Should I Hire An Assistant From Outside The Real Estate Industry?

Let's Discuss The Pros and Cons Of Hiring a Real Estate Assistant from a Different Industry.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of hiring a real estate assistant who doesn't have prior real estate experience.

In today’s tight job market with increasing salaries, hiring a new real estate assistant requires tough choices. While the real estate industry has the saying “price, location, condition, pick two,” I wish there was a comparable saying for HR. The bottom line is, you can’t have it all unless you’re willing to pay a premium. If you don’t have the budget for a top-tier, licensed, experienced assistant, compromises need to be made. 

One of the best compromises is dropping the requirement of prior real estate experience. Let’s delve into why that’s the case and why it may be more advantageous to prioritize other skills and qualities over specific industry knowledge.

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When Real Estate Experience Is Important

If you’re hiring for transaction managers, marketing and administrative managers, listing coordinators, marketing specialists, or operations managers in the real estate industry, prior experience is likely important. However, there are roles where industry experience isn’t essential. Surprisingly, there are benefits to not requiring real estate experience. Firstly, it broadens your talent pool, allowing you to choose from a more skilled and diverse range of candidates and potentially hire more quickly. Moreover, by shifting focus away from real estate experience, you can prioritize important factors such as skills, goals, and cultural fit, which are crucial in making the right hiring decision.

The Pros Of Hiring Outside The Industry

By setting aside real estate assistant experience, you can assess whether the candidate excels in administrative tasks, pays great attention to detail, possesses strong organizational skills, has a proven ability to build and manage systems, and support busy executives, and most importantly, possesses the right attitude. It is essential to evaluate whether their goals align with yours and your company’s direction, and whether there is a positive rapport, trust, and long-term potential for collaboration. These factors lie at the core of the matter, surpassing the number of transactions managed. 

The Cons of Hiring Outside The Industry

Now, let’s explore the drawbacks of hiring a real estate assistant from outside the real estate industry. The foremost drawback is the need for training, but fortunately, there are abundant resources available to facilitate this process. Your CRM provides training videos, and transaction coordinators can guide your assistant on their role and requirements. Additionally, Kathleen Metcalf’s 90 Days to Thrive program offers coaching and training for both you and your assistant to ensure their success. You don’t have to shoulder all the training responsibilities alone. However, remember that regardless of who you hire, you still need to train them on your specific processes

While there will be additional upfront training, the advantage is that you can mold someone according to your preferences. However, one drawback is the possibility of them realizing that real estate isn’t what they expected, unlike what is portrayed in shows like Selling Sunset. That’s why conducting a thorough Day in the Life interview, as taught in the hire lab process, becomes crucial. They must comprehend the realities, both positive and challenging, and have a clear understanding of what their daily routine in the industry will entail.

 

Provide Full Disclosure

During the interview process, it’s crucial to provide full disclosure regarding the assistant’s actual responsibilities and limitations on your team, avoiding any future surprises. Additionally, keep in mind that hiring someone from outside the real estate industry won’t result in a significant salary discount. Experienced executive assistants command competitive salaries, often earning as much or even more in non-real estate sectors with better benefits. Sadly, the real estate industry isn’t known for leading in terms of salary. Therefore, while training efforts will be increased, substantial salary discounts should not be expected when onboarding such candidates.

The Art of Compromise

Now that you know these pros and cons and you still prefer to hire a real estate assistant with experience, consider the compromises necessary for a timely hire. This may involve offering a higher salary to attract someone from another team, being open to a virtual or flexible work arrangement, and potentially compromising on education, skill level, professional presentation, attitude, or competency. Personally, I believe it’s more beneficial to train someone according to my standards for efficient real estate transactions and client service. Accommodating individuals who resist coming to the office or lack essential skills, experience, or the right attitude can be challenging. Furthermore, staying within budget is crucial. 

These are my thoughts on hiring from outside the real estate industry, and I’m interested in hearing your perspective. Have you hired assistants from outside of the industry? How did that go for you? Am I missing any pros or cons?

Real this next: What Can an Unlicensed Real Estate Assistant Do?

 

VANESSA ROSENBLUM

FOUNDER & CEO AT PRO REA STAFFING

Continue the conversation with her here to discuss successful real estate team fundamentals.

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