Posted by Adam Weissman, Director, IT and Legal Technology @ Glenmont Group
Recently, I changed my commuting route to work, and have noticed a lot of “For Sale” signs in my neighborhood. That got me to thinking about how the whole home-buying process has direct parallels to recruiting.
The buyer’s real estate agent is like speaking with someone in HR at a client. They have a lot of upfront information about the home/job being sold/recruited for. They are typically equipped with enough information to get you to take a closer look at the home/to allow you to start identifying candidates for the position. A buyer’s agent’s primary job is to take a set of wants or needs established by the buyer and then use that information to identify houses that simply match those criteria. Questions like what the average utility bills are, or if the basement gets water when it rains, often have to wait until your agent can contact the seller’s agent. In the same vein, I ask my HR contacts for information such as job descriptions, salary ranges, job location, and who the position reports to, in the hopes I can start identifying candidates who meet a general set of guidelines HR has provided me. Asking the type of profile that has been successful in that position in the past, or details of a “day in the life” in a particular position is usually deferred to the hiring manager’s expertise and opinions.
The seller’s agent is like the hiring manager at a company. Both know the secrets of the positives and negatives about the house/position, and are able to more specifically articulate the features that would be appealing to a home buyer/candidate. A seller’s agent understands the nuances of the house and how to sell the home’s features to match the needs of the prospective buyer. Hiring managers know exactly what experience and skills they feel will offer the greatest success in the role. I always try to establish a direct line of communication with my clients’ hiring authorities so I know what the manager truly needs in a candidate, as well as what they don’t want.
The bank/mortgage lender is like the influencer at a company. Banks control the money, and if you don’t have enough of your own stuffed in a secret cookie jar, or an old shoe box, or under the mattress (does anyone other than your grandparents actually do that anymore?), you typically need to spend time, and I mean LOTS of time, positioning yourself as a credible and worthy borrower. If the bank agrees and gives you the green thumbs up, they will tell the seller you have what it takes to buy their home. Similarly, influencers at a company could be a VP- or C-level executive who doesn’t directly oversee the position, but may have a dotted line to it, and their opinion of a candidate can be weighted rather heavily in the hiring decision process. I implore my candidates to impress the influencers the same or more than the direct manager, so they’ll tell the hiring manager he or she is the right one for the job. In both situations, it doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome of closing the deal, but it sure does help a lot.
Lastly, reaching the final deal when buying a house is comparable to negotiating the best offer package for a candidate. The signed offer sheet represents the culmination of weeks, and sometimes months, of deliberation, diligence, and research, and is the ultimate goal for all parties involved in both real estate transactions and job recruitment. Most home buyers work closely with their agent to broker a purchase price they feel is both affordable and reasonable without too much compromise, and that would hopefully be attractive enough to the sellers to accept the deal. As a recruiter, I communicate with both my candidates and my clients to finalize compensation packages that my candidates feel is appropriate for their skills and experience, as well as in consideration of the expectations of the job, and also that my clients feel creates value for the organization and hasn’t overextended their intended budgets.