Calling property applicants! How to spot a cowboy property company

At interview stage, there are some glaringly obvious giveaways to look out for

Whether you are actively looking for your next opportunity, or passively having speculative conversations, meeting with Directors and business owners can be pressure enough without having to also think about whether the company is genuine and is operating exactly how it advertises.

Of course, using a specialist property recruiter can help sift through the opportunities that may genuinely be worth exploring against those that will send you on the job hunt again in 3 months.  However, if you do decide to start your hunt alone, when getting to interview stage there are some tell-tale signs that the person and business you are being interviewed by, may not be entirely transparent about the opportunity ahead.

So, here are the Surge Recruitment House key points to lookout for when in an interview situation, to help determine whether the opportunity is enticing as it sounds:

  1. They are hazy on figures and the opportunity – it is very easy for jobs to be advertised at £40,000, £50,000 or £100,000 OTE in the first year, and quite frankly, anyone can pluck these figures out of the air. Drilling down on the department turnover, how many negotiators may be in the office, what the vacant seat did last year, and what your first year target will be, will give you a far clearer idea about how lucrative the opportunity really is. You can work back against the proposed commission structure and basic salary and come to a conclusion about the on target earnings yourself. Similarly, if a business owner seems hazy or reluctant to hand over facts and figures, how can you possibly work out whether it could be a potentially viable move?
  1. Warm welcome? – This is so important and an easy gage as to whether the company practices what it preaches. If they boast of ‘exceptional customer service’ and ‘happy, friendly staff’ and you walk in to your interview and the receptionist grunts at you with a mouth full of doughnut, chances are they may be guilty of being a little dishonest. First impressions count for everything.
  1. They don’t answer your questions with a straight answer – If you have to repeat a question more than once and still don’t receive a straight answer, your interviewer either isn’t listening properly or they are ‘blagging’ the conversation. Whilst having the ‘gift of the gab’ in sales is sometimes deemed a positive, if they can’t listen and answer a question straight, the working relationship is going to follow a similar line of course.
  1. You feel rushed – Good interviewers make a potential employee feel relatively relaxed and at ease. The minute you are being rushed or pressed into answers, you can get a pretty good idea of the service they are use to delivering to clients. If they speak in a condescending or self-righteous style, the best advice would be to run a mile.
  1. Not belonging to a recognised professional body – All firms can claim to be the ‘most respected sales and lettings agents in Birmingham’ or ‘the Midlands premier estate agency’ but what lengths have they gone to prove that? Check they are recognised by a professional body, with good examples in the property world being:
    1. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
    2. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
    3. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
    4. The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS)
    5. Or are a firm of solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  1. Pushing for a decision – Once you’ve got to offer stage, of course making a decision in a respectable amount of time is important to keep momentum and ensure total interest, however if you find yourself at a first or second interview being pressed to make a decision to join a company there and then, our advice would be to decline the offer. These big career decisions have to be 100% right for both the applicant and the client, and being pressured into rushing that decision does not help either party in the longer term.
  1. Always trust your gut – It’s a cliché we know, but listening to your gut is the most invaluable instinct we all possess. The minute your stomach starts turning, or you’re taking too long in deliberating whether the move is right or not, it’s probably best to take stock and not make any rash decisions.

Surge Recruitment House meet every client and applicant we represent, which is why applicants can feel safe in the knowledge that any property company our consultants put you in touch with, have been properly researched to avoid any of the issues found in the above article.

At a time when the job hunt can be daunting Surge Recruitment House can help separate the cowboys from the genuine operators, so making the wrong career move just isn’t an option.

Call us today for the latest Midlands property recruitment information on +44 (0) 121 647 3730 or email to find out more.