Recruiting Red Flags: 5 Things That Turn Off Real Estate Agents

recruiting red flags

As a real estate brokerage or recruiter, it is only reasonable to have a specific set of qualifications when it comes to hiring agents. At the end of the day, a brokerage is a business with goals to meet. The people you hire have a direct influence on whether or not you achieve these milestones.

On the other hand, candidates also have their own preferences in a company. Experienced agents, in particular, are more selective about the brokerages they want to join.

In short, the “convince me” aspect of recruitment goes both ways. If you want to be impressed by a candidate before hiring them, then you should be prepared to impress a candidate in return.

To make sure that you aren’t turning off job applicants and qualified candidates from your brokerage, here are some things that you should watch out for:

Unwillingness to Discuss Compensation

One of the biggest things that can influence a candidate’s decision to join your brokerage is the compensation plan. After all, it is only normal for anyone to expect to be properly compensated for the work they do. 

Make sure to include discussions about the commission splits, referral fees, and other details in your real estate recruiting script. (Click the link to learn more about how to construct a script that’s tailored to your target candidates.)

It is important to simply be honest from the get-go. If you can’t offer a huge commission or salary, perhaps you can offer something else of value. To find out if your company can offer more perks to potential new hires, examine your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have mentorship and training programs? 
  • Do you invest in the best and latest real estate technology to help streamline internal processes? 
  • What’s your policy on promotions and appraisals? 

Mention these in your compensation plan.

There are agents who are interested in growth opportunities as much as they’re interested in large commissions. In fact, most employees leave a company for lack of a clear career growth plan. 

Having Too-Vague Job Descriptions or Titles

There are job ads that get a lot of attention because of the prestigious job title. However, upon closer inspection, the description is either too vague or too unrealistic. This is a big turn-off for candidates, who simply want to know what they’re getting into.

Before you post a job ad, make sure that you’ve nailed down the skills and experience you want in a candidate. More importantly, include a clear job description. Be as specific as you can, so as to avoid any disappointments. it is also helpful to stay abreast of the latest industry news, so you can update job titles and descriptions accordingly.

Stay away from pretentious names. If you’re looking for an experienced real estate agent, then say so. There’s no need to think of fancy titles that will mislead candidates or “elevate” a clearly junior position into a senior one. it is a distasteful tactic that can definitely turn off a lot of applicants.

Ambiguous job descriptions only lengthen the recruitment process. Confusions result in the following issues:

  • Misalignment between the company and the potential hire
  • Skills and job mismatch
  • Conflict in the workplace
  • Employee turnover

You will know when the descriptions are too vague when they elicit too many irrelevant questions from the candidate, or when you attract the wrong type of applicant.

From the beginning, you want clarity for your people and for your company. 

Having Too Many Steps and/or Taking Too Long to Respond

Again, it is only natural to seek the best of the best to join your brokerage. However, even the most seasoned candidates can lose patience if there are too many steps before they even get to a preliminary interview. 

Evaluate your process and eliminate redundant steps and requirements that could perhaps come later. These include various documentations, culture-fit assessments, and personality tests. There is really no need for you to ask candidates to go through such a rigorous and tedious process especially if you lack proper screening.

Now, if you have done some prior screening in which the steps to identify who will be proceeding to the second step are in place, then that is the time you could consider additional papers and tests. However, the bottom line here is that a longer process does not always translate to a better process.

You should also make it a point to respond to applications as quickly as possible. If someone did not make it past the first step, inform them right away. There’s no need to sit on the information and make candidates squirm. This makes for a bad candidate experience and the news will certainly reach other potential candidates.

Not Replying at All

“Ghosting” doesn’t just apply to relationships. It applies to recruitment, too! Candidates don’t like being left hanging; even if they really like your brokerage and your company culture, they will definitely look for other opportunities if they don’t hear from you.

Don’t expect them to wait for you, either. Again, taking too long to respond can be disappointing and can signal that you aren’t really interested. If you have bad news, it is still better than the applicants receive the information from you directly, rather than them waiting around and making assumptions.

Not replying at all can only add more burden to your recruitment team. Every now and then, they will have to deal with phone calls or physical visits from candidates who will be following up on the update on their application.

Prolonging their agony can also mean prolonging your own. Often, it becomes costlier for you.

Avoiding the hassle of these additional troubles on your team can be done by making sure you evaluate your applicants promptly and message them as soon as you get the results of their application.

Not Allowing Candidates to Interview You Back

Traditionally, an interview is seen as an “I ask, you answer” kind of interaction. However, in recruitment, the truth is that an interview is a two-way conversation. 

Allow candidates to ask their own questions from you so that they can gauge for themselves whether or not your brokerage is “the one.” They might meet or even exceed all your expectations, but turn out to be not a good culture fit.

Some of the possible reasons why companies reject or do not encourage candidates to ask questions include the following:

  • Lack of rapport-building skills on the part of the interviewer
  • Insufficient knowledge of the company’s values
  • Loss of confidence 

As much as possible, you want to be transparent with your potential hires right off the bat. Smart applicants will know instantly if you are not confident about your company. If you make them feel there is something to be worried about, then you might push them away.

Don’t forget that answering their questions can give you an opportunity to make your company more appealing to them, which is particularly necessary if they are your target real estate agents.

Letting candidates ask their own questions also gives you a glimpse at how their minds really work. Are they more interested in the technology you’re using in the brokerage? Do they want to learn about their colleagues or are they more of a lone wolf? These details can help you decide if the ideal candidate on paper is actually as good as they seem.

Finally, if you don’t allow agents to interview you back, they might think that you’re rushing the process. Worse, they might think you have something to hide. This is definitely NOT the impression you want to make. Give candidates the opportunity to ask their questions—in fact, encourage them to do so—and be honest with your answers.

Refining Your Recruitment Process

Remember that when a single negative candidate experience goes out of hand, it can have a huge impact on your brand as an employer. Imagine getting this undesirable feedback on one of your job ads or social media announcements. Or worse, imagine going viral over how you treat the applicants.

After years of working on your employer brand, would you just let your efforts go in vain because of your inability to acknowledge the weaknesses of your recruitment process?

Needless to say, the answer to the question is a definite no. This is why as a company, it is important that you optimize your workflow and make sure that your processes are candidate-friendly. Positioning well in the talent marketplace is always the goal. If your employer brand is positioned favorably, hiring the top talent will be seamless. 

Instead of spending so much on job ads or sponsoring events, and other recruitment costs, you get free referrals from those who have had a great experience during the recruitment process. You will also be off to a great start with your successful hires with the kind of culture you have built.

Hopefully, this list can help you craft or refine your recruitment process in order to attract more highly qualified real estate professionals.

Good luck!


The inspiration behind CEO Hangout is to create a community of Chief Executives and business leaders who support and inspire one another to greater heights. As they say, it's lonely at the top. Let's change that.


For inquiries, contact


© 2024 CEO Hangout. All rights reserved.


Copyright 2010 - 2021 @ CEO Hangouts - All rights reserved.