Your school might be having trouble finding and keeping quality instructors. If so, you’re not alone. It is listed as the fourth biggest challenge in Dearborn’s State of the Real Estate Education Industry Report, 2018-2019. So what can make it less difficult? Let’s take a look at some things you can do besides advertising on job boards and hiring instructors with the Distinguished Real Estate Instructor designation.
Never underestimate the power of networking in your community, in professional groups, and at conferences as a means for recruiting candidates. Successful real estate school directors have grown their instructor pools by being active in associations and communities. Take advantage of your membership in the Real Estate Educators Association (REEA). Attend the REEA conference and mingle with real estate instructors because some might be interested in joining your school. You can find other conferences to attend here.
Not all networking is in person, so look for groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that enable you to engage with potential instructors. When possible candidates get to know you in a role that is not “hiring manager,” they will feel comfortable and are more likely to apply to your school and stay.
Go the Extra Mile to Reach “Passive Candidates”
Some of the best real estate instructors are those who, at one time, did not think they were in the market for a career change or a position as an educator. They are are referred to as “passive candidates.” Again, associations and communities for real estate agents (like NAR) are great places to meet and attract agents who don’t want to leave the profession completely but are looking for something different. Moreover, consider posting on social media about the benefits of being an instructor, blogging about the benefits, and adding a website banner that takes people to a page devoted to the topic. Fill it with testimonials from instructors about how satisfying and fulfilling the career is.Click here to add your own text
Advertise on More Than the Popular Job Boards
Did you know that some of the same marketing strategies you use to promote your school to students can work for recruiting instructors, too? So don’t focus just on the job description. Market your school with information about what you have to offer and what makes you different. The goal is to pique the interest of great candidates. When posting a job opening, don’t simply use Glassdoor, indeed, LinkedIn, or Careerbuilder. Association websites often have career opportunities pages, and they are not as crowded as the popular job boards, so your posting will stand out. Social media groups often have career tabs for job openings, or you can just post that you’re hiring to your school or personal profiles.
Don’t Forget About Your Website
Make sure your website sells your jobs. Have a tab or page dedicated to careers that almost instantly creates a positive impression of working at your school. Then, make sure you take every opportunity to promote this page. Include its URL in marketing materials, email signatures, and more, to reach people who are considering becoming instructors but don’t know where to start. Although your careers page should have a quick link to your instructor application, it should also offer useful links for learning about your real estate school. More and more, people want to do research before they commit to an application.
Offer a Positive Application Experience
“Thank you for your interest in employment with us. Please keep the following in mind. Once you begin the application process, you cannot save your work, so have all the required attachments available before you begin. Your application will not be considered without the required attachments.”
Does your application start out like this? Believe it or not, this example is a paraphrasing of an actual job post on Glassdoor. If yours is similar, change it. This kind of post does not make a good impression, and it’s certainly not the best experience. Your application process should be simple, have a positive message, and treat applicants politely. Acknowledge applications, respond to inquiries, and keep them informed about their application.
Ditch the Formulaic Interview Techniques
The best real estate instructors share specific traits, such as passion, belief, and deep real estate knowledge. They are also skilled at managing a classroom. Any real estate instructor with those qualities is likely to stick around for awhile because they love what they do. You will not find them, however, if you use a formula for your interviews with “canned” questions about strengths and weaknesses. Instead, ask questions like “In five years, where do you see yourself?” and “How do you want students and colleagues to remember you at the end of your career?” Pose both real estate and classroom scenarios and ask them how they would handle them. See how much they’ve researched your school by asking them questions about it.
Walk Candidates Through Your School
You can tell a lot about whether a teacher will fit in at your school by simply showing them around and even walking them into a classroom while instruction is in progress. Check to see if they smile at staff and students. See if they ask questions about what they see on the walls or if they comment on classroom structure. Introduce them to other instructors to get a sense of how they treat others. For your finalists, you can even ask them to lead a mock class. These are subtle ways that can help you determine whether they can connect to your culture.
Check More Than References
Check references thoroughly, but don’t stop there. You can’t always be confident in what former colleagues have to say about a candidate. Someone who was the perfect fit for another school or brokerage might not be right for your school, and vice-versa. Dig deeper by asking for names of additional co-workers or managers when speaking to a reference. If several people have similar things to say about a potential instructor, take that into consideration. In addition, don’t forget to check how long a candidate stayed at a former employer or brokerage. Someone who repeatedly changes employers might not be someone who sticks.
Cultivate a Great Culture
“Company culture” is used so often these days that it’s tempting to dismiss it as just another buzzword. However, it is very real, and it is very important. When your instructors are comfortable in your culture, they are likely to be more productive and inclined to work for your school longer. There is a lot of advice available on how to cultivate a good culture, but it seems to center on eight similar directives: 1) Learn from the past; 2) Define your core values and align the culture with them; 3) Find instructors who complement your values; 4) Communicate clearly and frequently; 5) Infuse your work with a little fun; 6) Make your instructors and staff believers in your school; 7) Work as a team; 8) Make sure your culture can evolve with the times while remaining true to your values.
The Benefits of Quality Instructors
These tips can help you find, hire, and keep quality real estate instructors for your school. If you have the right culture, and your instructors are enthusiastic, they’ll let others know, which also helps in recruiting. You might even see a surge in enrollment if students spread the word that your instructors helped them pass the licensing exam. If you’re just starting out, let us know…we can help.
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