Experience or enthusiasm: the hirer’s dilemma

You’ve posted your job ad, shortlisted applicants, and carried out interviews – but which agent should you hire?

You’ve reduced your shortlist to just two candidates – one has been selling homes for two decades but didn’t bring much excitement to the interview; the other is as enthusiastic as they come and raring to get going, but hasn’t worked a minute in real estate.

Who should you choose?

“Enthusiasm. Without a doubt,” says Brad Robson, Principal and Lead Agent at Place Real Estate Graceville.

“You could have someone with all the experience in the world, but if they’re a rotten apple within the team, it can generate much, much bigger problems.”

Robson values attitude above all else, so if a potential agent doesn’t suit the culture and core values of his team, that’s an immediate deal breaker.

He says a good attitude is built on positivity and optimism, and being community minded.

“Whether that be the broader community which you work within or the community within your office,” says Robson.

“It’s that attitude that shows support towards the community within the office, and bringing everybody else around them up.”

Tina Nenadic, Director and Selling Principal at Gold Coast Property, isn’t so cut and dried, and says it comes down to what her team needs at the time.

“Sometimes I may need experience as I just want to set someone up at the beginning and then not have to manage them,” says Nenadic.

“But then I may want to expand my team or another agent’s so that is where experience isn’t really a requirement and I look more at their behaviour and willingness to learn.”

Both experienced and inexperienced agents bring their own challenges, she says, because those who have been in the game a long time may struggle to adapt to an evolving market, while newer players need to be positive, but realistic.

“Times are changing now and we need to be more community based, and focused on relationships,” says Nenadic.

“I always tell them to be positive, but also be prepared for let downs.

“Life isn’t always rainbows but if you aren’t enthusiastic you won’t manifest yourself out into the world as someone that a prospective client will want to work with.”

Of course, experience and enthusiasm are not mutually exclusive, and the ideal scenario is to have an agent who shows the same excitement and positivity in their 10th year as they did in their first.

Brad Robson’s view is that skills can be taught, but personality cannot, while Tina Nenadic makes the point that sometimes you need to hire someone who will be independent and able to hit the ground running without a learning curve.

Every agent is different, and so is every agency, so hiring is definitely not a one-size-fits-all process.

Understand what your team needs – a breath of youth and zeal, or an air of wisdom and familiarity – and hire accordingly.