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How to recruit the best staff - by Nicola Jackson, Property Team Manager at telephone answering specialist, Moneypenny

18 August 2015 3648 Views
How to recruit the best staff - by Nicola Jackson, Property Team Manager at telephone answering specialist, Moneypenny

IT’S often said that the secret of a happy and thriving business is one in which every single employee is the right person in the right job. It’s no mean feat achieving this, but those that do, have captured something special and are gaining significant advantage.

With over half a million people in the UK working in estate agent offices, the sector is a major contributor to the national workforce, but how many agents can truly say that every cog fits perfectly into their well oiled machine?

According to research, happy staff are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts, so there’s a good deal at stake when it comes to hiring the right people.

Recruitment is a big deal for us at Moneypenny. Our people answering the telephone for over 7,500 UK businesses, including 850+ estate and letting agents, are on the front line every day taking calls, so there is no room for error when it comes to this element of the business jigsaw.

Like many businesses we have learnt the hard way over the years and we’re the first to admit we’ve made some unsuitable appointments. What we have learnt along the way though, and still stand by today, is that recruitment in our world is about attitude, not just aptitude. We believe that skills can be taught, but a can-do, positive approach and friendly personality can’t.

At this time of year with exam results a cause of anxiety for households up and down the country, conversations turn to qualifications, career choices and futures. What’s important as an employer and on the flip side as an employee, is to find a good fit - creating a business people will want to work for and a workplace they will want to work in, thereby becoming attractive to the best people.

Leave your ego at the door when building your team. Sensible business owners and leaders recognise their strengths, but crucially know their weaknesses and recruit the very best people they can, with skills they haven’t got, to plug vital knowledge gaps.

To find the people right for you, think about your communication channels. Up until fairly recently we were in the fortunate position of never having to advertise, as potential new recruits would come to us via personal contacts or general brand awareness. Now as we continue to grow fast, recruiting is on-going, so we have adopted new ways to find great people.

Word of mouth is still a huge opportunity for us and we incentivise our 450+ staff (with cash bonuses) to recommend people, which works well. We have also gone for a multi-hit approach mainly of local radio, display advertising in key locations, local events/stunts e.g. sponsoring local charity activities, talking to local colleges and universities and social media (both paid and non-paid). We keep things simple with strong images and limited text - directing people to find out more from our website and to come and talk to us. It’s important to give people an early feel for your business and what the job entails as you don’t want to be recruiting for the same job when it goes wrong a few weeks down the line.

Don’t be afraid to say no, however highly recommended someone may be. Along with a thorough screening, evaluation and training process, which you need to take your time over, good old fashioned gut instinct, should play an important role too. You know your business better than anyone and have a strong sense of the type of person likely to gel with the wider team. The wrong appointment can very easily knock the dynamics off-kilter.

When people ARE your business, they make the difference between success and failure. It’s as simple as that.

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