Ranking number one against companies boasting three times the number of offices is no mean feat, and certainly showcases the Peard Group’s strength. Dea Lalovic sits down with the women behind one of the most important jobs in the company - recruiting the right people to drive the Peard Real Estate Group's brand.
Melissa Farrell is the Director of Peard Group’s Business Resource department and is responsible for the challenging task of finding the right people, for the right job, and it’s safe to say she’s got it down pat.
Deal Lalovic: Peard Real Estate has a dedicated Human Resources and Recruitment department, what’s the difference between the two?
Melissa Farrell: Not many real estate companies have both, and that’s really our point of difference. The HR team focuses on recruitment and the performance management of admin, property management and conveyancing staff as well as coordinating leave cover for the Group.
My department on the other hand focuses solely on the recruitment of potential new and experienced sales associates, shareholders, sales managers and licensee’s. We’re heavily involved in the planning of new offices and basically any other opportunities that may assist with revenue building for the brand. I work closely with Peter Peard, the Group’s CEO and Elli Doran, our Business Resources Assistant who like me, live and breathe real estate and collectively we share over 60 years of industry experience.
DL: You have been in real estate for 21 years, and much of that career has been with Peard Real Estate, how did it all begin?
MF: I applied for a receptionist position with First National in Woodvale working under Bill Keenan. Bill quickly became my mentor and helped me build the core foundation and work ethic that I needed to be successful. I fell in love with all aspects of the real estate business, it wasn’t long before it was in my blood and I was hooked! I worked my way through all of the different positions in a real estate office which I guess has given me the firsthand knowledge to help in my current position. I joined Peard Real Estate in 2002 and you could say I’ve never looked back.
DL: What is you main role as the Director of Business Resources?
MF: In a nutshell, it’s my job to find the right people to grow our business. I think the success of any large company is a well-oiled ship that has the right people steering it and without a doubt, our people are the reason for our success.
My department is committed to hiring like-minded people who are continually striving for excellence. I always emphasize that we don’t just have a ‘bums on seat’ attitude - we take the time to get the recruitment process right. Over the years I’ve learnt that it is all about getting the culture perfect within all of the departments. Naturally, the happiness of our staff is crucial to our success so we ensure that we not only recruit for the position, but for the office as well.
DL: What is your recruitment approach?
MF: My recruitment approach is really relaxed. I’m easy going and have a genuine passion and drive for what I do. I’m really committed to finding the right people and helping those people get to where they want to be, whether they are new to the industry or established and looking to further their career.
For me, it’s about getting to know the person and finding out what they want from their real estate career and helping them get there.
DL: So how do you select the “right” person for the job?
MF: It varies really… Real estate is a unique sales industry were people from all walks of life can enter and do really well, so there is no particular mould to fit.
For new sales associates, first and foremost I look for hard workers who are driven by customer service, not money… that’s crucial for me. Then, it’s about characteristics such as approachability and likability because after all, people need to feel comfortable with someone who is selling their home.
Lastly, I look at their sales experience and whether they have owned their own business in the past. Real estate is much like owning your own business, so that internal drive to make it work and strive for excellence is really important. We can support you with training and tools but you need your own drive, no one else can give you that.
DL: Do you know if a person is going to fit the Peard culture as soon as you meet them?
MF: Almost always! I’m a pretty big believer of first impressions. Fitting in with our Peard culture has to be top of my list when speaking with someone. Sure you might be a fantastic sales person but if I don’t feel that your personality and work ethics are going to fit well within one of our existing teams, I’ll have to make that tough call. It’s very important to match personality types within an office, that’s really what gives our company the great retention rate it has.
DL: What role does the innovative Peard Career Centre play in the recruitment process?
MF: It plays a massive part! I think what I love most about the Peard Group is that they genuinely believe in the development and training of all staff, which is really important to me. We identified the need to offer more training to newcomers and so that’s exactly what we did with the training school.
Having no previous real estate experience is no longer an issue thanks to the Careers Centre. We see an extremely high calibre of sales associates graduating from the course which is a tribute to our Training Manager, Sylvia. If you have the ethics and willingness to learn, Sylvia will give you the tools and knowledge to be successful in the industry.
DL: What does Peard Real Estate offer property professionals that other agencies do not?
MF: I’m going to have to pump up our tires here… We really do offer the full package - unbeatable support, ongoing training, a fun working culture, innovative marketing and the opportunity to grow within one of WA’s best real estate companies. We were ranked the ‘Top Group’ in May and are consistently named REIWA’s number one office, these numbers don’t lie; we must be doing something right!
Our administrative support is second to none and with a centralised head office, everything is streamlined and taken care of at a head office level. Our marketing department is regularly being recognised as an industry leader, offering unmatched marketing with cutting-edge initiatives. I’m pretty confident that what we offer is unique.
DL: What would you say to someone considering the industry?
MF: If you have a genuine interest in real estate - take the plunge! It can be an amazing career and lifestyle with plenty of reward. Think of it as your small business within a larger business but without the financial burden of overheads like buying, stock, rent etc… Pair up with the right company that offers you training and support and you are bound to do well. My doors always open, if you have the passion and drive, I want to hear from you!
Think you’ve got what it takes? Call Melissa today on 0404 084 244 and find out why Peard Real Estate our Sales Associates are enjoying industry success sooner.