TEAM SPOTLIGHT: How to Establish Solid Hiring Practices & Nail Your Pay Structure

TEAM SPOTLIGHT: How to Establish Solid Hiring Practices & Nail Your Pay Structure photo
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Editor’s note: Today we present the third installment of TEAM SPOTLIGHT, a recurring blog from Debbie Holloway focusing on team building in today’s increasingly team-oriented real estate industry. If you missed the first one on “To Team or Not to Team,” click here. Or if you missed the second one on how to structure your team, click here. -Tom

By Debbie Holloway, Head of Team+ Coaching

Picking up from our last blog… Did you decide what team model you want and who you want on your team?

I hope so, because today we’re taking it to the next step – Let’s talk hiring and pay!

UGH! Pay can definitely be a touchy subject. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t want to pay too much, but I want the agents and the administrative staff on my team to feel good about what they make… and I would like to make a profit as well!”

So where do you start? I’ve got five steps that will help streamline the hiring process and determine the right pay for each role.

Step 1: Clarifying Roles

What do you want your admin to do? Create a detailed list, for example, of what you want the Listing Coordinator, Closing Coordinator, in-house Marketing Director, Lead Coordinator, Sales Manager, Ops Manager, Runner, etc. to do.

This can be the hard part if you haven’t already created a job description for each role on your team. Good news, you can GTS (Google it) and likely get something pretty close to what you want.

We provide this information to members of our Team+ coaching program in the Team+ manual.

Or lastly, you can go old school, hire the person and have them create the job description as they learn the job. It’s not my first choice for you, as it can take considerably longer and be incredibly frustrating.

Step 2: Begin Your Candidate Search

Once you know the job you want to fill, let’s make the hiring process simple. Place your ad on job search sites such as WizeHire, Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, on local sites, and on social media.

Here are two sample ads:


  • Uber organized with amazing time management
  • You are a fast worker who makes minimal mistakes
  • You are an efficient scheduler with a sickening degree of attention to detail
  • You hate a mess
  • You are Tech savvy and extremely computer literate
  • You like to work hard
  • You have the memory of an Elephant (or at least utilize organized lists to help remember)
  • You are the type of person that gets your work done WAY before schedule just because you can
  • You like a mish-mash of work anywhere from working on a blog post, processing a contract at 8pm or running to a property to wash the windows so it will photograph well
  • You hate smoking, drama and love to work out
  • You are known as “Cool Under Pressure” by your friends and don’t get frazzled easily
  • You have at least 1-2 years of Executive Assistant / Office Management Experience
  • You don’t care that you’ll have 2 bosses with completely different personalities

This is a full-time position 40 hours plus per week. Send a resume and cover letter in pdf format to [your email address here].

In your cover letter, tell me four things:

  1. Why are you such a good hire
  2. Describe the last two bosses you had and why you loved and hated working for them
  3. Tell me your ideal employment situation
  4. Tell me about the first job you ever had, what you did, how long you had the job.


I love the humor in this ad as is so reflective of the culture of the team leader who wrote it.

Below is a second option:

Top [Your Market here] real estate team looking for a dynamic Assistant (or team manager, buyer agent, etc.) to assist in massive growth! Ideal candidate will be a high energy, self-starter with abilities to ____, excellent skills in _____ and knowledge of ___________.

Salary (Commission) + bonus negotiable and based on experience!

Call [your Google phone number] to apply

Once your ads are placed, set up a Google number and create the following outgoing message:

“Thanks for calling about the _____ position. Please leave your name, number, email address and answer this question: I would be a great [position here] for your team because…

All responses will be reviewed and resume request emailed to you.

Again, please leave your name, number, email address and answer this question: I would be great ____ for your team because_______. All responses will be reviewed and resume request emailed to you.”

Why do this? It simplifies your life by allowing you to listen to the messages and determine two things right away:

One, how well does this person follow directions?

And two, you can hear how they sound on the phone. If they’re applying for a position which will require them to be on the phone quite a bit, you can gauge their phone skills right from the start.

Step 3: Find the Right Personality Fit

The next step is to have them take a personality test prior to you meeting and send you the results.

We covered much of what you should be looking for in last month’s TEAM SPOTLIGHT.

Step 4: Follow Up with Viable Candidates

Once you determine who you want to talk to, email them a request for their resume.

Then, once you’ve reviewed the resumes, reduce the list and set an appointment with those you want to do a face-to-face interview with.

You will want to refrain from telling them how great you are, your incredible market share, how many leads you will give them and how much fun you are to work with. As I tell our Team+ coaching members, you aren’t taking a listing here, you are hiring.

Always hire to the position, not the person.

When interviewing, use behavior-based questions. Behavior based questions are questions about people’s past work experiences in order to find out if they have the skills needed for the job. These questions focus on how they’ve handled various work situations. Their responses will reveal their skills, abilities, and personality.

Most behavior-based questions begin with phrases such as:

“Tell me about a time when…”

“Give me an example…”

“Describe a situation when…”

For example, “Tell me about a time when you had to handle an irate customer – what did you learn – what would you do differently?” or “Describe for me a time when you had multiple projects with the same deadlines – How did you accomplish your tasks?”

When you know you have the right candidate in front of you, the next step is to have them meet the other members on your team. The final decision is, of course, yours. However, if you don’t get team input and approval, it could lead to complicating your culture.

One of the things the Tom Ferry organization does that is incredibly effective is to actually have the candidate they’re interviewing participate in role-playing. If they are applying for a sales position, they are given a script and asked to role-play it. If they are applying for an administrative position, they will be given a task and asked to use the CRM and complete the task.

Step 5: Determining Pay Structure

So… what do we pay? For an administrative position, we have to decide if we want to pay them hourly or salary. If we pay them hourly, consider overtime issues if you need them outside of regular business hours. If we pay them salary and we need to do something outside of regular business hours, there’s no overtime.

Ask around and find out what is the norm in your market for administrative positions or check out, a cool site for info on what jobs in your market are paying.

For commission salespeople, review your state laws regarding independent contractor status. These laws have changed recently in several states and I highly recommend you seek legal advice prior to agreeing to any form or pay to anyone on your team.

The general rule of thumb is a 50-50 split for sales agents on the team with you paying for everything except for their license renewal, car phone and personal expenses.

Let me preemptively respond to some of the burning questions you may have:

  1. No, they don’t get a higher split if they bring a lead to the team.
  2. No, they don’t get a higher split if they pick up a lead at an Open House they sat.
  3. Yes, should they leave the team, any family friend or lead that they brought with them when they joined the team, they can take with them.
  4. Any and all leads you give them – as well as online reviews from those leads – remain with you. Check with all your online review sources to ensure that they will allow this and make sure you have an online review clause written in your team contracts.

When it comes to what we should expect from our new team members… well, stay tuned – more on that in next month’s TEAM SPOTLIGHT.

Tom Ferry - Success Summit



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