Interviewing for a job in real estate is unlike any done before. It is the complete opposite of interviewing for another career. In the past you had to convince someone you were the best choice. You did your best to land the job. But getting someone to hire you as a real estate agent is easy, in fact too easy. A vast majority of the time all you need to do is meet some  minimum requirements and you will be hired. The goal is not to simply have someone hire you. The goal is for you to interview the the brokerage to see if you want to work for them. Hence, it’s the opposite from your past experiences.

It means you have to prepare to interview them and know what to expect. First create proper expectations a typical interview.

The focus will be on them and why you should be working with them.

  • They will not help you determine if they are the most appropriate match for you.
  • Consequently, you will notice few of the questions will be about you. Again, the focus will be on them and how they can impact your career.
  • In essence they will be trying to sell you on working with them.

When I’m interviewing a new prospect I can guess with a 95% accuracy rate what occurred at the last interview. It’s that predictable. I met with an agent who had already interviewed at five other brokerages.  Only one had asked more than a few basic questions about her. When she started interviewing them, several were even reluctant to directly answer all of her questions. All five talked exclusively about why they were a great company and why she would be successful if she worked with them. All of them were trying to sell her on the company.

The best overall advice to give to you is to go deep. Most of the time the recruiter will dwell on the surface and you need to get past this and go deeper and get more meaningful information. The company will keep the focus on themselves. They will focus on  the “What” questions.

  • What is the training like?
  • What is the compensation structure?
  • What expenses is the agent responsible for?

You should focus on the “Why” questions.  This will allow you to probe further and learn more about the brokerage you are interviewing.

  • Why do you structure your training this way?
  • Why is the compensation handled this way?
  • Why are the agents responsible for these expenses?

This will tell you about the personality and philosophy of the company. This keeps you from dwelling on the surface and just getting information. The insight about why they do things is important.

Here are some topics and questions which should help you:

  1. Training– You will be told about how effective and great the training is. This is a big subject for most recruiters and they will sell you on their program. Questions that go deeper are:
    • What makes it a highly effective training program?
    • How do you judge if it is effective?
    • How is it different from what other companies are doing?
    • What are the unique aspects to it?
    • How long have you been doing it this way and why are you choosing this approach?
    • What are the things you like most about it? What are the things you like least about it?
    • If you could make changes to it what would you suggest?
    • Where do you think it falls short?

    These last questions are good because every company has training program shortfalls. No company or situation is perfect. You are just trying to see how honest they are.

  2. The Company– They will talk about their market share, how dominate they are, how they are growing, how much they advertise, the tools they offer and branding. They will be trying to impress you and will be positive and success oriented. The deeper questions are:
    • Why should I work here?
    • What are the plans for growth?
    • How does the success of the company translate into success for me?
    • How do you define what this company stands for?
    • What makes your company unique?
    • What does it take to succeed?
    • How do you think I would fit in? Why do you think this company would be a good choice for me? Why do you think I would be a good choice for you?
  3. The Agents– This is about the number of agents they have, how successful they are and why you too will be a success.
    • How many agents do you typically hire in a year? At either this office or company wide.
    • What percent of those agents make it in real estate?
    • Why do agents fail?
    • Why are agents successful?
    • What characteristics do you look for in new agents?
    • If you could create the perfect recruit what attributes would they have?
    • How do you define success?
    • What are your minimum requirements and do you have quotas for agents?
    • New agents need help and direction to grow their business. What marketing ideas do you prove and recommend to new agents?
    • In a typical office how would you describe the income distribution? The percentage of agents making under $30,000, from $30,000 to $50,000, from $50,000 to $70,000, from $70,000 to $100,000 and above. See if this is gross income or net of expenses.
    • What are the typicall expenses of an agent?
  4. The Company Splits and Policies– Now they will talk about how they split the commissions and company policies. This subject is a little trickier. You are looking to see who is investing in whom. Are they directly investing in you as a person or are they looking for you to invest in them? Who has more to lose if you fail?
    • Why are the splits this way?
    • How does this compare to other companies?
    • Have you recently changed your policies and if so why?
    • If I fail, what investment would you lose?
    • Do you have a mentoring system available for me? If yes, what qualifies someone to be a mentor? Do they have any specific training and is there a cost to me?
    • What expenses are agents responsible for? Does the broker profit from any of my expenses? (Brokers often charge markups on busines cards, printing, advertising and other items used by agents)
    • Are there any advertising or marketing costs that are shared?
    • Are there any discounts offered for advertising in company brochures and newspaper circulars?
  5. How Things Work– These questions deal with the office mechanics and how things function.
    • How are company leads generated? How are they distributed? Are they given to newer agents and what do I have to do to earn these?
    • What suggestions do you have for agents new to real estate?
    • Are there expenses shared between the agents? If so how are they split? (sometimes there are expenses to pay, like weekend help to answer the phones, that are split by the agents)
    • How is floor time handled?
    • Can I hold open houses for other agents and if so how is this handled? Is there any advance training given? (The order of these questions will tell you something. Are they just going to throw you to the wolves or are they going to prepare you?)
    • Will I be competing with the office manager for business?
    • How accessible is the broker and who else can I call on for help?
    • Can you give me names and phone numbers of other agents I can speak to?