The head of the UK’s longest-established agency recruitment consultancy says experience and qualifications are not key when looking for new staff.
Property Personnel managing director Anthony Hesse says agencies limiting their search criteria risk missing out on the best recruits.
“When an agency calls us looking for a sales negotiator, they nearly always ask for ‘someone with around 18 months to two years experience’. The trouble is, this automatically excludes a host of potential candidates from other industries who could be just as good” explains Hesse.
“By focusing on experience in the job rather than aptitude for it, we are in danger of seeing people who might be the perfect catch slipping through the net” he adds.
A survey carried out for the Home Owners Alliance has indicated that only 12 per cent [of buyers] are put off by inexperience when choosing an agent, and rate factors such as professionalism, appearance and telephone manner as being more relevant instead.
Hesse adds: “Even if a candidate has no experience in the field, there are a host of transferrable skills that can turn them into a great estate agent. Qualities such as competitiveness, good communication, empathy and passion are all required – but of course these can be found in other professions too. If companies are prepared to broaden their search, they are likely to find someone with the attitude and attributes that line up perfectly with what they are looking for.”
Over the last five years almost a third of the candidates his consultancy has placed had no prior industry experience whatsoever.
“Their backgrounds span hospitality, hotels, restaurants and bar work, cabin crew, recruitment, athletes, ex-military and beyond.”
Whilst some estate agencies may be reluctant to have to put in the time teaching a new recruit the basics of the property industry, Anthony Hesse says that investing in talent outside estate agency can have its benefits.
And he concludes: “Ultimately, we must never forget that we’re working in an industry where there are considerably more vacancies than we have people to fill them. What’s more, agencies are incurring costs for every day that a position remains vacant. This doesn’t mean that we need to lower our recruiting standards. Instead, we should recognise that some people outside estate agency have qualities and characteristics which provide an ideal fit.”