Is the right person in the right job?

REAL ESTATE principals often hire staff only to find out later that they have the wrong person in the wrong job. Pancho Mehrotra explains how personality testing can help you overcome such issues before they damage your business.

Why is it so difficult to find and hire people who are coachable?

One of my clients in the recruitment industry mentioned an interesting statistic: close to 70 per cent of new hires start looking for a new job within the first 90 days of being employed.

Why is that?

Over decades of training salespeople and property managers, I have found that the principals all seem to struggle with talent identification, development, and retaining of key staff, which poses a significant business risk and more importantly, prevents the growth of the business.

Addressing these issues can dramatically improve the business performance and profitability while meeting the principal’s end goal, which is to have a business that works without their hands on the steering wheel while delivering profits.

So, why do business owners struggle to hire the right people?

I have seen many agencies using psychometric tests to evaluate candidates.

Unfortunately, these tools don’t consider another area that will influence the success or failure of their candidate.

The social intelligence within that particular business.

That environment includes the leadership and the employees.

The environment plays an important role in shaping an individual’s behaviour and performance.

Simply, what you see is not what you get sometimes.

So how do you identify the right people?

I believe you need to test two areas that a principal should consider in a salesperson, emotional intelligence and a personality profile test.

This provides the perfect measure of the person’s personality and their emotional fit in the business.

We have conducted more than 2000 tests and found that there are specific emotional and personality traits which work in tandem to identify superstar performers.

We measure the emotional and personality factors in our test by having the candidate answer 40 questions in those five key areas.

It soon becomes apparent what traits are identified and which ones you would want in a new hire.

The emotional components are:

  • Empathy
  • Resilience
  • Restraint
  • Rapport

The following personal traits are key to identify in a salesperson:

  • Not pushy, or bossy, but assertive.
  • Conversational, but not overly talkative.
  • Energetic, but not reckless
  • Resilient to rejection, but sensitive to the concerns of people.
  • Understanding, but not absorbing.

The need for socially intelligent salespeople requires them to understand the importance of developing awareness.

If this trait is within the individual or can be developed, we have someone who can adapt to the changing environment and, importantly, develop the ability to deal with all types of clients.

Never has there been a greater need for salespeople, property managers, principals or, in fact, anyone, to develop this flexibility of behaviour than in current times.

It has become a survival necessity, for both the salesperson and the business.


As people, we tend to rate our strengths higher and our weaknesses lower than they actually are, so we need to be able to see reality.

Therefore, we introduced 180-degree feedback into the test.

The senior managers or principals do the test, as an observer of the individual after a period of two months, usually during the probationary period.

Often, the two reviews quickly identify contradictions between the parties.

The principal can observe the five key behaviours in action and rate each attribute mathematically and objectively.

From a performance point of view, it has been invaluable in our specialised oneon-one mentoring development program with agents.

The ease of identifying an issue and resolving it, means the salesperson can do what they do best – sell.

It becomes much easier to identify the emotional trigger moments.

We know that it is important to review the emotional factors of the individual, however, it is just as important to review their personality style, which is especially important when two personalities interact.

Most personality tests tend to focus on understanding the individual, but in interactions with other people, it is important to adjust one’s personality with each interaction.

Many interactions with clients can vary, from amiable to tension-filled in negotiations.

Most conflicts are based on clashing personality factors.

Therefore, we measure personality traits such as:

  • Sensitivity orientation
  • Achievement orientation
  • Logical orientation
  • Energetic orientation

By reviewing the emotional and personality component of a person we understand how that person will manage stress, and how to get the best out of them.

The personality test allows us to understand how that person will react daily, and what their comfort zones are.

For example, are they the type of salesperson that thrives on pressure or needs guidance?

This impacts on the stress levels of the salesperson but also the manager and principal.


We developed a test to review the ‘coachability’ of the candidates.

It is the one trait that sports teams search for.

There are an abundance of great athletes, but finding ones that want to learn is the jewel all coaches want.

How many times have we heard, “I’ve done it this way for years, it works, why do we need to do it differently?”

That argument is losing relevance increasingly quickly in today’s environment.

We test:

  • Competitive drive
  • Teachability
  • Sharp wit
  • Achieve-mentality

The feedback was qualitative and insightful.

An interesting note, a low score often resulted in high stress for all involved.

Unfortunately, a low score can mean that person is going to require more time spent on dealing with their emotional issues, which takes away from the time the principal can be working on the business.

Selling requires both psychological and emotional awareness, attributes that some are born with and some need help in developing.

A blindside that can put a spanner in the works, is when the principal or manager needs to be tested as well.

Sometimes, they are not suitable for being a coach.

Not all principals want to be mentors, and not all salespeople need mentoring.

Identifying these needs is crucial for the development and growth of a business.

It was Daniel Goleman’s landmark book, Emotional Intelligence, that identified that close to 85 per cent of successful leaders displayed exceptional EQ.

The evidence of social intelligence in a business can be easily calculated by the growth rate over a 10-year period.

For example, examining the growth and decline of employees within an agency is a simple metric that shows if the business is retaining, growing and attracting good talent.

The way to foster such an environment is to make sure both principals and salespeople go through this type of testing.

Otherwise, there is an emotional disconnect and an over-reliance on gut decisions. 

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Pancho Mehrotra

Pancho Mehrota is the CEO of Frontier Performance and a recognised leading expert in the area of communication, influence and the psychology of selling.