How to sell an “A” player on joining your firm

5 min read
Logan Nagel
Researcher
Published on
October 22, 2022

If your goal is to assemble a team of real estate “A” players, you need to be able to sell them on joining your firm. The best practices listed below will set you on the right path to convert top candidates into team members.

Ask your candidates the right questions

Beyond assessing the quality of your candidates, the interview is a chance to get to know what your future employee wants out of their job and their team.

Address their career aspirations

“A” player candidates in real estate roles have an ever-present opportunity to jump ship and start their own syndication groups, funds, or teams. Find out what your candidate is looking for, and then determine if it is something you can provide.

  • A stable career trajectory or the fastest route to running their own deals?
  • An opportunity to increase their real estate experience in a team setting or a fast-paced entrepreneurial role?
  • A role that specifically improves on something they found lacking at their previous firm?

Make sure their aspirations are aligned with what you can offer, and then structure the role to align with their goals.

Find out how they want to work

Asking candidates directly whether they would rather work in-person or remotely may lead to inaccurate responses. Instead, ask probing questions about what they are looking for day-to-day in their job.

  • Autonomy or a tight-knit team?
  • Flexibility or predictability?
  • Stimulation or relaxed work?

Offer sufficient compensation

Start by understanding the figures in CEL & Associates’ 2021 Real Estate Compensation Survey, and get more nuanced from there.

Compensation beyond salary + bonus

If you expect to offer deal participation or a profit-sharing arrangement to your new hire, make sure it is carefully planned before you start interviewing for your role. Don’t run the risk of offering generalities only to back out of what was promised later.

Does your role demand specialized experience or leadership ability beyond the median?

If you’re working with specialized property types or highly complex financing structures, you may need to increase your compensation expectations.

Provide the benefits your candidates need

Research from Willis Towers Watkins found that 47 percent of employees say retirement benefits are an important reason to join a company and 60 percent say they are an important reason to stay with a company.

Offering the right health benefits are also important. The same Willis Towers Watkins research also found that perks like mental health days and complimentary health screenings are highly valuable to job candidates.

Use tools like Gusto, Rippling, and Trinet when your company is too small to hire a full HR team.

Ensure your team is organized enough for a new member

“A” player candidates can read when a team is dysfunctional, poorly organized, or lacking culture. Preempt these negative impressions by ensuring your own team is organized and effective before even thinking about bringing on a new employee. Suggestions include:

  • Keep track of your team’s progress across multiple areas with communication channels like Slack and project management tools such as the simple Trello or more advanced, customizable ClickUp.
  • Engage outside experts, such as sales mentors and leadership coaches, to refine your employees’ skill sets and keep everyone learning.
  • Invite your candidate to dinner to meet your team more socially once you’ve extended an offer.

Offer the right kind of flexibility for “A” players

Even if the rest of your offer package is highly desirable, friction between candidate working preferences and your team can doom a new hire from the start.

Workflows

If you’re hiring for a mid- to senior-level role, don’t force your new hires to adopt your existing workflows unless there is a good reason. Instead, make sure your candidates know you are open to learning from them and their expertise.

If you’re hiring for a junior role, be open to hearing out the innovation and efficiency that a new generation of talent could offer your organization.

Location and scheduling

Have a direct conversation about your candidate’s ideal working situation.

If an “A” player is passionate about a working arrangement that you are not prepared to offer, they might not be a good fit.

Provide a clear pathway to growth

Offering a clear growth plan can encourage “A” players to join and stay on your team instead of jumping ship when things get challenging.

Company growth

A company growth plan is a prerequisite to planning the advancement of your employees. Do you have well-articulated revenue, profit, and hiring goals?

Candidate career growth

When you’re planning for your new hire, think about what you want the role to evolve into. Is there a pathway to seniority in the same functional area, or an opportunity for the right candidate to cross-train? Both could be attractive for top candidates.

Mentorship

According to research from Olivet Nazarene University, that 76 percent of employees consider a mentor important or very important. Does your organization have a formalized mentor plan or a senior employee willing to step in to help guide your “A” player candidate? If not, consider steering the candidate toward outside resources like ULI’s mentorship program.

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