Interviews are intimidating no matter how many you’ve gone through or how confident you are, but they all have the same end goal. The goal of interviews with prospective agents, specifically, is to understand their qualifications, personality, and general way of doing things in relation to your firm. In order to accomplish this, you often need to ask a comprehensive list of questions that will cover the basics – and then some!
There is such a wide range of things to ask that we encourage brokers to be creative and ask unique questions that will get agents talking about who they are and what they’re passionate about. While there’s nothing wrong with the routine questions, (for example, “Why did you become a real estate agent?”) these sometimes generate rehearsed responses, which are of little value. Rehearsed responses make it challenging to determine if an agent’s a good fit!
Previously, we created the The Brokerage Recruiting Playbook, in which we spoke with over 150 brokerages to learn their most effective recruiting practices. Now we’re expanding upon the chapter called “How to sign the agents you want” with The Real Estate Recruiting Questions Checklist; a list of questions and tips on what to ask prospective agents. The checklist covers categories such as agents’ relationships with their clients, time management, lead generation, and management of difficult scenarios – all crucial factors in determining if an agent’s a worthwhile addition to your brokerage.
Ready to start conducting the most productive recruiting interviews? Read on to get the best questions and tips!
Question Focus: Client Relationship
What are your small talk best practices? What questions do you ask when making small talk with potential clients?
Learning how agents make small talk and what types of questions they ask can illustrate their networking skills and how they interact with clients. Think about your mom, neighbor, or best friend. If you wouldn’t put the agent in charge of making small talk with them, this could be a warning flag.
Have you ever refused to work with a buyer?
If an agent has refused to work with a buyer in the past, it’s important to know why. It may reveal something about the agent’s personality or work style.
What questions do you ask clients to better understand what they’re looking for?
Oftentimes agents are excited to share newly available listings but then don’t take the time to handpick selections for their clients based on the clients’ specific criteria. It’s important to understand how an agent gets to know what each client is looking for. The agent’s role is to meet the client’s needs, not broadly promote available properties. Successful agents are successful in large part because their attention to clients inspires past clients and people in their network to refer them new business.
Questions Focus: Lead Generation
What is the most effective way you attract leads?
The trendiest lead generation methods don’t always result in the most conversions. Is there anything the agent has found to work again and again? Is there anything creative the agent has done that illustrates an entrepreneurial spirit? If the agent is talented at lead generation and uses tactics that can be replicated and scaled across the brokerage, this could benefit everyone!
Describe how you approach asking for referrals.
Referrals make up approximately 64% of an agent’s business and, even though asking for leads can sometimes be awkward, it’s extremely beneficial because referred leads are warm leads. Ask how frequently the agent asks for referrals and what tactics have resulted in the most referrals.
Tell me in detail about what you do before an open house.
This question allows you to understand how the agent builds relationships with sellers. It also illustrates the agent’s attention to detail.
How do you use social media and the Internet to further your career?
Approximately 70% of buyers and 75% of sellers found their agent on the internet. By asking about how agents are using online tools, you can get a better understanding of how they are reaching various audiences.
Question Focus: Professional Focus
What does your day look like from start to finish?
The answer to this question will paint a picture of how agents structure their day-to-day life and what areas they focus their time on. It could illustrate how they prospect (making phone calls, door knocking, etc.), how much time they dedicate to clients, and when and how they follow up with their network. Additionally, it provides insight about their time management skills.
What does the inside of your car look like?
This question comes from one of the brokers interviewed for The Recruiting Playbook. Because agents are always on the move, their cars serve as mobile offices. This question is a creative way to ask about agents’ organizational, client relationship, and time management skills.
Describe a time when you faced a setback and something you thought was going well went markedly wrong. How did you respond to the situation or turn the situation around?
Look for a competitive spirit and the ability to assess a challenge and overcome it. Resourcefulness and resilience are critical in an industry that sometimes presents agents (and clients) with unpredictable setbacks. It’s key that the agent be able to evaluate the situation, refocus, and regain control.
What resources are you looking for to further your career?
It’s just as important for agents to understand your expectations as it is for you to understand theirs. If they’re looking for specific resources that you’re not able to provide, be transparent. It’s not worth it to bring on an agent who won’t thrive at your brokerage.
What is your ideal company culture? How do you see yourself fitting into our culture here?
It’s inevitable that company culture plays a role in an individual’s success. If agents can see themselves fitting in and succeeding with your brokerage, it means they can see a future there and won’t be as great a churn risk later on.
How do you balance real estate and other obligations (family, financial, associations, other professional obligations, etc.)?
Real estate agents often underestimate the financial strain the first couple years in the industry places on them. It’s important to understand if the agent has taken this into consideration and made appropriate plans in order to be able to continue with real estate past the one-year mark. Additionally, it’s important that the agent can balance real estate with other things that compete for time, such as caring for family members and pets, volunteer work, and other jobs. As real estate often involves working outside of traditional work hours, the agent should have a plan in order to balance both personal commitments and working with buyers and sellers.
Tips and Tricks
Now that you have an idea of the types of questions you should be asking your prospective agents, we have a few tips from our Brokerage Recruiting Playbook on how to ensure your interview is successful.
1: Do Your Homework
It’s important to research the agents you’re interviewing and their qualifications so you can ask informed questions and make the most of your time together.
Agents should also do research on the brokerage and interviewer to get a sense of brokerage culture, expectations, and mentorship opportunities.
2: Don’t Accept Rehearsed Answers
Oftentimes agents will give the answers they think will make them a viable candidate. As an interviewer, try not to accept these rehearsed answers as they don’t allow you to get to know the prospect. Instead, take the time to ask the right questions and really get to know one another. It’ll be highly beneficial to you both as it will help ensure that the firm will be a good fit for the agent and vice versa.
3: Ask Follow-Up Questions
The art of the follow-up question should be no stranger to both interviewers and interviewees. Asking follow-up questions is one of the best ways to dive deeper into or expand upon a topic and get more clarity during a conversation.
Ask Away …
Preparing ahead of time and asking creative and thoughtful questions puts you in the best position to hold productive and insightful interviews with prospective agents. It also puts you in the best position to make offers to the agents who will be the strongest additions to your roster!
We’d love to hear your success stories after using the questions above. And if there are other effective questions you ask, tweet at us!
Download your copy of the Recruiting Questions Checklist today!
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