Recruiting Do’s and Don’ts


Recently, I received a call from a member asking what brokers or their assistants are allowed to do (or not do) when recruiting agents. Specifically, they wanted to know about any Standards of Practice from NAR’s Code of Ethics, or any state license laws that pertain to agent recruitment.

dreamstime_xl_59870732Great question and I love when our members take the time to make sure they’re doing things the right way.

I reached out to IREC, NAR, and IR to get their input. In short, there are no specific regulations or rules regarding agent recruitment practices.


Jeanne Jackson-Heim, Executive Director of the Idaho Real Estate Commission (IREC) confirmed that Idaho’s license laws do not address agent recruitment, but, she said, if you feel a piece of the recruitment process or messaging being used is questionable, call IREC and discuss it with an investigator. They are a great resource in these situations, and would rather have agents get the right information than go after people for bad behavior. You can reach IREC at 208-334-3285 or visit their staff directory.

Kate Lawton, Manager, Professional Standards and Administration at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) sent the following: “Prior to 1982, the Code of Ethics required REALTORS® to advise other REALTORS® that they intended to solicit sales associates in the second REALTOR®’s firm. The applicable interpretive Standard of Practice (24-1) made it clear that the Code did not prohibit soliciting sales associates in other firms—it only required advance notice to the current employing broker. This obligation was widely misread, misunderstood, and misapplied as being a blanket prohibition on soliciting sales associates when that was never, in fact, the case. After years of trying to explain, clarify, and focus on what conduct was permissible and what was not, the NAR Delegate Body concluded that the appropriate course was to abolish then Article 24. There are no other provisions in the Code that speak specifically to agent recruitment.”

La Dawn Anderst, Chief Executive Officer of Idaho REALTORS® recommended two resources from NAR to help brokers with recruitment and retention: REALTOR® Magazine’s Recruitment Tool Kit and’s Field Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Salespeople.

While we may not have state laws or national standards of practice, that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t operate with some common sense, good manners and professionalism. The following points are not official BRR positions, but rather, my two cents based on my experience as a former agent who was recruited a time or two…

Don’t disparage other brokers or business models (really, don’t ever do this). When I was a REALTOR®, there was nothing that turned me off more than when recruiters took a negative approach… telling me that my current company was terrible, or gossiping about my broker, concluding that I should leave them to join “their” company instead. Yuck. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather work with people who are fun and optimistic, not mean and disrespectful. As a recruiter, there is nothing wrong with sharing why you feel your model is the best, and how agents succeed by working with you. Just keep things positive and professional.

Be careful how you discuss commissions. If a recruiter said this to me: “We know your commission split is this… and we can offer you this…” my reaction was always: “You don’t know me!” (I said this to myself, but you get the idea.) While you might know the general commission structures offered by various brokers, each agent may have different agreements with their broker. While this isn’t quite an anti-trust issue, whenever you compare or discuss commissions between different brokers, I get nervous. Sharing your commission plan is definitely part of the recruitment process, but agents can do the math between what they currently have and what you offer to determine what’s best for them.

Have more questions about agent recruitment or other business practices? Let me know! Part of the value in your Boise Regional REALTORS® membership is that we can find resources and provide insights to help you navigate all areas of your business. Call me at 208-376-0363 or email me at anytime.