Are Inexperienced Recruits Better Hires?

REALTOR® Magazine

Opening sessions touched on hiring new agents at Inman Connect on Tuesday.

Brokers and team leaders are putting their focus on recruiting new agents at the Inman Connect conference in New York, and the theme emerging on opening day is that they’re ready to infuse the industry with some younger blood. Making the business attractive and relevant to younger people is a familiar problem, but brokers came to morning sessions on Tuesday ready to share why the inexperienced have often made better hires for them.

“I love hiring someone right out of college,” said Mark Spain, CEO of Mark Spain Real Estate — a company with 85 agents — in Atlanta. “It’s nice to have someone who hasn’t been in the business and who learns it the right way. I’m really looking for talent — the Lebron James-type people. And talent is about much more than knowing the job.”

Gwen Daubenmeyer, CEO and associate broker of The Integrity Team at RE/MAX Defined in Rochester, Mich., said she has focused on recruiting inexperienced agents for her 13-agent team and immediately sent them to cutting-edge education and training courses. “We run a 90 percent referral business,” she said, “so I’m after longevity. Young people with talent are looking for something to belong to — not just a job.”

None of this is to say that experienced agents don’t play a vital role, particularly when it comes to helping the next generation of real estate practitioners develop into their own. When speaking about how to form rock-solid real estate teams, team leaders spoke of the need to have a core group of experienced agents in the office to hold newer agents accountable for their progress and education. But let’s be honest: With 57 being the median age of all REALTORS®, it’s incumbent on leaders in the business to build a pipeline of fresh professionals.

Brokers could get in that mind frame by beginning to recognize the value of younger agents to their individual business. “I like new agents because they haven’t developed bad habits,” said Linda O’Koniewski, CEO of RE/MAX Leading Edge in Melrose, Mass. “I’ve created a litmus test to test them before I hire them. Make sure they drive by 100 properties and get a feel for the day-to-day business. Those who can’t hack it won’t go further than that point. But if they’re still hungry, we hire them.”

Graham Wood

Graham Wood is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at

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  1. Great article Graham. Any way you can correct our company information? Should be Mark Spain Real Estate, no longer affiliated with Keller Williams Realty as of earlier this month. Many thanks.

    Joe Garcia
    Director of Marketing / Public Relations

  2. Graham Wood

    Thanks for the catch, Joe! I’ve updated the article to reflect the change.