Recently I participated in a “round table” discussion with seven other real estate Brokers/Owners, and we were asked the question, “how has technology changed the way that you recruit new agents?” My answer: “We don’t recruit. Agents find us.”
It wasn't the answer they were looking for. By now, though, I'm used to being considered as "outside the box.” The other (very esteemed) Brokers in the room were all Oahu-based, and a lot of the questions were (naturally) biased toward the Oahu real estate market. Hawaii Life is a statewide company, and my job is to understand all of Hawaii, not just one island.
"Recruiting," as it's called, certainly isn't a new thing to the real estate industry, but it’s definitely more intensely expressed on Oahu than the neighbor islands. On Oahu, recruiting is systematic, systemic and downright annoying. Like the spammy email drip campaign you can never quite unsubscribe from. Postcards, letters, cold calls, “come be part of our family” – all from people I don’t know and who don’t know me. But they sure want me (and, seemingly, anyone) to come and work for them.
It strikes me as exceedingly odd. Real Estate is a relationship business and Hawaii is a relationship culture. Last I checked, spamming people isn't the best way to build a relationship. In Hawaii, most people don’t check the yellow pages or Google to find a plumber. They ask their Aunty, “who’s that plumber we use?” Why would hiring real estate salespeople be any different? (It shouldn't be, but that's a whole other conversation.)
We’re never going to call random salespeople out of the blue and ask them to work with us. We're only going to work with the people we have a relationship with. The people who are known. And even then, it still has to be a “fit.” We don’t spam all the REALTORS in the state and then hire anyone and everyone who comes along. That's just not what we're about.
Our culture at Hawaii Life is different than most real estate companies. We are not a top-down corporate structure with umpteen levels of "Vice-Presidents" and Regional Managers. We are transparent, collaborative and cooperative, and our Leadership Team eats last. We are un-corporate, flexible and innovative. Change happens quickly. Relationships matter.