'Slow hire, quick fire' best HR policy: top agent

A principal should take at least five times longer hiring somebody than when firing them, said a leading US agent.

According to Imran Poladi, director of Keller Williams Realty Stockton, in California, principals are not taking their time when hiring staff, often rushing into the decision and employing the wrong person.

“I think many principals are hiring people out of necessity rather than doing it the right way,” he told Real Estate Business at the Advanced Real Estate Learning (AREL) Conference held in Sydney last month.

“They’ll end up hiring a family member or a friend’s kid and then you find out that is not the right person for the job.

“A lot of principals tend to not want to fire them because it is going to change their personal relationship, so they are kind of stuck.”

When it comes to firing staff, Mr Poladi believes principals should act quickly.

“When somebody doesn’t hold up to your standards, every time you allow them to do that, you are hurting yourself,” he said.

“I am a firm believer that you can coach and help a staff member through the process. But when you just don’t see it working, it is better not to continue the relationship just to spare somebody’s feelings.

“To me it is really important to fire quickly if they are not holding up to the standards that I have set.”

But if you get the hiring process right from the beginning, the issue of firing staff should be non-existent said Mr Poladi.

“Hiring slowly allows me to take my time in adding that person to my team, that way I can prevent the turn over from happening,” he said.

“I think when you’re building a high volume business and you are working with team members around you, you don’t want to introduce somebody today and then a week from now somebody new comes in, and then a week from then another new person.

“You just want to make sure you have the right people on your team and you can’t do that until you do thorough background checks and spend time really investigating to find out who that person really is, including checking their Facebook.”

Yet Tom Offermann, managing director of Tom Offermann Real Estate in Queensland, believes no number of interviews can determine whether a staff member will fit in with the culture of the office.

“Out of all the people who have failed to make a good living in the business, the majority have not had a large amount of experience,” he told Real Estate Business.

“No number of interviews can determine whether they possess the right characteristics to make a great agent.

“It is only after they have started and after they have been equipped with the right training that you will discover if they are the right fit.”

In his 26 years as an agent Mr Offermann has never fired a single staff member.

“We have great stability in the office, but that is not to say people haven’t moved on or realized that the industry is not for them,” he said.

“We only hire established and experience people and that is how we operate.

“In most cases there is not even an interview but instead an invitation to make a career change into our office. It is after we have seen them excel in what they are doing.

Last financial year, Mr Offermann wrote more than $34 million in sales and sold 27 properties. He was ranked 83rd in Real Estate Business’ inaugural Top 100 Agents ranking. Mr Offerman has four support staff that assist him in the daily running of his business.

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