Where to find “A” player commercial real estate talent

5 min read
Logan Nagel
Published on
October 7, 2022

Of all the real estate bottlenecks, facing a talent shortage is one of the most troubling. Finding new properties or more funding is challenging, but it’s a challenge real estate teams are specifically equipped to solve. However, hiring is not a core real estate competency like underwriting properties is. 

In our last article we launched our series on hiring “A” players for your real estate team. These are the employees that make a massive impact to your business with their superior skills, attitude and follow-through. 

In this article we’re sharing insights on where to look for “A” player talent: job sites, freelance networks and beyond. Then, we’ll talk about whether doing it yourself or outsourcing your hiring process is right for you. 

Where to find high-quality candidates

Your network

Your network is the best way to find “A” player candidates. Between your own network and those of your team members and trusted partners, you likely have dozens of ex-coworkers, alumni connections, and other contacts ready to tap. 

While you’ll still have to screen and interview referral candidates, the entire process will likely be shorter and more successful at finding “A” players than going to a job board.

Recruiting firms

Recruiting firms are the second best way to find great candidates. Recruiters leverage robust (and proprietary) networks of talent to source top quality candidates on your behalf.

Using a recruiter is like hitting the “easy” button. They’ll typically find you great candidates, but they are expensive.

Industry job boards

Industry job boards, exemplified by SelectLeaders, are places you can post jobs that are exclusive to the commercial real estate industry. As such, using a “real estate only” job board will remove some of the applicant noise that you’d receive on general job boards.

Nonetheless you will still need to develop a compelling job posting, screen resumes, and manage the entire interview process yourself. 

Non-industry job boards

Non-industry job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Ziprecruiter offer exposure to a huge number of candidates across all industries and functions, making it easy to disseminate your job. 

However, the quality of the applicants received on general job boards are typically lower than industry job boards.

Freelance networks

Freelance networks connect you directly with contract talent. These include sites like UpWork,Fiverr, and platforms like Bullpen

UpWork and Fiverr are marketplaces for all types of talent. They can be a cost-effective solution if you have very specific work and an ability to actively manage freelancers, but you’ll need to rigorously screen candidates yourself. 

Bullpen is a dedicated commercial real estate-focused freelance network. Like a recruiter, we curate and handpick the top candidate for your role.

Should you “DIY” or use a recruiter?

The decision whether or not to leverage a recruiter for your hiring needs comes down to the following questions:

What kind of position are you filling?

Candidates for high-skilled, high-responsibility roles are going to be harder to find than those for junior-level roles. Clearly define the type of role you are trying to fill:

  1. What role will the new worker perform? 
  2. What level of expertise do you need? As a corollary, how much time do you have to give them training and guidance? 
  3. What kind of compensation package are you prepared to offer? 
  4. Who will they be working with? How would those people (their coworkers, managers and reports alike) answer these questions? 

How much time (and attention) do you have? 

The typical hiring process for skilled roles is 3 to 6 months. If you have time to devote to reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for the next few months, then doing it yourself might be an option. 

Is talent sourcing your core competency?

Do what you’re good at. Outsource the rest.

The hiring process includes the following:

  1. Define the role (answer the questions in “1” above) 
  2. Find candidates
  3. Review resumes and know what to look for as red (or green) flags
  4. Plan interview questions; execute interviews
  5. Follow up on references
  6. Be able to “sell” the role you are offering

If you’re confident in your ability to perform each of these tasks, doing it yourself may be a great option for you. If you’re not confident in the above, outsourcing would likely yield better results. 

What is your budget for this hire?

A recruiter costs money. Doing-it-yourself costs time. What do you have more of?

If you choose to work with a recruiting firm, expect to pay a fee of around 30% of the role’s annual salary. 

For firms with in-house recruiting teams, the average “per hire” cost of recruiting is between $5,000 and $10,000. 

Pro-tip: For compensation by role, a useful benchmark to consider is the salary survey data of industry consulting firm CEL & Associates

Much like every other decision you make as a real estate professional, the answer of the right place to source “A” players depends on what you’re ready to do and what you ultimately want to achieve. 

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