This has to be one of the top issues for Realtors who decide they need help. And that is the very first “trap”; thinking you need an assistant because you’ve become so busy. Why is it that a few very successful agents can handle as much business as some who have an admin assistant and a buyer’s assistant? Some of the answers to this question can be found in last weeks post – The Perfect Week.
Other issues that must be addressed are the question of when do I really need help and how do I go about it. One of the best things you can do to help with the first question of when, or why, is to do an audit of all the tasks you perform in a week. Take the same approach as you would doing a food journal if you were trying to tackle a weight loss program. What you will find after doing this is that the activities will all fall in to one of three areas as described in the post last week:
P = p-time has three ingredients: you, a customer and a contract.
I = i-time you invest creating P-time. Calls, face to face meetings, mailings, notes etc..
E = Everything else.
An assistant should be hired to accomplish “E” and most “I” tasks leaving the agent to focus more time on the “P” time. There is a second important issue to consider which is to never hire an assistant to do something you DO NOT know how to do. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is you will never know how much time it should take and if it is done well. The other significant outcome of doing your self audit will be a really great focused list of Duties and Responsibilities for your new assistant.
The third “trap” most Realtors fall in to is hiring the first person they run into. Often a past client, friend, or friend of a friend, because they are so “awesome” and “we really get along great” etc. etc. This is 9.9 times out of 10 a disaster and causes the agent to be even further behind than before. The other issue with this approach is that the hire has often never worked in real estate and notwithstanding a great resume, nothing can make up for having direct experience in the business itself.
So, what to do. Using the list of duties and responsibilities, write up a short employment ad. Ask for resumes to be emailed or at a minimum a job application of sorts. Go through them and set aside the ones that have promise and do short telephone interviews to further screen the applicants. By now you might have one clear leader and maybe a few pretty good candidates. These ones you should interview in person using both direct and situational interview questions. Don’t preach to them about how great you are. Let them talk. Look for the keys to a great admin/support person such as attention to detail, organizational skills, customer service attitude etc..
Here’s one of the really important final tasks to undertake and that is to have the finalist(s) complete a personality profile test like the DISC. In fact, you should complete one for yourself as well and share it with the eventual hire. This is a great way to get to know each other’s style and how to effectively communicate.
If you are looking for more information on any of the above, just send me an email and I will happily share more.