Viewing by month: July 2013

How to recruit great staff for your office – part two

Last week, we discussed why it is fundamentally important for business owners to hire the right staff, namely because strong employees underpin the productivity and performance of any well-functioning organisation. 

This week, we will cover one of the most integral aspects of staff recruitment – that is, the candidate interview process. While some owners may think that all this entails is asking a few quick and simple questions, the reality is that conducting an effective interview requires a considerable degree of forethought and strategy. If you know when and how to ask the right questions, you stand a better chance of hiring the right fit. 

Here are a few key things to consider about the way you pose interview questions to candidates:

Mix your questions up

Interviews often comprise a mix of prepared questions and follow-up questions based on the respondent’s answers. Of these two types, follow-up questions are often the most important as they function to show the respondent that the interviewer is engaged. And if a candidate can recognise that the interviewer is interested in what they’re saying, they’ll be more likely to give considered and detailed answers, which bodes well for both them and their potential employer.

Know how to elicit desired responses

Interview questions can be broadly broken down into four categories – fact based, stress, situational and behavioural questions. 

Fact based questions can be used to elicit in-depth information about a candidate’s resume by fleshing out specific details regarding the candidate’s work experience. 

Stress questions are designed to place strain on a candidate in order to gauge how they react to stressful situations. Examples include questions like ““why would we hire you over someone else?” and “what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in the workplace?” While these types of questions can enable an interviewer to better understand how a candidate deals with stress, they may also damage rapport between the interviewer and interviewee – if asked at the wrong time or in the wrong way. As such, it is important to ask stress questions with a considered and relatively cautious approach. 

Situational questions ask the candidate how they would behave in hypothetical situations. These types of questions can be useful – however, they also often have an obvious “correct” answer which, at times, can make distinguishing a genuine response difficult. 

Finally, behavioural questions are based on the idea that past performance can predict future action. These types of questions usually ask the candidate to describe a particular situation in which they exhibited a skill or quality that is of particular interest to the interviewer. As these questions are based on past performance, answers can be verified to ensure that interviewees don’t posture and/or inflate their past achievements.

Knowing how, what and when to ask certain questions during candidate interviews can make a significant difference to the answers you elicit and, in turn, the people you hire. 

Check back next week for part three in this recruitment series, when will be discussing how to best extend a job offer to a prospective employee. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 29/07/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

How to recruit great staff for your office

For most real estate principals, recruitment is an integral aspect of their business’s success. After all, it can be difficult for a business to maximise its potential without the right team behind it. While recruitment can be a time-consuming and sometimes difficult task, a clear and smart recruitment strategy can go a long way to making the process easier. To help principals develop a strategy that works for their business, we will be running a four-part series about how to execute effective recruitment initiatives. 

An effective recruitment campaign can be broken down into three main phases: generating applicants; the interview process; and offering the position to the successful candidate. To start, we will focus on how to generate a strong applicant pool. Here are three key considerations that should underpin this stage of the process:

1. Review the position description: an up-to-date job description will be vital to attracting suitable candidates regardless of whether you manage the recruitment process in-house or externally.  To help formulate an accurate and up-to-date job description, you may want to consider meeting with the outgoing employee to discuss what their job entails on a day-to-day level. This method may not always be appropriate, however, depending on the circumstances behind the employee’s departure. In cases where it’s inappropriate to discuss the job description with the departing employee, the employee’s manager, colleagues or contract may provide alternative sources of insight into the position;

2. Consider your advertising: various forms of advertising can yield different results. Experimentation when advertising job vacancies can pay off depending on the position in question. Some real estate offices have found that mobilising employees’ Facebook networks has helped with recruitment. More traditional advertisements, online and in local newspapers, are also proven recruitment tools;

3. Consider social media: research from Jobsite, a recruitment firm in the UK, has shown that 94 per cent of professional recruiters use some form of social media when recruiting. Taking the time to look at candidates online profiles may help you to identify people who are the right fit for your team – or prevent you from hiring the wrong fit. 

Check back next week when we will be discussing how to formulate appropriate and effective recruitment interview questions. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 19/07/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Tips for successful sports sponsorships


Sponsorship can be a great way to get a brand or organisation out into the public eye.  CENTURY 21 Australasia’s Chairman and Owner, Charles Tarbey, recently appeared in an article by ‘Sold’ magazine about how sports sponsorship initiatives can help to build brand equity for real estate groups. In particular, Charles discussed CENTURY 21’s sponsorship of the 2013 ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open, and gave some helpful pointers as to how real estate offices can implement successful sports sponsorship at a local level.


