By Ringo Nishioka, VP of Human Resources & Operations
You met a great agent you would like to recruit or a potential home seller that you really like. For both of you, business and personal values align. You have a few great phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Suddenly, your colleague disappears and falls off the map. They don’t return your calls and may even miss a scheduled meeting with no heads up. Silence. Just a big echo chamber which leaves you wondering what you did wrong. We have all been there.
What happened? You were ghosted.
It’s happening in dating relationships, companies looking to hire new employees, and yes, in real estate, with both potential recruits and potential home sellers. Unanswered texts and phone calls that are not returned. It hurts. You have invested time, money and emotional energy into the relationship only to find it come to a very hard and dead end.
What is ghosting?
Ghosting refers to when someone in a relationship disappears without any warning sign. The term is a common one in our online world with the advent of dating apps, but we are hearing about it more and more in the professional world as well. We understand it might happen in potentially shorter term personal relationships, but in long term professional relationships?
“Dude, that candidate ghosted you? I can’t believe that. I thought for sure she would accept your offer.”
What are the signs you might be ghosted?
This isn’t our first rodeo here at MoxiWorks. We still get ghosted by candidates we are looking to recruit, but we know some of the signs to look out for. We are not surprised we are dropped like a hot potato when:
- There is a lack of engagement between MoxiWorks (the hiring company) and the candidate.
- When emails exchanges contain slow responses. When we email, we look for timely responses and hope to see a response by the end of the day.
- We look for courteous follow ups and thank you. If we took the time to interview someone or show them around our office, we take a follow up thank you as a sign our candidate is engaged.
Why does it happen?
We have a number of theories, but these are just theories and ours alone.
Bad Communication/Unreal Expectations
We believe that ghosting happens when the communication and expectations between two parties doesn’t match up. Most of us would take the time and effort to talk these differences through, but in an age of immediate gratification, for some it is easier to just walk away.
Your Compass is our Amazon.
We are competing for tech talent in a town where there is a shortage of talent. Every brokerage out there is living in fear of Compass. They have deep pockets, endless perks, and are the shiny object right now in the real estate industry. What’s our version? Amazon. We know what it’s like competing against a giant with endless amounts of cash. When candidates feel like they have opportunity, they can act very differently. There are more tech jobs than tech candidates in Seattle. Consequently, the candidate doesn’t feel the urgency to respond as quickly or respond at all.
How to avoid being ghosted:
- We explain what our interview process will look like in the very first interaction with a potential candidate. We explain how many interviews there might be, who the candidate will meet with and why we take it so seriously. I literally say the following: “Our process may be a little longer than others, but we want to learn what we can about you as the candidate and we want you the candidate to learn as much as you can about MoxiWorks. Ultimately, we are looking for a great fit for both parties because we want you to be as happy as we are with you.”
- Keep the dialogue moving. Nothing creates engagement better than engagement. If your candidate or potential seller has to wait days for a response, they will assume you are not interested in them.
- End your emails with a proposal to continue the dialogue. Give your seller something to respond to.
- “I’d like to meet next week and talk about talk about X. Coffee is on me.”
We mentioned that ghosting happens more in economies where the candidates feel they have choices. The way to overcome this is to make the candidate feel like YOUR SERVICE IS A UNICORN. There may be a lot of agents in town, but YOUR BROKERAGE AND SERVICE IS DIFFERENT. THERE IS ONLY ONE OF YOU IN THIS TOWN!
Benefits of being ghosted:
Believe it or not, there are benefits of being ghosted. You know the candidate’s true colors earlier vs. later and you didn’t find this out after investing in them for six months of training or showing half a dozen homes. Time is money, and they just saved you a lot of it.
By Connor Baldwin, Technical Product Manager
As seen in Mile 62 eMagazine.
Our goal as an organization is to make agents’ lives easier, and brokerages more profitable with our technology solutions. How could we possibly do that? There is such a wide variety of agents and brokerages in this industry, we could easily spend our entire year’s budget on user research and we still might not even get it right. So, you know what we do? We listen.
How do we listen?
We do it actively. We take cues from the people who give us feedback and dig deeper into that topic they are discussing with us. Examples of this are in abundance at MoxiWorks. Our Customer Support team, a vital part of our company, do this with our end-user’s every single day. They receive feedback through a variety of mediums and immerse themselves into what our biggest user group is saying.
Then we have our Account Management team – they have calls with all of our clients every single week and are always ready when something urgent comes up. They talk to some of the most important people at our client brokerages; the people who know and care about their agents as if they were family. We also have our Sales team talking to prospective clients to understand their potential needs, along with our Executives talking to partners and industry experts, and it all ends up back with us.
Our team (Product), then receives this expertly mined information and we analyze it. Once it has been analyzed, then we decide to spend some money and do user research on the things that this feedback has helped us deem as meaningful. This usually involves interviewing users and running usability tests. These are both time consuming, but they help validate our assumptions, give us new insight into the lives of our users, contribute to building out of extensive user personas, and help us address our user’s true pain points. These two exercises are essential to getting it right the first time, which saves everyone time and money.
Why do we listen?
This is an even longer list, so I will just talk about my three favorites.
One – we listen because we want to build brand loyalty. We want to strengthen our relationships with our client’s operators all the way down to their agents. It is important to us that they feel like they have a say in the evolution of our products. This shows them we truly value their opinions and it helps us grow with our clients. Hey, and maybe they will recommend us to a friend.
Two – we listen because we flat out want to build better products. These are our users, they know the products really well and they are associated with real world use cases. The information we get from them allows us to make valuable changes to our existing products and build badass new ones. This will help retain those who are near and dear to us, as well as add more folks to the Moxi family.
Three – we listen because we want to learn market trends. I know what you’re thinking, the third one is a little more specific than the first two. Cut me some slack though, I’m on the product team. The feedback we get from our various sources all has a ring to it. It signifies change in the industry. A basic example of this could be, “We want you to add/change this feature because there was a shift in the industry. Its original use is no longer helping our agents increase their productivity and our brokerages bottom line.” Ok, that was a poor example, but you get what I’m saying. All this feedback we receive paints a huge picture of the real estate industry and its volatility, and that is awesome, because that picture helps us not only plan for the future but drives us to innovate.
There is a phrase that is thrown around quite a bit in our company. It goes, “What got us here, won’t get us there.” This is especially relevant to gathering feedback from our users. Where simply letting feedback roll in from agents and higher-ups may have done the job two years ago, that is not the case now. In order for us to continuously improve our products we must find new ways to gather feedback. We must educate ourselves on interviewing users and finding the root of their problem. It is critical to set our users up to give constructive, contextual feedback. We would only be doing a disservice to our users and ourselves if we just stuck with the “Have Feedback?” prompt in product and called it a day.
By Tom Shively
What attracted me to MoxiWorks was the level of collaboration that’s expected from every department. Upon first starting, I was asked how I felt about working with many, if not all, of the other teams here and if working as a part of a dynamic fast-paced team was something I could excel at doing. Fast forward two years and I can honestly say this experience has lived up to the promise.
One of the greatest parts about working at Moxi is if you have a fun, creative idea, it is encouraged you run with it. I have been at a number of tech companies and nowhere else has had an atmosphere of not only collaboration, but encouragement to think outside the box, outside the building, and outside your comfort zone.
It had been about five months after I started as Moxi’s trainer that I was sent across the country to host a series of talks teaching agents about our products. The event went spectacularly well, in no small part because of the teamwork our office has. On this trip I was joined by Senior Account Manager, Daniel Bailey, and our Manager of Product, Jillian Igarashi and the strengths of these two became obvious very quickly. Daniel can talk to anyone, about anything, at any time, and Jillian has an encyclopedic knowledge of our products and what’s coming! It was because of these two that this conference went so well.
Before I left I realized many people don’t know what happens when we travel into the field to present. So, I decided to bring my camera and film what happened, so I could create a recap video for the rest of the office to see what we accomplished. While on the trip I filmed all the different aspects of a Real Estate conference from our booth to the classes we taught and the travel from coast to coast. When I got home, I was able to piece together a story I thought would be interesting for the rest of the company to see.
The response I got was nothing like I could have imagined. I first sent the video to the executive team who asked if they could show it at our “All Hands” meeting later that day so the whole company could see it. The rest of the company seemed excited to see what happens when we go into the field and the response the industry has to our products. It was because of this positive response, I have continued to create videos for the company.
You see, our company has a mantra. “Think outside the building,” and nowhere is this more apparent than our community service day each year. Moxi shuts down for an entire day, takes all 70 techies and rolls up our collective sleeves to help Ryther. Before we made our way over, I was asked if I could bring my camera to capture some of the day. I agreed without hesitation and began shooting the moment we got there. Being able to speak with the staff and tour the facility to see what impact Moxi can make in helping the lives of the people in our community can only be described as extraordinary.
Making the video for this day was one of the most rewarding projects I have had the pleasure of creating. None of this would be possible without the support of Moxi as a whole, and the ability to accept a mentality that doesn’t just focus on what comes across your desk but is limited only by your creativity. Moxi empowers its employees to do better, follow your goals, and think outside the building, where ever that may be.
Watch Tom’s Community Service Day video below!
By Ring Nishioka, VP of Operations at MoxiWorks
I joined MoxiWorks about 18 months ago and when I joined, the company had just under 50 employees and an office space of about 5000 square feet. The Little Engine that could has come a long way in the past 18 months. The doubling of our agent count has included 25 new employees and the doubling of our office space square footage.
As one of the HR folks in the company, it has been my responsibility to hire these last 25 employees along with our HR Specialist, Emily “HRSavage” Sherwood. We have hired 13 employees since the beginning of 2018 and we’re not looking to slow it down anytime soon.
MoxiWorks is based in Seattle, Washington and the market for technology talent is very similar to the real estate market – there are more buyers than there are sellers/inventory. All of the large tech companies have created more job openings than there are candidates. So recruiting quality candidates can be tough.
In the same way that the market has driven up the price of homes in Seattle, the market has driven the starting salaries for technologists through the roof. Graduates from good schools with computer science degrees and zero experience are making more than their parents. While that might sound absurd, it’s the truth. Supply and demand at its finest.
The multiple offices of Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and the numerous startups including Uber, Lyft, and CHEF, to name just a few of the more recognizable names, is putting a squeeze on the little engine MoxiWorks.
So, what is a non-Microsoft sized tech company to do when it needs to fill openings? Like most brokerages, we try to entice candidates by creating a cool place to work and creating a strong brand in the marketplace, but the best thing we have done to recruit new talent is the use of our employee referral program and the use of social media.
Like most companies, we offer a referral bounty for employee referrals. We pay this bounty on the first day of the new hires employment. We don’t ask the employee who made the referral to wait three months before we pay out because it was the hiring manager and the interview loop that made the hiring decision.
Our bounty is $1500.00, which is modest by Seattle standards. We don’t want Moxians to quit their day jobs because the bounty on a referral is too high. We want to say “thank you” with a token of appreciation. Why do we want referrals so badly? We want referrals because our employees feel this is a great place to work and want to share the experience. Make the referral $10-$20K (yes, it is a thing) and folks will throw random candidates against the wall in the hopes of getting lucky.
Our employees are MoxiWorks BEST source of referrals and leveraged with Social media, we can make a serious dent in the list of open positions. And the same could be said for new agent recruits. Moxi employees know what our culture is, they know what success looks like, and they know the hiring managers. As an HR guy, what I like the most about employee referrals is that new hires that are referred by a current employee have a friend, ally, mentor and big brother / sister to watch their back. We know this is typical for brand new agents just getting into the real estate world. We all need someone to show us the ropes. These employees put their reputations on the line and are motivated to make sure their referral is successful.
To give you some perspective, the last three months at MoxiWorks looked like this:
- Our Test Engineer referred TWO technologists.
- Our Marketing Automation Manager referred our VP of Marketing
- A new hire developer liked the interview process so much, he referred his developer friend BEFORE HIS FIRST DAY OF EMPLOYMENT.
- Our CEO referred our CFO
If we went through a hiring agency using outside recruiters, we would have spent close to $170,000.00 in agency fees. We also would NOT have had organic relationships with these new hires.
We create a job posting and then our Content Marketing Manager, Tiana Baur, creates links that the employees can post on their persona LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds.
And just like that, we’re swimming in plenty of quality referrals from our employees we know and trust.
Yes, we are hiring, and currently looking for:
If you’re not currently a Moxian and want to refer a candidate that we hire, we would like to say “thank you” with a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. Hit me up at Ring@moxiworks.com.
By JoDee Aspin, Database Developer at Moxi Works
I started working for Moxi Works in 2012. At the time, the Moxi Fund had existed, but wasn’t being treated as the priority I felt it should. There was about $4,000 sitting in the fund, mostly from donations that staff made over the years. No one was overseeing the fund or guiding it along to a prosperous future. Fortunately, that soon changed.
Mark Carlson, VP of Software Engineering, knew I had interest in the Windermere Foundation, which has always been extremely visible to Moxi Works since our founding roots are in the Windermere Real Estate brokerage. Because of that, Mark asked if I wanted to take control of it and as you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity! In fact, it’s one of the reasons I said yes to taking the job at Moxi.
The fact that people on staff had donated money that was just sitting in a pot and not getting to the people it was intended for, bothered me to no end. Under the Executive Director of the Windermere Foundation’s guidance, I formed a team and we began troubleshooting ways to generate more donations to the Moxi Fund.
Initially our team included Tom Harnett, Jillian Igarashi and Jeff DeMelle. We determined that we really had two main goals, first, to continually promote awareness about the Moxi Fund within the organization, and second to generate enough interest that the entire staff thought of new ways to fundraise and help in growing the pot. I think we were all surprised at how quickly this took hold. We started to generate more and more interest and thus our funds began to grow little by little. It really kicked off once our CEO, York Baur got behind it (whom at the time had just joined Moxi Works). From that point on, there was only up. In fact, the Moxi Fund has raised more than $80,000 for charities in our community.
The Moxi Fund is a win for our entire company, and one that makes me proud of each person that gives to it, whether through volunteering for the Moxi Fund team, donating funds, or participating in the activities around it. More than that, it makes me proud to work for a company that promotes and fosters programs that give back to the wider community. So many took ownership and it was so lovely to see and be a part of. Today, because of logistics, I am no longer there with the team, in fact there are many new people involved, but my heart is there and always will be. The growth of the Moxi Fund is my proudest moment at the company (one of many I might add). Can’t wait to see how the Moxi Fund continues to grow in the years to come!
By Regina Kelley, Senior Manager, PMO & Quality Assurance
I love what I do here at Moxi! I have been a Moxian for almost five years and have had the opportunity to wear many different hats in that time. My role has morphed and changed, year over year thanks to my amazing and supportive manager, Mark Carlson, who continues to believe in me, challenge me, and give me the opportunity to do what I love – being a leader at Moxi Works.
My proudest moment being a leader here at Moxi has been helping a fellow Moxian grow his own career and watching him become a strong and successful leader. Andy’s journey these past nine months is worth sharing and could perhaps inspire others to grow their own careers as well!
Be an expert or demonstrate knowledge
Andy started his career as a summer intern while he was still in college and rocked the testing world right out of the gate. His performance and attitude earned him a full-time position when he graduated, and over the next six years Andy expanded his knowledge and perfected his craft. He worked hard to grow his testing and technical skills, quickly becoming our team’s go-to-guy!
Find a path, make a plan
In the first quarter of 2017, we were beginning our Quarterly Review Cycle and were talking about his goals and what was next. Our discussion lead me to ask Andy what he enjoyed most about his job and what he does daily here at Moxi. His answer came fast: He enjoyed the technical aspects of testing! He also mentioned enjoying helping his fellow teammates… So we went with it!
I approached our VP of Technology and pitched the idea of this new role on the testing team and after getting the thumbs up we created a new role just for Andy to drive and work toward – a technical lead.
The testing team had never had a lead before, so I asked Andy to do some research and define this new role and with that, a path was created. He created a plan and off he went to work toward achieving this new goal. I am a big believer in employees taking control of their own careers and this is a great example of how to get started. Find a path, and make a plan!
Create opportunities for growth
In order to grow on this new path, to become this new Technical Lead, I had to create new opportunities for him to step up. The more responsibility Andy took on and succeeded at, the more his passion grew for what he was doing, so much so that he even began creating his own opportunities for growth. It didn’t take long for Andy to reach that goal and we had ourselves a Lead.
He was doing so well and gaining so much momentum in his new role, I started asking, what’s next? How do you feel about Leadership and Management? Again, with the quick answer – I’m not interested in that, I like the technical side. But I could see that he did enjoy helping his fellow teammates and mentoring – and he was natural at it! So, I suggested to him a new growth opportunity – to mentor/ manage an intern. Although reluctant at first, he jumped in with both feet.
After that our weekly check-in meeting dynamic began to change. As the weeks went by it shifted from strictly a test status update to more focused conversations about leading and mentoring on the team. We talked about the best ways to get things done, how to grow his mentee and help others on the team continue their growth. Every week Andy walked away with new objectives and opportunities for him to stretch himself in a different way, a non-technical way.
After a couple months went by I asked Andy how he was feeling about his mentorship, and his answer didn’t come quite as quickly as before – surprisingly, he was really enjoying it! I could see the great leadership potential Andy had, he just needed to see it in himself.
Strengthen what you love
Andy and I will continue to rock the testing world here at Moxi together, and we will continue to push him and give him new opportunities to try different things – even things he may not know he will enjoy.
If you take one thing away from this story, know that you can do this too. Start by asking yourself what you love most about what you do every day, and go with it! Share that with your manager or mentor and look for new opportunities to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and take chances. You won’t know until you try, and you may find a new passion you didn’t even know you had!