they will not only be bored but also not earning enough and therefore vulnerable to poaching.
In conclusion, my overarching message is to value your listers because if you don’t have stock to sell, you don’t have a business.
Former Connells’ director snaps up Rayner Personnel’s south-east London franchise
Although he started out as a professional jockey, Craig Cassidy moved into estate agency in 1999 as a negotiator. Over the next 18 years he rose to become Senior Area Director responsible for 20 offices in Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex., Craig became hugely successful at troubleshooting a succession of underperforming areas, often taking them into the top 3 in the country. After several promotions, he was responsible for doubling the profits of several branches, making him the most profitable director in 2015.
Having won every internal accolade there was to win, Craig felt it was time for a fresh challenge. “I’d worked with Joshua Rayner for over 15 years, during which he helped me to create a fantastic team for my offices. We met to discuss my own next move and he suggested that I consider joining him.” he says. “I’d never considered franchising before, but could see this was a great chance to be my own boss. The Rayner Personnel opportunity, in particular, is well-suited to me because I have worked in estate agency for almost 2 decades – I know the industry inside and out.”
Craig’s successful track record in estate agency will stand him in good stead. “As both employer and employee, I know what both parties will be looking for because I’ve been recruiting for the past 18 years, I understand the need for a good, professional service.”
Joshua Rayner, MD of Rayner Personnel comments, “We’re delighted to welcome Craig on board. The experience, insights and contacts he brings from his successful estate agency career make him ideally placed to help employers and candidates alike, in his new role as owner of a property recruitment franchise. He is following in the footsteps of fellow Rayner Personnel franchisees Paul Abel, Ian Hoskins, Guy Hodge, Liam Evans and Nick Marlow who also have property backgrounds. With Craig’s outstanding track record in estate agency, he will hit the ground running and I predict within a very short time will take Rayner Personnel to a market-leading position in South East London.”
Craig will initially work from Rayner Personnel’s head office and can be contacted on 0203 887 0738, 07961 068709 or by emailing email@example.com
Five reasons why it’s hard to find good people
It’s getting warmer, properties look more inviting in the sunshine and sellers suddenly feel that now is the ideal time to put their home on the market. You know the business is there for the taking but your team is already working at full stretch so you need to hire an additional member of staff.
You tell your PA or the HR department to draw up the usual advert, share it on your company website, plug it on LinkedIn and put the word out at your weekly business group meeting for good measure. You get a trickle of interest but none of the applicants is what you’re looking for. Why haven’t you got the response you were expecting? Here are five possible reasons why:
You’re not spreading the net widely enough. Simply posting your shiny new vacancy on a well-known job board isn’t enough in a candidate’s market. Unless, that is, the timing is so spot-on you miraculously catch the eye of an incredibly experienced, well qualified, results-driven go-getter at just the moment they resign their job and decide yours is the perfect next move. Back in the real world, you need to blitz all relevant social media sites, start contacting the pool of potential candidates you’ve been nurturing for just this moment or, better still, put in a call to your trusted recruitment specialist.
Your business has no identity. I touched on this point recently in my article on the importance of building an employer brand. Every business needs to have a distinct personality, a culture, an identity – that intangible something that all things being equal, would make a prospective employee want to work for you and not the estate agency next door. I explained that alongside your company reputation, every thought you tweet, every article you post on LinkedIn and each amusing meme you share on Facebook contributes towards how you are perceived by potential employees.
You’re being too specific about what you want. As a headhunter, I frequently come up against this situation. Of course, it’s good to aim high but if you want to hire someone this year rather than next, you also need to be realistic. Be honest here, how many of the ‘Essential qualities’ on your person specification are really ‘Nice to haves’? If a promising applicant has strong people skills and a willingness to learn, aren’t industry knowledge or familiarity with your particular property management system something that can be taught?
Instead, look for potential and be prepared to invest some time and effort into turning that individual with raw talent into a great employee. I’ve seen this happen with several clients where someone initially hired as a trainee negotiator has had the enthusiasm, aptitude and determination to rise through the ranks in a very short period of time to become one of the agency’s most successful branch managers.
Your recruitment process is too slow. Many estate agents – corporates, independents and hybrid – take too long to make decisions at every stage of the hiring process. Or sometimes there are simply too many steps between making the decision to hire and making the job offer. In my experience, good candidates will often reject an offer – or even decide to stay where they are – if you take too long to get back to them.
