How to Answer Real Estate Agent Interview Questions
One of the first ‘sales’ you'll make as a real estate agent is selling a brokerage firm on the idea that you’ll positively represent their brand and bring new business to the firm. To do that, it’s best to ooze confidence and enthusiasm in your job interview — just as you would when trying to help a client. Begin by consciously thinking about simple non-verbal cues, like having great posture, making eye contact while shaking hands, and smiling as you would when talking to anyone. Follow that by showing a thorough understanding of the common interview questions outlined in this guide, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the go-to local real estate guru — regardless of your years of experience in the field.
What Are You Looking for in a Brokerage?
Each brokerage is different, with different pay structures, different support networks, and varying degrees of brand recognition. Some brokerages feel very hands-on; others allow their agents to find their own path to success.
As anyone with experience in the real estate industry will tell you — it’s all about finding the right fit. When asked this question, stress that ‘fit’ is your primary concern and talk about how your experience will lend itself well to the team. For example, if you’re an experienced agent, you likely have your own way of doing things, so a real estate Broker offering more autonomy might be a better fit.
What Real Estate Databases Do You Use?
In today’s digital landscape, there’s no shortage of real estate tech from which to choose. However, companies like Zillow and Trulia (also owned by Zillow) offer the most popular real estate database platforms.
It’s highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with each platform, as well as the market data they convey and how agents use them to connect with potential homebuyers. The brokerage firm may even ask you to show them an online listing just to see how your information is presented.
How Would You Handle a Difficult Client?
You’ll face difficult clients from time to time. Potential employers will want to know how you might react to these types of challenges. The first step, as always, is to stay calm and never lose your cool. Instead, focus on exactly what the client needs or wants from the situation. Then you might explain that each case is different, so rather than offering a ‘one size fits all' approach, you’d prefer to talk to a colleague with more experience or refer to a similar past experience of your own.
How Do You Communicate With Clients?
Showing off your communication skills is more than just presenting information well or dishing out witty real estate quips. Stress to your potential employer that you understand the importance of listening to clients, telling a story through data, and that you realize you’re helping people through one of their largest financial decisions. The best real estate professionals often operate with their EQ (or emotional intelligence) at the forefront.
How Do You Market Your Listings?
Thanks to technology, marketing a listing has never been easier. It also has never been more competitive, but with the right formula, you can reach more potential buyers for less. Research common marketing techniques, and be able to show how you might use them in a real estate setting. Or, if you’re already an established real estate professional, outline your most effective marketing strategies (i.e., a successful open house event you hosted) or talk about some ‘new school’ strategies you’d like to try.
What Sets You Apart From Other Real Estate Agents?
This is a question you’ll have to ask yourself time and time again, so it’s always good to understand what exactly you possess that makes you stand out. Established agents typically have a good idea of why their clients choose them, but if you’re new to the real estate industry, you’ll have to find your own unique flavor.
Consider your personality and interests. For example, if you’re outdoorsy, then you’ll know that having storage space is important for bicycles, kayaks, etc. If you’re a foodie, then you’ll know where the best restaurants are. If you’re an automotive enthusiast, then you’ll know that garage space is a top priority.
How Do You Find Leads?
Finding leads can be intimidating for new agents, but there are many ways to drum up extra business. Beyond tapping your own sphere of influence, your potential employer might ask what your strategy for finding new leads might be. This can include things like cold calling ‘For Sale By Owner’ listings, being an active member of various Facebook groups, or even volunteering at an organization that’s near and dear to you.
How Many Homes Do You Sell a Year on Average?
If you are a new agent, this question is not applicable. However, if you have experience, it’s important to have an idea of how many homes you generally sell in a year, if not for the brokerage then for your own metrics.
Why Do You Want to Join This Real Estate Brokerage?
Each brokerage is unique. Besides the number of homes sold, find out what sets them apart from the rest of the crowd, and speak to the aspects of the brand that speak to you. After all, brokerages are looking for agents that will represent their values and their brand well in the marketplace.
When shopping around for a brokerage, it’s not necessarily about making a lot of money — it’s about finding the right place to work. Sites like Glassdoor can offer peer insights about a particular place’s work environment, culture, and overall track record. If you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the recruiter or your friends in the real estate industry what they think about a given brokerage.
Questions to Ask Brokers During a Real Estate Interview
Since the engagement between a Broker and an agent is slightly different from the employer-employee relationship of most other industries, think of it as ‘working together' rather than ‘working for’. That means you’ll want to learn a little bit about the brokerage by asking a few questions of your own.
How Does Your Brokerage Handle Commission Splits?
Every brokerage handles commission splits differently, so be sure to ask for specifics. Typically, brokerages that let agents keep the majority of their commission don’t offer much in terms of marketing support, training, and benefits. That might work better for an established real estate professional, but a new agent might want to consider a brokerage with more support — at least to get things off the ground.
What Expenses Am I Responsible for vs. What Does the Brokerage Cover?
Like commission splits, each brokerage is different when it comes to expenses, so be sure to ask what is provided versus what you have to provide. Some brokerages offer subscriptions to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, marketing support, and mentorship programs, while others may offer not much more than a desk.
What Is Your Company Culture Like?
Despite what they may say in the job description, ask the brokerage to tell you in their own words what they feel like their company culture is like. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to get a gauge of a company's culture from how a potential employer responds.
Do You Have a Mentorship Program?
Some states require new agents to find a mentor. Even if your state doesn’t, having a mentor is great for most agents just getting their start in the real estate business. Conversely, perhaps you’d like to put your experience to good use and help a new agent find their way. Regardless, always be sure to inquire about a brokerage’s mentorship program as it’s often a good sign that they’ll care about your long-term success.
How Many Real Estate Agents Work at This Brokerage?
This might seem like a straightforward question, but always ask how many agents work at a particular brokerage. More agents could mean that the firm has more brand recognition, but it might also mean that it’s more impersonal. Small or boutique firms are great for those who like to work closely with others, but they generally offer less in terms of resources.
What Will My Sales Expectations Be?
There are many instances in life where setting the right expectations is paramount in maintaining relationships. Real estate is no different. Don’t hesitate to ask the brokerage firm how they feel the real estate market is and what they expect from you in terms of overall sales.
What Are You Looking for in a Real Estate Agent?
Unless they’re a relatively new firm, they’ll have a good idea of what they are looking for in an agent. Ask them specific questions about what they’re looking for — do they want someone who specializes in vacation properties, an agent who intends to connect with investors, or somebody who knows what school districts parents are looking for? This information will help both of you visualize how you might fit into the organization.
What to Wear to a Real Estate Interview
While it’s true that you should be yourself, you should present the best version of yourself during your interview. Remember to dress professionally ( if a brokerage is casual, be sure your clothes are pressed, neat, and clean) and be impeccable with your time. If you’re unsure of what to wear, just think about who you would trust several hundred thousand dollars with and model their style. Again, social media is a great way to get a feel for a brokerage’s vibe and dress code — so don’t hesitate to use that as your guide.
How to Prepare for a Real Estate Interview
If you’ve familiarized yourself with the aforementioned questions and tips, you’ll be ready for your interview. Just bear in mind that every firm is unique. Before your interview, do your due diligence and research the brokerage, from their official site to their social media, to better understand their brand. Use a few of their favorite buzzwords in the interview, or perhaps mention one of their listings. The more prepared you are beforehand, the more confident and natural things will be. Couple that with a good night’s sleep, a substantial meal, and the fact that it’s a two-way interview, and you’ll be making real estate sales faster than you can say REALTOR®. Happy job hunting!