Recruiting: What Causes a Candidate to Choose a Particular Real Estate Office?

by | Jul 6, 2018

by Ben Hess, Managing Director, ThirdPool Recruiting

A few months ago, I introduced you to the work of Richard Millington and his consulting company FeverBee.

Richard’s focus is helping large organizations develop, grow, and sustain online communities.  It’s difficult work because, as he frequently points out:

Most online communities aren’t.  They’re online but they’re not communities. They’re a group of people looking to extract instant gratification from a collective resource. They want immediate help or immediate resources.

Since most of you don’t manage communities, this information doesn’t apply to you. Right?

Not so fast.  Reread Richard’s description.

I would argue that many real estate organizations (offices, teams, companies) operate more like communities than tightly managed business units.  While this reality has its advantages, it also has its own set of challenges.

Here’s the good news: These challenges can be turned into a recruiting competitive edge by a knowledgeable hiring manager.

Many of the principles that cause individuals to join, engage, and flourish inside a social group mirror the dynamics of a real estate organization.

Why Do People Join Communities / Groups?

According to social scientists, people join groups to survive.   Richard asserts that group dynamics evolved over thousands of years, and the focus on survival is embedded in every human being.

Individuals were more likely to survive in groups. Groups offered safety from environmental dangers and the pooling (and division) of collective resources.

This matters more than you might think.

Groups today offer us emotional safety (the same parts of the brain are activated as physical safety).

Groups let us be who we really are and want to be. Groups offer us a sense of belonging and mutual support.

Groups also give us the ability to pool our resources and each receives a greater division of the benefits.

This includes exploration of our given field and bigger influence over our environment.

Keep these four principles (sense of belonging, mutual support, greater exploration, and greater influence over our environment) in mind.  We’ll use these again later.

How Do People Decide What Groups to Join?

This depends.  If the person is a “newbie” to the topic of the group, they’ll generally make choices based on one very predictable principle.  If they’re “veterans,” things get more complex.

For newbies, Richard reveals the common motivator that causes people to associate with one group over another:

They’re learning something new.  

Last year we made an interesting discovery. Most new members to communities hadn’t been involved in that topic for long….

[Individuals are] more likely to join groups if they discover the group in the natural course of learning more about the topic.

We want our communities to be the central place for people that are new to the topic. We always want more newcomers to the topic than hardcore members.

We want to be the ultimate resource for people that are new to your topic.

This idea has some very important recruiting implications.

If people are most likely to join a group when they are learning about something new, you would have a huge advantage if you were the person they first contacted in the discovery process.

Secondly, if you (the hiring manager) can’t deliver on helping individuals learn about their new topic of interest (real estate), candidates will quickly find a group who can deliver on this need.  Of course, they’ll become connected to the new group in the process.

Next time, we’ll address the veterans.  There is a whole different group dynamic among those who already have knowledge.

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