My advice is to cut out any unnecessary people (and habitual timewasters) in your recruitment process and manage timescales tightly so there aren’t long periods of silence for candidates.
Lastly, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. So, you’ve done everything right and found your perfect candidate. But what happens if they unexpectedly turn down your seemingly irresistible job offer? Always ensure you start by attracting plenty of quality candidates so you have a second or third choice you can be happy with in reserve. Otherwise, you will need to go through the whole process all over again!
In the battle for talent, remember recruitment is a two-way street
Rarely to never, I would hazard. Talent attraction usually languishes in a silo labelled ‘Recruitment’, ‘Personnel’ or ‘Human Resources’. But if your business is serious about attracting the best candidates, the whole company from the top down needs to be involved in building a strong employer brand. If you think that’s an exaggeration, you may recognise the truth in the saying “People join brands and leave managers”. Most estate agents recognise that employees drive the success or failure of their business. But many also make the mistake of believing the recruitment process starts when they have an actual, live hole to fill. However, as all good headhunters know, talent attraction starts a long, long way before that.
Every thought you tweet, every article you post on LinkedIn and that funny meme you shared on Facebook contributes towards how you are perceived by your customers, employees and potential employees of the future. Along with a whole host of other factors such as your company reputation, they project your employer brand. And that intangible characteristic can make the difference as to whether your business has to beat swarms of strong candidates off with a stick or has to offer salaries well above market rates to make working for you an attractive proposition.
Organisations that are the most successful at recruiting in-demand candidates understand that just as you see the recruitment process as an opportunity to select the cream from a number of candidates, the best candidates are also selecting from several options – including staying where they are.
At the same time as you’re posing clever, probing, open-ended questions to the prospective employee, you can be sure the smart cookie on the other side of the table is also assessing, evaluating and interviewing you! Recruitment is a two-way street.
The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is frequently held up as an example of a company that treats everyone it interviews with great respect. Its reasoning is this projects its employer brand of caring, creates advocates for the company among candidates and reinforces the brand among consumers who buy its products.
“Johnson & Johnson gets a lot of candidates who may not be fit for one job but right for another down the line,” explains Lisa Calicchio, Director of Recruiting for the Pharmaceuticals team. “We let them know that we’re always leaving room for a future opportunity.”
This raises an important point. The job advertising and application process is a sensitive one, with 95% of applicants typically rejected outright and only 1% ultimately being hired. So how well you treat the 95% who are unsuccessful is important. They may not be the right candidate for the post you need to fill right now but you might want to approach them for another position in the future. For this reason alone, it is important to leave candidates with a good feeling about your business and the considerate, respectful way they were treated.
In my experience, recruiting senior executives requires a two-year strategy. It’s not about recruiting for openly advertised jobs. If a company says employees are their greatest asset, they need to put their money where their mouth is and develop a talent acquisition strategy as an integral part of their business plan.
The best people are not necessarily looking to move and may well resist your first, second and third (even fourth and fifth) contact. That’s why organisations need to play the long game, building a strong employer brand so once we’ve identified the best valuer or branch manager in town they are more likely to be receptive to our approach.
The benefits of having an effective talent attraction strategy are clear. A good branch manager or valuer will start adding value straight away: for instance, when you bring a good valuer on board you should see an increase in the number of instructions within the first month. For both valuers and branch managers, we find a package that incorporates payment by results – perhaps on achievement of a market share target – works well and is becoming increasingly popular.
How to build a strong estate agency team
Nothing seems to faze these impressive individuals. An ambitious sales target? No problem! Every competitor in the area sniffing around a hot prospect? No sweat. In fact, you may think recruiting a team full of ambitious, high achieving candidates is the way to achieve the results your business needs for 2017, particularly in a tough market.
But when it comes to building your team it would be a serious mistake to fill it solely with these results-driven personalities. You also need a sprinkling of ‘Steady Eddies’ to create a team that works well together. As well as those smooth-tongued agents who ooze charisma and can start a conversation at 100 paces, you also need reliable, detail-conscious Steady Eddies to get the paperwork right and create a sense of teamwork in your workplace. It’s all about balance.
Although the description is often used in a derogatory sense, there is much to be said for Steady Eddies. According to professional engineer and author David M Taylor, this personality type tends to “Concentrate on people rather than tasks and is typically more introverted than extroverted. They place more attention on others than on themselves. These people are the ones that you can always rely on in any situation. They strive to please and work hard to maintain harmony.”
This is a principle I follow in my own business. In a strong team, there’s a place for both the superstars and the Steady Eddies. What estate agents need, from the small independent to the biggest corporate, are loyal employees at all levels who are on the same journey. Each has a part to play in the team’s success.
That’s because in estate agency, as in any business, success hinges on having the right people with the right skills and personality in the right roles. As the business consultant Jim Collins memorably said, “Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
He explained, “If you begin with “who,” you can more easily adapt to a fast-changing world. If people get on your bus because of where they think it’s going, you’ll be in trouble when you get 10 miles down the road and discover that you need to change direction because the world has changed. But if people board the bus principally because of all the other great people on the bus, you’ll be much faster and smarter in responding to changing conditions.”
Conversely, “If you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.”
While a handful of sales superstars are great when you need to dig your business out of a hole and reach challenging sales targets, the superstar’s self-centred ‘What’s in it for me?’ approach can create a dog-eat-dog atmosphere where team members’ co-operation extends no further than passing on a phone message at best and Machiavellian dirty tricks at worst. Quite simply, there is no team ethos.
As a manager, it’s about bringing out the best in every individual – recognising their strengths and weaknesses and understanding what they can contribute to the team. I am not advocating being defeatist and simply accepting your employees’ limitations. Whatever role they play in the team dynamic, all members of the team can strive for improved performance. There is always room for an individual to stretch themselves, aim higher and hone their skills.
Building a strong team may start with recruitment but it doesn’t end with it. You need to look for and develop talent at every level, encourage employee engagement and support those who aspire to move up within the business. After all, as management theorist Meredith Belbin pointed out, “Nobody is perfect but a team can be.”
Rayner Personnel employees take franchise route to the top
The company has awarded its Hertfordshire franchise and a licence for Middlesex to Vicky Tate and the south west London franchise, plus licences for north, north west and west London, to Liam Evans. Both the new franchise owners were formerly senior recruitment consultants for Rayner Personnel.
Vicky Tate – Hertfordshire and Middlesex
Vicky Tate joined Rayner Personnel in November 2013 as a junior recruitment consultant and soon worked her way up to senior consultant, instilling confidence in clients and candidates alike. Having seen the inner workings of Rayner Personnel and how it is relied on by the firm’s loyal clients, she recognised the potential of its brand and made the decision to invest in a stake in the business. Three years later, at the age of just 24, she is now a business owner herself.
She explains, “Having witnessed how the business works from the inside, I can see Rayner Personnel’s potential and believe the best way to build my career is around its proven business model. Josh Rayner is an inspirational leader and I want to take the next step and emulate his success.”
Vicky deliberately chose to forge a business career on leaving school, rather than go to university – a decision that has paid off handsomely. “Like many school leavers, I wasn’t 100% sure what field to go into at the age of 16 but knew I wanted to go into business and work with people,” she says. “I realised I could get further by working my way up and that is how it has turned out.” Before climbing the ladder at Rayner Personnel, Vicky handled new membership sales at Nuffield Health for three years, enjoying considerable success in the role.
Living in Bishops Stortford, Vicky anticipates she will come to know the northernmost half of the M25 intimately as she travels to meet potential clients throughout Hertfordshire and Middlesex. “I see building and strengthening relationships as key because the level of service we offer estate agents and candidates is what sets us apart,” says Vicky. “I like to speak to each candidate at length to ensure we are finding the right type of role for them where they will feel fulfilled. And my clients can be reassured we’ve made a good match and their new employee won’t leave after five minutes in the job.”
Liam Evans – south west, north, north west and west London
Liam Evans joined Rayner Personnel as a recruitment consultant in June 2015 following stints in estate agency and media sales. He experienced the Rayner Personnel service first-hand as a candidate and says when he wanted to take his career in a new direction, Joshua Rayner was the logical person to turn to for advice. “I’ve always found Josh proactive and approachable. He really took the time to listen and understand my situation and what I was looking for,” he says.
“We discussed the Rayner Personnel franchise proposition and the opportunity to capitalise on a well-respected brand while building my own team and being in control of my own destiny really appealed. I know my franchise and licence areas well and will add value to the search process by providing a very personal, bespoke service where we match candidates to positions that are a good fit, not only for their skills but also the company culture.”
Liam’s industry connections mean his team has access to people who are not necessarily actively looking but would be willing to consider a move for the right role. As for candidates, they can be reassured their details are not simply stored on a database and forgotten but that the team works hard on their behalf to find the role that is right for them. In fact, in the past, Liam has worked with clients to create the role a candidate seeks, even where the position does not exist, so that their talent is not lost to the company.
Commenting on his latest franchisees, Rayner Personnel MD Joshua Rayner remarks, “Over the time Vicky and Liam have worked for Rayner Personnel they have become exceptional recruiters who are highly regarded by their clients and candidates. I am delighted that they have staked their future on Rayner Personnel – having seen the business inside and out, it is the ultimate demonstration of confidence.”
Vicky Tate can be reached on 0208 0900 086 or firstname.lastname@example.org while Liam Evans and his team can be contacted on 0208 0900 086 or email@example.com
Salary Guide & Market Insight 2017
Rayner Personnel have conducted a UK Property Salary Report in conjunction with Property Industry Eye.
This report has been conducted from salary trends from 2015-2016 and has been completed by both employees and employers from Residential Sales and Lettings across the UK.
This UK Property Salary Report is your comprehensive guide to salary benchmarking in 2017 and is designed to assist your hiring decisions.
The Sky’s The Limit For High Flying Estate Agent
Fast-growing estate agency recruitment specialist Rayner Personnel has announced the award of its latest franchise to Paul Abel, formerly a Spicerhaart Managing Partner. Paul is a high achieving estate agent with more than two decades’ experience covering estate agency, lettings, financial services and land and new homes. His franchise spans a wide geographical area that includes Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.
Paul first started working with Rayner Personnel founder Joshua Rayner over ten years ago when he helped build his team at Spicerhaart and says, “I admire what Josh has achieved in his career in a very short space of time. Rayner Personnel has a sound business model and, having personally experienced the company’s service offering, I am very excited by this opportunity to become part of a winning team.”
After initially embarking on a career as a chef, catering’s loss turned out to be the property world’s gain as Paul embarked on what would become a highly successful career in Estate Agency, becoming a CeMAP-qualified mortgage adviser along the way. He started out at Countrywide before a rapid rise through the ranks during eleven years with the Spicerhaart Group where he ultimately led a team of 388 property professionals, via five regional and two area partners, through one of the biggest property downturns in living memory.
Paul’s career in agency speaks for itself. His impressive CV shows he started out at Negotiator level and, less than five years later, was managing several branches. As a Divisional Sales Director, he proved his worth by transforming his region from being unprofitable to generating profits of more than £1 million in less than two years, managing a mortgage consultant operation at the same time as running an estate agency region. Paul and his team won numerous internal and external accolades including several prestigious Estate Agency of the Year Awards.
Well-known and respected in the industry for being an honest but fair boss, the strong relationships Paul has built over the past 20 years will stand him in good stead, gaining him the trust of candidates and potential employers alike. He says, “The aspects I have always enjoyed most in my estate agency positions have been selecting the right people to work in the business, seeing new employees flourish and helping team members develop their careers. I’m excited to be able to transfer these skills to my new role, matching promising candidates to the right opportunities and supporting the growth of businesses in my region.”
Paul lives with his wife Julia, teenage daughters Eleanor and Olivia, and the family’s two cats in Dunstable.
Commenting on his latest franchisee, Rayner Personnel MD Joshua Rayner remarks, “We are delighted to have a director of Paul’s stature and experience on board. His achievements during a distinguished estate agency career make him ideally placed to understand the qualities clients are looking for and make successful placements that help ambitious property professionals progress their careers.
“Furthermore, I believe Paul will be a valuable addition to the Rayner Personnel management team in helping us continue our growth trajectory.”
Josh says, “I believe the strength of the Rayner Personnel senior management team, which collectively has over 150 years’ property experience, means the future for the business is in very good hands.”
The latest Rayner Personnel office will open its doors in November this year. Paul Abel can be contacted on 07966 288897 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 Reasons Why Pokémon Go is Nothing Like Recruiting…
1. Jobs are all about real life, not the virtual world – it’s not a game.
2. You may need to go further than your local park to find the perfect recruit – unless you want to find an Oddish or employ a groundsman.
3. In Pokémon Go the objective is “you gotta catch ‘em all” but recruiting is about quality over quantity – nobody wants to be Ash Ketchum with more Tauros’ than he knows what to do with.
