I recently got married, two weeks ago in fact, and I’ve been looking to purchase a home in New Jersey with my wife for the past few months. I’ve honestly been a bit unimpressed with the quality of the real estate agents I’ve dealt with during my housing search, specifically their customer service skills and ability to listen to clients.
I have a little story to share that I thought was very relevant to how recruiters SHOULD behave and work with job candidates, yet often don’t. It involves my interaction with a local real estate agent and the way she was presenting me with houses.
Before I kick off the story, I think that the way buyer’s real estate agents function is very similar to that of a 3rd party recruiter. Real estate agents search for houses for sale to present to potential home buyers, similar to how 3rd party recruiters search for potential job opportunities to present to job candidates.
What I learned from a real estate agent
As I said earlier, I’ve been house searching in New Jersey for the past few months with my wife. At this point, we’ve narrowed down our search to one specific town. I like the town’s close commute to my job in New York City, the restaurants/bars in the town center, quality of public education for when we have kids and the overall community atmosphere.
I recently told the real estate agent that we’re working with, “Please only present me with opportunities in XYZ Town in New Jersey, I’m not interested in other towns.” Of course, she said, “Okay that’s great, I’ll get started finding you some homes in the area right away.”
So this weekend, my wife and I head out to visit a few homes with the real estate agent in our specified town. The real estate agent proceeds to show us a number of homes in the town which were unappealing to my wife and I, but I didn’t mind that at all.
However, what I did mind, was when at every house, my real estate agent would make comments on how we should look in “this town and that town” because they’re better than the town I prefer to buy a home in. Not only that, but every time I made a comment on why I didn’t like the house I was showed, I was informed that “it’s because of the town we’re looking in”, “you don’t get a lot for your money here”, etc.
As I told the real estate agent, I want to live in XYZ town and I’m going to be selective about the process. I don’t care about what other nearby towns have available and I’m not interested in seeing the other towns inventory (mostly because I’ve already looked at them and crossed them off my list).
What does this have to do with recruiting?
You’re probably asking yourself this exact question right now. What the heck does a real estate agent have to do with my job search and interactions with recruiters?
Well, it’s quite simple. My real estate agent DID NOT listen to my preferences and my thought process. When I told her that I’m only interested in living in XYZ Town, she should have stopped mentioning and attempting to push me towards houses in nearby towns.
Recruiters often do the exact same thing to job candidates…
The best recruiters in the world listen carefully to the requirements and preferences of a job candidate and only present him/her with opportunities that meet those requirements.
If a job seeker tells a 3rd party recruiter,
“I want a Sales position at a medical devices company in Washington DC, in the $75,000 base salary range.”
Than that 3rd party recruiter should not consistently look to sway the job seeker towards a $60,000 job in New York City.
It’s funny how close of a correlation I was able to draw in my own mind between recruiters and real estate agents, which I hope you are able to see clearly as well. Both recruiters and real estate agents often suffer from low public opinion due to pushiness and the ability to care more about a commission check than your own well being.
Find a recruiter that listens
The key listen in this story is to find a professional that listens to your requirements and preferences, not someone who pushes their preferences onto you. Whether it’s real estate or recruiting, find someone who listens to you and puts your interests above their own commission check.