Stand for integrity, even if it pays less!
Sometimes ‘No, I can’t help you’ is the best answer only you can give.
Today, I turned away a realtor who had asked us to help him hire a licensed assistant for his team. I can’t tell you how great I feel to walk away from an opportunity to make money. No, I’m not being sarcastic! There are many types of clients that deserve to be shown the back door, but I like to work with everyone until they give me a real reason to end the relationship. If I do, I am acting out of principle and when you do that, you know you’re doing the right thing.
The relationship started out smoothly
Someone had referred this realtor to use our services and we treasure all our inquiries and referrals. We examined what he was looking for in the job description and felt that YES, this was definitely doable.
We signed him on and began our hunt. Doable job description or not, he had some high standards and big demands and we knew that the position was going to be unique and would require more time and attention to fill. This realtor wasn’t particularly known for having a revolving door to his office, so we were all for doing our best for him. The issue for us wasn’t finding candidates.
The relationship started to get rocky
The issue was how every candidate submitted was coming out feeling berated and demeaned. They were reporting back that the realtor exuded arrogance, self-righteousness and had a tremendously condescending attitude towards others who were lesser than him.
I get it: it takes a special kind of person to do well in real estate. And I understand, he went from rags to riches by working hard 16 hours days. Trust me, I know. I work with the top realtors in the city. I’ve seen first-hand how hard work, commitment and tenacity pay off. But I’ve also seen how successful realtors and business owners handle their success and how grateful they are to find the right employees who want to serve them and support them.
The position of an employee should not be one of oppression, though it is a position of subordination. The realtor pays the employee in exchange for work that supports the business. That is the give and take of the employee – employer relationship but it should never demean the subordinate. Where you are after 10 years in the business should not belittle where someone is at the beginning of her career.
After every call and interaction I had with this realtor and after hearing statements like: “for that kind of money, she better be my b!tch” or “I can’t have her represent me in front of clients with the kind of car that she drives” or “I have a lot to offer her but she is of no value to me”, I knew that I couldn’t possibly live with myself knowing full well the attitude this realtor would have with his assistant. I had candidates walk out of the interviews feeling horrible about themselves and where they are in life. No one should be made to feel that way.
It was time to say goodbye
The expectations the realtor had for the kind of person he was looking for was beyond what was in the job description. He was looking at everything from the candidate’s weight, style of clothing, car, knowledge, experience, willingness to work 24/7, and be hungry for success when she is supposed to be an administrative personality! It was enough for me to say: best of luck but we can’t help you.
Ultimately, it wasn’t about our inability to help or find the right fit. It was about refusing to subject more people and even worse, a full time hire, to someone whose arrogance and self-righteousness was not befitting in a leadership position. Did we do the right thing? I think so. And I sleep better knowing I did.