Hire for Attitude Not Skills is a Global Rule!

Picture of Stephen Atcheler
Stephen Atcheler


Now that you’re in the driver’s seat and running a business, you will be faced with employing your first person or your 50th, depending on what stage you are at. There is a rule that I would like to point out that is a global rule. This is “hire for attitude” and the skill component can be trained. Why I want to bring this up is because we look after many clients that hire with us in the Philippines, who forget this golden rule.

We will get back to hiring in the Philippines first and some key fundamental tips. It will help you later in this article. Firstly, though, I would like to discuss my experience as a young business owner, what my experience has been in the hiring space, and why I stand by this rule. When hiring, most companies prioritize immediate need over a well-planned approach. This will identify the talent they want in the future as they grow.

This hiring, out of need, will be the downfall to forgetting this rule and trying to plug a hole with a worker that is already 100% skilled in the area you want. Looking for, essentially, the unicorn. These unicorns do exist. However, their own issues come with them and they usually don’t stay very long. They often don’t live up to the expectations set by their glossy resume and big smile.


When hiring for skill, there are a few disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages, but not the biggest, is the cost. When looking for someone already skilled up, you will pay a lot more for this particular person than what is probably the actual market rate. This is one problem. However, one that is even worse, is these types of people walk around like they own the place. They usually upset the culture you have in your team. However, you are the one that is bent over the barrel, as they have the talent you need, and you don’t have the time to train. Is this all sounding a bit familiar?

I can remember it so clearly—all the challenges in this space and the pain that we went through trying to grow a business on this type of person. It was when I got to the point where I said “What do we stand for and where do we want to be?”. This is when I documented the entire process in sales and property management. This, once written, was a really good foundation to build on in every area, and the clearer it got, the clearer it was that no experienced person will follow what is in this process, as they think they know better. I thought to myself, “Who is running this show and whose name is on the door?”.

From this moment, we got rid of almost everyone one by one and replaced them with lower-cost staff. For instance, there are real estate virtual assistants who are eager to learn and grateful to have the opportunity, both locally and virtually. This was not easy, however. We had a whole team of people who knew no other way than what was in the document. It took a lot of time to get the training completed, however, it was well worth it. Whenever you take a shortcut, I have found it rarely ends up a long-term solution.

In the Sales Team, it was awesome, as we had a fixed presentation and an actual product that was delivered. I knew that out in the field, my salespeople were delivering a presentation that, for me, had an 8/10 appointment to listing ratio. It did not matter what salesperson in my team went to a listing appointment, what they said was the same. Obviously, with their own personality, which was encouraged, however, the message was the same. The time spent was paying off.

In the property management department, we stopped following everyone else and did it our way. Prior to establishing a property management division, other companies managed a couple of investment properties I had. Therefore, I had felt it from the consumers’ end. We ironed out all the flaws and starting teaching property investment, to understand it and think like an investor so that our team could communicate on the same level. This started to get traction and spread quickly.


The point that I am getting to, is that 100% of the time, you should hire for attitude and long term stayers, that if you impart your knowledge onto, they will be grateful and loyal to you. The other point is that this is not just local, this is global. I have now been in the Philippines for 4 years, selling staff here to support Real Estate Businesses. I could say now, confidently, that every time a client has gone for perceived skill on a resume, it has blown up in their face.

Let’s face it, the back office side of Real Estate in sales and property management is easily teachable. We are not trying to land an aircraft on the moon. We sell and manage people’s investment properties. I am suggesting that you take the same approach. We have recently got fed up with the turnover of the staff that clients hire for skill and have started training greenies.—meaning no real estate knowledge on Real Estate and mindset. I must say it has also been bloody tough. However, the fruits of the efforts are very satisfying.


Recently, one of our clients hired one of our greenies who had gone through all of our training, and she started the team member. The ease with which the new team member took on the task surprised her. The new team member took to it like a duck to water. This is because we started hiring people with the right attitude and teaching Real Estate to them. It is a game-changer and we still have much more to come. However, as we already mentioned, you cannot take shortcuts, so don’t expect it quickly.

Client feedback on our Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Kimmy

If you are at the point where you may want to bring on a VA, please take this approach. You will find much more success with it and long jeopardy. You should teach all of the tasks completed in Real Estate only to the right person. This person should fit your culture and has the right attitude and is eager to learn.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this article. If you did enjoy it and got some value, please don’t be shy and share it!

About the Author

Meet Stephen Atcheler, the Managing Director of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant Company. Stephen has been working in the industry since 2013 and has a wealth of experience in making outsourcing work for real estate businesses. He fell in love with real estate at a young age and has been working in the field since 2005. Stephen's passion for real estate and helping other business owners thrive led him to start his own real estate business in 2012, and eventually, to establish a real estate virtual assistant company to take it to the next level. Stephen's wealth of experience and knowledge in real estate and outsourcing make him the perfect person to guide you in setting up your own virtual assistant team. Feel free to reach out to him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

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