Tips for Recruiting Assistants

John Skenderian, a broker with Prudential Maui, REALTORS®, in Maui, Hawaii, talks about recruiting assistants and support personnel. His team consists of licensed and unlicensed assistants.

How do you go about recruiting staffers?

Skenderian: Building my team has not been a fast process. I found them through developing relationships in the industry and the community, word-of-mouth, and referrals. It's all been very relationship-based.

What sort of characteristics do you look for?

Skenderian: I look first at the work ethic. Next, I consider how they'll fit in—their spirit and personality—with the rest of the team and whether they have the ability to adapt to a totally service-oriented industry. They need an ability to listen to what people are trying to accomplish and then facilitate it. It's not about us; it's about our clients. That's the focus we take, the mission statement of our company.

I also try to go one-on-one and get to know them and what they want to accomplish. Then see how I can help? What do they need to make it work better? One person needs a computer, another person needs a better car. I try to see what our company can do to make those things happen.

What are some hiring red flags for you?

Skenderian: Someone who has jumped around from job-to-job—a history of short-term jobs—is something I look out for. And if they want to stick to strict hours and lack flexibility, that can be a problem. If you have the largest transaction in the company's history and it's coming in 15 minutes after closing time, you don't want a person who wants to go at 5 p.m.

What do you do to position yourself as a desirable employer?

Skenderian: I try to stay open and look at things from the support staff's point of view. Also, I don't consider myself the boss; all associates and support staff have to contribute to getting this job done together.

In terms of salary and perks, I investigate what's available in the marketplace and offer salaries that are equal to or greater than what's available. One employee had always wanted to go to Walt Disney World, so I sent her and her kids. I try to look for something that's thoughtful, nice, and helps a person want to get more done. Everyone has been with me for at least three years.

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