Relationships with competitors can yield best staff

Steven Cross and Simon Parker

Keeping in contact with your competition is the key to successful headhunting, according to an executive from a specialist real estate industry recruitment company.

Joel Barbuto, managing director at Gough Recruitment, told Real Estate Business that all principals need a backup plan in case a vacancy arises.

“All of us have to be able to have a bank of people lined up in case an opportunity comes up,” he said.

According to Mr Barbuto, headhunting techniques such as calling an opposition salesperson without any prior communication generally won’t work.

“The days of approaching someone for an ‘opportunity today’ isn’t going to work effectively," he said. "You need to plant the seed, get introduced, have a series of catch ups and just get to know them so it’s authentic."

“Picking up the phone and saying, ‘We want you to join us’, while banging your chest about how great an agency you are isn’t going to work. Some candidates can be getting phone calls every day from 10 or 12 different agencies.

“So agents need to be a bit smarter when building a people bank. When the opportunity comes up you can ring that candidate and say, ‘Something’s come up, would you like to grab a coffee?’, so the relationship is already there.

“If you’re calling cold off the bat, it’s not going to have the same effect,” he said.

Jason Roach, Westpac's head of real estate services, told Real Estate Business last year that hiring the right people requires an investment of time.

“You should always be scouting for the fastest, strongest and fittest team members,” Mr Roach said. "This does not commit you to hiring them, but it does assist you in staying close to the marketplace and competition.”

Mr Barbuto is already seeing some principals enhance their chances of securing top quality talent by creating an HR role within their agency, with a view to developing people banks. He also suggests finding people to add to their people bank at conferences, conventions and by keeping in touch with their recruitment agency.

Steven Cross and Simon Parker

Keeping in contact with your competition is the key to successful headhunting, according to an executive from a specialist real estate industry recruitment company.

Joel Barbuto, managing director at Gough Recruitment, told Real Estate Business that all principals need a backup plan in case a vacancy arises.

“All of us have to be able to have a bank of people lined up in case an opportunity comes up,” he said.

According to Mr Barbuto, headhunting techniques such as calling an opposition salesperson without any prior communication generally won’t work.

“The days of approaching someone for an ‘opportunity today’ isn’t going to work effectively," he said. "You need to plant the seed, get introduced, have a series of catch ups and just get to know them so it’s authentic."

“Picking up the phone and saying, ‘We want you to join us’, while banging your chest about how great an agency you are isn’t going to work. Some candidates can be getting phone calls every day from 10 or 12 different agencies.

“So agents need to be a bit smarter when building a people bank. When the opportunity comes up you can ring that candidate and say, ‘Something’s come up, would you like to grab a coffee?’, so the relationship is already there.

“If you’re calling cold off the bat, it’s not going to have the same effect,” he said.

Jason Roach, Westpac's head of real estate services, told Real Estate Business last year that hiring the right people requires an investment of time.

“You should always be scouting for the fastest, strongest and fittest team members,” Mr Roach said. "This does not commit you to hiring them, but it does assist you in staying close to the marketplace and competition.”

Mr Barbuto is already seeing some principals enhance their chances of securing top quality talent by creating an HR role within their agency, with a view to developing people banks. He also suggests finding people to add to their people bank at conferences, conventions and by keeping in touch with their recruitment agency.

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