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Meet Vanessa Rosenblum-Inglese of Pro REA Staffing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Rosenblum-Inglese.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Vanessa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I graduated from USC in 2004 and my first “real” job was as the Director of Operations for a real estate business coach in Los Angeles. Part of my job was to create content for the workshops we taught to real estate agents and their support staff. I became particularly interested in the role Assistants played in their agent’s success. We tracked our clients’ production and it became clear that when an agent hired the right assistant, their business could quickly double or even triple. The idea that one strategic hire could make such a profound impact on a business excited me and I wanted to learn more.

The market was out of control at the time and agents were in serious need of help with hiring, training and managing their growing teams. I saw an opportunity. I had no idea what a recruiter was, or how the staffing industry worked, so I just made it up as I went along. As a result, I created a process that works really well for our little niche but is unique within the staffing and recruiting world.

I started my first search and placement firm as a division of that coaching company. I continued with my day job and on the side, I helped our coaching clients hire assistants. Eventually, my boss went on to start a real estate company and I went out on my own.

In 2008 the real estate market was tanking and no one needed to hire a real estate assistant. Business was not going well, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. It was around this time that the owner of several real estate offices came to me and said, “I like what you do, but I want you to offer part-time staffing services for my agents.” At the time, this made a lot of sense. Experienced real estate assistants were being laid off left and right, and they were happy to work with multiple agents on a part-time basis. Agents still needed the help of an assistant, just not a full-time one.

Pro REA Staffing was created in 2008 to help real estate agents hire experienced temp or part-time real estate assistants. We created a two-day assistant training program for our new hires and we had up to 18 assistants working all over Los Angeles.

Then, in 2009, I married my Italian husband, and we decided to move to Italy. Around this time, Skype and camera phones were becoming commonplace. Not everyone had a camera on their phone or computer, but enough people did that I realized that I could interview candidates via Skype. This meant, that I could continue to run my business, even from Italy!

It was rocky at first. Some candidates didn’t like the idea of being interviewed on video and sometimes the technology just didn’t work very well. I persisted and overtime, it got easier.

The real estate market finally started to recover and in 2010, I transitioned back to full-time direct placements and I dissolved the temp staffing business.

Today I employ four Recruiters and an Executive Assistant who live scattered throughout the U.S. Even though we all work remotely, we feel like a very tightknit group. We are in constant communication; we have inside jokes. There is a real “office culture” even though we are hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.

I am proud to say that we work with many of the top producing Realtors in the country to help them hire their administrative staff. We also work with many Realtors who are hiring for the very first time. It is very satisfying to help someone make such an important decision for their small business.

Technology has continued to play a big role in our continued success. Several years ago, we started recording our candidate video interviews. This was a game-changer. Now, we could share our interviews with our clients. They see exactly what we see and since we ask most of the basic interview questions in our video interview, clients get to know a candidate beyond what is written on their resume. This makes it easier for them to decide who to interview in person.

Since leaving Los Angeles, I have lived in some fantastic places. My husband and I spent about a year in Italy before moving to Costa Rica, then on to Sonoma, CA. After that, we spent almost two years on Maui, HI, a year in Boston, another year in Orlando, a short stint in Lagos, Portugal, a year in Marbella, Spain and now, we live in Girona, Spain with our three yr. old son.

Maintaining a business while traveling presents its own set of challenges. At one point, I spent about six months working most days from a futon bed, leaning up against an orange wall. I was still interviewing candidates at that time, and I looked like I was calling from a jail cell! In Costa Rica, the power went out at regular intervals. I would have to text my assistant and ask him to reschedule my appointments. In Maui, I had to start my day at 6 am. And, here in Spain, I work until 11 pm or later and then get up early to get my son ready for school.

Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband and I had the opportunity to live in many of the places we dreamed of visiting. We maintain friendships with the people we met and we experienced different cultures in a way that has profoundly changed us.

I love that I can spend my daytime hours outside, enjoying this beautiful city and then settle in and work in the afternoon and evening. Technology has allowed me to expand my business beyond Los Angeles and to hire a truly phenomenal staff of my own; picking from the best candidates across the country. Just like my clients, hiring the right people has dramatically changed my business. I now serve in more of an advisory role for my recruiters and I’m freed up to work on the business instead of it in.

Pro REA Staffing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Pro REA Staffing is a nationwide search and placement firm that has its roots in Los Angeles. We serve small businesses in the real estate industry who need help hiring skilled administrative and management level staff. Most of our clients are Real Estate Agents or Brokerages who are looking for experienced Real Estate Assistants, Transaction Coordinators, and Marketing Coordinators. However, we also work with Mortgage, Title, Escrow, Property Management and Commercial real estate companies to fill similar roles.

Over the past 13 years, I am confident that I have placed more real estate assistants than any other recruiter in the country. This experience means that I have a deep understanding of our client’s needs and what to look for and avoid, in potential hires. We also have an incredible candidate database that we tap into with for new search.

Our process is unique in that we video interview our candidates. This service allows clients to learn much more about a candidate before they meet them in person. We also take a very hands-on approach; serving as a consultant throughout the entire hiring process. Our coaching and training partner, Kathleen Metcalf continues the relationship beyond the candidate’s start date, helping the new team to build a strong foundation for future growth.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me, professional success is about freedom. It’s about being able to pursue interests outside of work, and spend quality time with family. Having the freedom to decide when, where and how to work and to do work that interests me makes me feel successful.

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