In this article, Charles notes that CENTURY 21 is “incredibly selective with the opportunities that [it] take[s], and look[s] to achieve the right balance between cost and brand exposure.”


Admittedly, achieving the optimal balance between cost and brand exposure is not always easy. However, as a starting point, we’ve decided to share three key tips for creating valuable sports sponsorship initiatives:


1. Sponsorship as a partnership: businesses often receive greater value when they look at sponsorship as a partnership rather than a donation. At the end of the day, any sponsorship initiative should aim to deliver benefits to all parties involved; so focus on the value-add that you can offer as a sponsor, as well as the potential benefits that you may receive from the relationship;


2. Do your research: Identifying what events draw the biggest crowds and which teams have the largest followings are integral parts of the pre-sponsorship process. It is also important to make sure that prospective sponsorship initiatives are aligned with your organisation’s brand values and market demographics;


3. Ask an expert: It is always wise to have a sponsorship contract reviewed by a qualified lawyer before signing the dotted line. Sponsorship contracts can be very complex, particularly if you’ve never viewed one before. In light of this, it is important to cover all of your bases before committing yourself; you may think that you understand all of the terms and conditions of the contract, but until have a professional look over it, you can never be completely sure.


Regardless of the size, sport and method of your contribution, investment into local sports sponsorship can potentially pay large dividends for your agency. To read more of Charles’ comments regarding sports sponsorship, click here to read the full article from ‘Sold’ magazine:

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 15/07/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Protecting your organisation’s data

Most real estate agencies deal with a wealth of personal data on clients, tenants and staff – something that can make them a target for computer hackers, often referred to as “intruders”. As such, it is important for all principals to have strategies in place to protect important and confidential information. To this end, here are three key tips for protecting company data: 

1. Create secure passwords: according to SplashData, a company that produces productivity applications for smartphones, the most common password used online in 2012 was – ‘password’. Many people don’t bother to change default passwords when new accounts are created, despite the fact that most systems offer the option to change passwords. Ensuring that your staff change their default passwords could help prevent or delay an intruder from gaining access to company data later down the track; 

2. Allocate responsibility for data security: most organisations fail to place the responsibility for data security with an individual who can adequately protect it. Often these responsibilities are spread between several individuals, which can sometimes lead to a lack of ownership over relevant tasks. In light of this, you may want to consider assigning data protection with one or two individuals within your office; not only will this create clear points of contact for staff, but it will also likely increase the accountability and clarity surrounding data protection responsibilities. 

3. Update systems consistently: how often have you clicked the “update later” option on a computer or application? Research from Verizon, a leading worldwide telecommunications provider, showed that in 2012 the average length of time an intrusion lasted was not days, but months. The study found that intruders most commonly gained access through un-patched software that had not been regularly updated. One relatively easy way to ensure that system updates occur regularly is to set your programs to be automatically updated.

Management of data security should be entrusted in an individual who has the time, resources and capacity to effectively manage the responsibility. If you are concerned that your company’s data may have already been breached, it would be wise to contact a qualified IT professional. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 03/07/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Cutting through with your communications

Does the constant barrage of communication received throughout the workday overwhelm you? Chances are that many of your clients experience similar communication overloads. Cutting through information “clutter” can be a challenging task; with clients receiving so much content daily, it can be difficult for businesses to project messages that actually get noticed. 

Here are three key tips for cutting through the “clutter” with your client communications:

1) Cleanse your mailing lists: are you sending out newsletters and emails to old client lists? These may be hindering your business prospects more than enhancing them, or being sent directly to spam bins. Trim down your mailing lists to current clients who will likely directly benefit from your newsletters/emails;

2) Consider handwritten notes: do you remember the last time you received a handwritten note? As more communication moves to digital channels, the rarity and value of handwritten notes arguably increases. Though they may seem somewhat nostalgic, there is still room for handwritten notes in business communications. They generally cost more and require extra effort and, as such, are often more appreciated by receivers than other forms of mass communication. 

3) Be mindful of cultural barriers: In a globalised market, communicating with cultural awareness can be a key differentiator between you and your competitors. The simplest part of an interaction can make or break a sale. When first communicating with a prospective client from another culture, take a few minutes to read an online article about the particulars of their culture. This will not only likely give you a competitive edge, but it may also save you from an embarrassing misstep later down the track.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 01/07/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories: