You don’t need me to tell you that times have changed in the property recruitment world.
No longer can you throw up a job posting and expect to get a flood of quality candidates through the door (if, indeed, you ever could).
As you may be only too painfully aware, an increase in demand for experienced agents, listers, assistant managers and branch managers has caused a supply and demand gap for our industry.
Since these experienced individuals – people who’ve been on the job for two or more years – are in high demand, they are often presented with multiple job opportunities at once, allowing them to become more choosy about which job they end up taking.
With the power shifted to the candidate, estate agency owners need to adjust their hiring strategy to fit this competitive market. This means they need to start focusing on the passive candidates, not just active ones.
- Widen your search
Research shows that globally, 69% of people would consider moving jobs “if the right opportunity came up”. That’s a huge chunk of talent to ignore by only focusing on candidates who describe themselves as “actively looking”.
To attract passive candidates, you’ll need to do your research to optimise your marketing for experienced talent. Find out where they hang out (online and offline) and what they are looking for in a new opportunity. Using this knowledge, you can create a personal pitch to them by presenting what your company offers and how the two of you can work together in the future. You need to be able to understand the candidates before you try to sell them on your job.
- Work on your employer brand
Over the past few years, the concept of employer branding has continued to grow. What candidate is going to want to work for a company that has a 1-star Glassdoor rating and a website with a dull Careers section? In this age of Google, every prospective candidate worth their salt will look you up online to see what your company is all about. What is it like to work there? What are the atmosphere and company culture like? Will they be working with like-minded people?
Now that top candidates are in the driver’s seat, many will have a “Why should I work for you?” attitude and, like it or not, it’s a question you have to answer if you want to land the best talent.
Today, estate agency businesses – like all others – need to work harder than ever to sell their brand/employer value proposition to candidates.
- Speed up your hiring process
As I’ve mentioned before in this column, top performers are bombarded with recruiter emails and potential job offers. With all these options, a slow hiring process significantly lowers your chances of making an impression.
If you don’t work fast to woo your potential new hire, someone else will. You also need to ensure your offer process is just as fast – no beating around the bush or taking too long to resolve salary negotiations.
- Make the most of mobiles
The need for speed means smartphones increasingly dominate every aspect of the recruitment process because of their versatility and high response rate compared to other communications platforms. If you’re not using a mobile platform to communicate with candidates and prospects, push relevant job opportunities and spread brand messages, you could be missing out.
You should be able to post jobs and videos, review CVs and schedule interviews by mobile, while candidates should be able to apply for openings and accept job offers on their phone.
- Hire before you have a vacancy
If a talented individual comes on to the market, grab them – even if you don’t yet have an opening! During periods when top talent is extremely scarce, the best targets can enter and exit the job market within a matter of days. That means you must turn the traditional recruitment model on its head. This means instead of hiring only when a position becomes available, you hire when the high performing individual becomes available, even if there is currently no vacancy.
Yes, you may end up paying for some people before you need to – and I can understand your reluctance in these cash-strapped times – but often the cost is lower, especially when you factor in opportunity cost, than being unable to fill key jobs when positions eventually become available.
- Videos help give candidates the picture
Now that online video accounts for over 50% of all mobile traffic (rather than static pictures or text), candidates – particularly millennials – increasingly expect prospective employers to communicate through this medium. Wherever possible use video for job descriptions, employer branding, employee profiles and even job offers – authentic videos can bring a job to life. If you’re camera-shy, find a member of your team who isn’t!