What traits and abilities make for a top-producing agent? What can brokers look for in a new recruit that could provide a window into their future performance?

Predictive analytics recruitment company WizeHire is launching a research study to find out.

“The success rate [of new agents] seems to be fairly abysmal,” said Jay Niblick, co-founder and president of WizeHire. “It’s really surprisingly hard to find exact stats … but everyone we’ve talked to quotes an 80 to 90 percent failure rate. The question is why.”

The firm has designed a survey that will glean a few key details from agents — whether or not they are licensed, whether they specialize in buyers or sellers, how many transactions they completed last year, what share of their leads are provided by their brokerage — and then direct them to three short personality profiles the company has designed to tease out agents’ core characteristics.

The company hopes to gather insight into characteristics such as extroversion, handling rejection and attention to detail, and find correlations common to successful agents.

Click here to take the survey.

“Our belief is in that data we’ll find those correlations. Maybe there’s three things, maybe there’s 23 things. We don’t know. [We want to be able to say] ‘Here are the things you should be looking for in the new agents that you’re hiring,'” Niblick said.

The company will use the results to improve its personality profiles (also known as “personality tests” or “behavioral assessments”), which are used by some Keller Williams franchisees, among other brokerage firms.

But Niblick said he anticipates most of the insights garnered will be useful to brokers during the interview process without the need for such tests.

If the study finds that attention to detail is very important, “I may not be as forgiving of the three typos in [an agent’s] resume,” Niblick said. But, on the other hand, if the study finds the reverse, “maybe I don’t have the best agents because I’ve been disqualifying them based on something that has nothing to do [with doing the job],” he said.

Currently, brokers rely quite a bit on anecdotal evidence in their hiring, Niblick said, despite the fact that agents deal with homes worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

“But when it comes to such an important decision as the people in whom you are investing significant time, money and your entire reputation … ‘feeling’ your way through a decision just doesn’t cut it,” he wrote in an Inman guest piece.

“If you asked 100 people what makes a really great agent, you’d get 101 answers. No one has an idea of what really makes the best tick,” he told Inman.

A separate study has already found a wide variation in agent productivity. At least one multiple listing service, MRIS, has begun offering brokers a tool that details agent and office performance in order to give them an edge in recruiting.

All agents are invited to participate in WizeHire’s survey. Inman will exclusively report the findings when ready, sometime in the next several weeks.

Click here to take the survey.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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