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You’ve generated a great recruiting lead for your office or team. Whether you are a broker owner, manager or team leader, your ability to conduct a successful job interview will determine the ultimate success of your office or team.
A successful job interview depends on your preparation and ability to ask the right questions, assess whether the agent is a good fit for your business, and shut the agent down when moving into your office or team.
Create a job description
A realtor’s job description boils down to six words: “Generate leads, convert leads, close deals.” Your main goal during the interview should be to assess the agent’s ability in each of these three areas. (For a more detailed job description free of charge, visit ziprecruiter.com.)
Before your interview, research the candidate
Find out how many signups the agent has had in the last 12 months, if they have a website, as well as research their various social media accounts and the types of posts they typically post. Also, search for their name plus the word “complaint” and also the word “review”.
Also be sure to check with your agents. Better to find out early if an agent has a bad temper, is hard to work with, or anything else that would make that person a bad recruit.
Ask all applicants to complete a written job application
Ask where they went to school, any previous jobs they may have had, and where they’ve worked since getting their license. Don’t ask about age, ethnicity, marital status, religion, or any other issues that may violate the many anti-discrimination laws governing these areas.
Ask for 3 references
When I was Acting Vice President of Keller Williams University, they required at least three references and that you also go “three deep”. This means that you ask each person you interview if they can provide contact information for someone else who would be willing to give the candidate a reference.
The idea was to receive at least one additional recommendation (third level) from the second level of recommendations. In practice, this can be hard to do, but smart if the position is a key hire for your team or company. Whatever you do, be sure to follow the three top level recommendations the candidate gives you.
Ask a trusted member of your staff to call the agent to inquire about an ad
This lets you find out how they handle incoming calls from buyers and sellers from strangers as well as how quickly they respond to inquiries.
Anyone can bring their ‘A’ game once. Conduct more than one interview
Your first interview will be over the phone. This allows you to gauge the agent’s sound when speaking with customers.
The second interview should be face-to-face at your office. To make the potential recruit more comfortable, avoid sitting behind a desk, a round table is ideal.
The best questions begin with the words “how” or “what”. These two words generate longer and more detailed answers instead of asking “who”, “when” or “where”, which usually results in very short answers. Also avoid asking “why” because it puts the other person on the defensive. Other questions to ask include:
- What do you like about your current office?
- How does your company invest in your success?
- What is missing from your point of view?
- What three tools does your company provide that you think you can’t do business without?
- If you were to recommend an agent to join a brokerage other than your own, what about this company that would make you recommend it?
When it comes to changing offices or companies, the above questions help you identify what matters most to the agent you are interviewing. Pay particular attention to the question “what is missing”. If you offer a service, product, or technology that their current office doesn’t, you can use that advantage as a pain point to help shut the agent down later in the interview.
Also be curious and “dig deeper”. To do this, say “Tell me more about it” or ask them for more information. For example, if their current office offers something that you don’t, ask them to explain what they like about it and how they use it in their business.
Make sure you do
Take notes on what they say. It shows that you care so much about them and what they say that you bothered to write it down. You will also be able to reference these notes when you are ready to close them by joining your team or company.
Ask experiential questions that explore the agent’s skill set
These next four questions allow you to gauge how well the agent handles common business challenges. It would be worth asking the following questions.
- Tell me about your current production, including what’s working and where you might need help.
- If I had to refer you an ad, how would you market it?
- One of our agents had a problem during a transaction with XYZ. How would you have handled it?
- One of your ads is about to expire. What will you do to ensure that your customers re-register with you?
When you spot a problem, ask yourself if it’s a problem that can be solved through training or other means or if it’s a deal breaker.
To close or not to close?
If you realize a candidate isn’t a good fit, point out something they like or feel is necessary in their current company that your company or team doesn’t offer. Then say,
You said that XYZ is very important to your business and that we do not offer this product/service. Thank you for taking the time to come and interview me. I appreciate it enormously!
If you think the agent is a good fit for your office, close on what he said is most important to him when you make your offer. In terms of solutions or benefits provided by your company, show them how these tools or systems can help them overcome the challenges they face.
Again, the groundwork you laid by writing down what the agent said earlier in the interview is key to wrapping them up.
Follow-up after the interview
- Send each agent you interview a handwritten thank you note.
- If the agent is still not sure about joining your team or office, invite them back for a 1:1 coaching session with you, your trainer or office coach.
- You can also invite them to an educational event in your office.
- A third option is to have one of your agents meet the agent for coffee and answer any questions they may have about joining your company.
With many agents waiting to switch offices until the end of the year, now is the perfect time to recruit. Take it to your advantage!
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Check out his broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and his new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.