Bringing a new real estate agent into your brokerage or onto your team requires a commitment of time, resources, and energy. It’s important to know that the agent you choose is up for the challenges ahead and ready to hit the ground running without a lot of handholding and babysitting.
These ten interview questions should give you a good sense of where agents are in their professional journeys and whether or not they’re a good fit for your organization.
#1: What markets are you currently serving?
Part of your strategy as a broker should be to cover a variety of geographic areas, market niches, and price points through the real estate agents on your roster. It doesn’t make much sense to bring in someone who is already working areas that are being covered by your other agents. You don’t want to encourage unhealthy competition among your agents or concentrate all of your resources on the same small micro-market.
#2: Are there markets or niches where you’d like to expand?
However successful an agent is currently, they should always be thinking in terms of growth. That’s good for their individual real estate business and for your brokerage as well. Find out what the agent is planning to do next and ensure that it aligns with your own needs and those of your most productive current agents.
#3: Tell me about your successes and challenges over the past 12 months.
Anyone can have a bad month or two, and seasonal fluctuations are a real factor in some markets. By looking at the past year, you’ll get an idea of the overall state of the agent’s business and the flow of their client work. When discussing challenges, listen for the following red flags:
No challenges: This is hardly realistic and may indicate dishonesty or a lack of self-reflection.
Blaming others for challenges: While everyone has difficult clients or colleagues, the agent should be able to speak about his or her performance without throwing others under the bus.
Frustration with the previous broker or brokerage: Be careful when dealing with an agent who complains excessively about a previous brokerage, team leader, or managing broker. This may indicate a negative attitude toward leadership in general.
#4: What are your current marketing strategies? How successful have they been?
Job One for a real estate agent is bringing in new clients. In order to build a robust and resilient business, agents should have a variety of ways to obtain and nurture leads. In addition, they should be tracking each of their marketing efforts to find out what’s working, what’s not, and what adjustments are necessary.
#5: What research, training, or continuing education have you completed in the last 12 months?
You’ll probably have a good idea of the certifications and designations the agent has earned over the course of their career, but it’s important to know what he or she has done lately. Find out what new skills they have developed within the previous year. Don’t limit yourself to real estate topics only. Ask about marketing, content creation, financial planning, business development, management, and other relevant topics.
#6: What is your biggest challenge as a real estate professional?
It is important to know what struggles the agent grapples with and, more importantly, what they are doing to address them. Beware of agents who can’t name a challenge or who produce an easy answer like, “I’m too much of a perfectionist” or “I’m too dedicated to my work.”
#7: What is your greatest strength as a real estate professional?
Similarly, agents should have a good grasp of what they do well and how that impacts their success. Beware of a disconnect between the agent’s self-identified strength and your own impressions based on the interview. For example, if an agent claims to be an outgoing people-person, but you don’t see any sign of this, they may have a distorted sense of their own performance.
#8: Tell me about a challenging transaction and what you did to overcome the challenges?
As the saying goes, it’s not the falling down but the getting up that is important. While everyone has difficult transactions from time to time, you can learn a lot from how the agent responds to challenges as they arise. How proactive is the agent? How detail-oriented? How calm or stressed do they appear? Do they have a good perspective on problem-solving? Do they have a great professional network to draw on? All of these provide a sense of what it will be like to work with this agent, in good times and bad.
#9: What do clients say about working with you?
The agent may be able to quote specific testimonials from past clients in answer to this question or may be able to give you personal insights based on past experience and client interactions. Either way, this is a good opportunity to find out more about how others see the agent and how the agent views his or her own performance.
#10: What is your plan for growing your business in the next 12 months?
Agents should be goal-oriented and operating with a growth mindset. This question allows you to find out what they’ve planned based on their past performance, market research, and client feedback. No plans for change or growth? That is information that you need to know as well and may indicate a complacency that you’d rather avoid.