4. Catching a rare Pokémon is often motivated by bragging rights, but recruitment is all about the quiet satisfaction of finding the right man or woman for the job.
5. In Pokémon Go, catching a rare and powerful Pokémon is often a great way to guarantee success. In real life however, recruiting is best when aimed at building up an individual and their skill set.
6. Each player can catch a Pokémon when it appears in Pokémon Go, but in recruiting an individual can only go to one firm.
7. Pokémon Go is all about travelling to pursue pocket monsters, but in recruitment the perfect candidate might be right before your eyes, if you just put down your mobile telephone, stop and scrutinise properly.
8. In Pokémon Go, interaction with individual Pokemon is generally kept to a minimum, as though they are simply part of a collection like stamps in an album, but in recruitment, candidates are all individuals with special skills and talents who deserve attention.
9. Battling your Pokémonmay be part and parcel of the Go game, but getting your job hopefuls to duel at dawn is generally not the best way to decide who gets the job.
10. Pokémonhave very specific strengths and weaknesses but human beings are much more versatile and adaptable.
11. In Pokémon Go, players are tethered to their mobile telephones, but in real life good recruiters must demonstrate social skills in person too.
12. Recruitment is not a numbers game – even if you “catch ‘em all” if you haven’t satisfied your client, you haven’t won the game.
13. In Pokémon Go, when the app is closed, effectively nothing is happening, but in recruitment the process is always ongoing to fill posts.
14. Having the app open drains a player’s battery, but recruiters are tireless in their efforts to place candidates.
15. Recruiters don’t need signal or GPS, their instinct and professional experience override technology to get the job done.
SO, is Pokémon Go exactly like recruitment or is that suggestion just plain wrong?
Take a quick browse online and you will see opinion in the industry is divided, with some agencies touting the global game-play phenomenon as the perfect model for personnel while others pooh pooh the very idea.
At Rayner Personnel, we always take a more in-depth, considered view on capturing talent. If only finding top candidates was as easy as a walk in the park, armed with nothing but your mobile telephone and an app – yet any success story which has taken the world by storm like Pokémon Go surely deserves further scrutiny.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, like a Lairon or a Geodude, you know players use their mobile’s GPS to to locate, capture, fight and train the cartoon creatures, which appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.
Let’s be honest, while it’s always worth going the extra mile to find the right recruit for the perfect post, you’re unlikely to find a great applicant foraging in the forest, unless you’re looking for a lumberjack. The same goes for rivers – great for water Pokémon, but not the natural environment for the best property market personnel. And we’ve all read the horror stories about Pokémon Go hunters stumbling across dead bodies or dicing with death on train tracks in pursuit of the virtual pocket monsters.
That’s the big flaw with the Pokémon Go as a recruitment model. The basis of the game is that you “gotta catch ‘em all” and we’re all about quality not quantity. While our team are fearless in the pursuit of excellence, the subtle art of selection is our key to success.
We are looking for candidates who can do more than utter their own name like a Pikachu and fight with other job hopefuls!
But there are some valuable lessons to be learned from Nintendo’s world-beating baby and its spin-offs. Not least that one great idea, courtesy of creator and gaming genius Satoshi Tajiri, can turn a childhood hobby into a global franchise, still delivering after 25 years.
He was certainly a stellar signing for the Japanese electronics and software company – their very own Venusaur.
Searching for your business’ own fully-evolved Charizard or Blastoise is all very well, but finding the rarest Pokémon – like personnel – takes time and resources.
It may well be worth it, but the best recruiters, like the top Pokémon trainers, know that talent can also be nurtured and developed and taking a base pocket monster like a Charmander and teaching a set of winning moves before using it effectively in specific situations is no different from spotting a skill-set in a rookie which can be developed rapidly.
The ability to strategise is also critical in both the virtual and the real worlds. It might seem like common sense to pitch your water Pokémon against similar aquatic animals, but every Go gameplayer knows the way to win at the water gym is to unleash your leaf or electric pocket monsters with some surprise moves.
Our philosophy is the same. We think beyond the obvious and consider what we can add to give our clients and candidates more than a fighting chance of success.
FUN FACT: The protagonist of the English translation of the Pokémon anime, Ash Ketchum, shares the name Satoshi with Pokémon’s creator Satoshi Tajiri, in the original Japanese form of the show.