Finding the right brokerage to hang your license is critical to your future business. What should you be on the lookout for when interviewing at a brokerage? What do brokerages look for when interviewing salespeople? Here’s a rundown to help you prep for the interview process.

Interviewing for a position as a real estate agent is different than most other industries because you are not an employee, you’re an independent contractor who owns your own business. Finding a brokerage is essential to actually practicing real estate, but ultimately, you are the boss of your own real estate world.

So, what should you be on the lookout for when interviewing at a brokerage? And, what do brokerages want when they are interviewing for real estate salespeople?

Do your research

Each brokerage has a different style and culture, so it’s important to do your research for each individual brokerage you’re interviewing with.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this a boutique or small firm, mid-size or big-box? This might be a determining factor about the individual attention you will receive as an agent at their firm.
  • What do the brokerage’s reviews say? Take a look at Yelp, Google Reviews, and Glassdoor. See what the clients have said about the agents at that particular brokerage. Happy clients mean happy agents. Also, take a very close look at the company website because it will tell you a great deal about the company culture.
  • Are you looking for a relaxed yet professional environment, or are you looking for a more corporate type of environment? Depending on your personality, taking a long look at the mission statement, goals and values, will give you a better idea of which firm you’ll vibe with most.

Prepare for your interview

Once you’ve done your research, now it’s time to prepare for your interview, and you can base your preparations on what you’ve learned. Is this the type of firm that you need to wear a suit and tie, or can you wear a little less formal attire?

Of course, when in doubt, dress to the nines. You should bring a resume, but agencies typically like to hear about your experiences from you.

Most importantly, you want to prepare your questions because they are not just interviewing you — you’re interviewing them. Of course, you want to present yourself well, but you also want to know what tools the firm will provide you with.

Questions to ask the brokerage

Whether you’re a brand new agent or an experienced one, make sure that you have questions regarding their training program, additional fees, marketing and fee splits.

Will their training program be efficient enough to prepare you to be successful? Training is a make-or-break in this industry. If you are thrown into the world of real estate without proper training, you will not be able to compete with the best of them.

Some places will charge desk fees or fees for their marketing and sites; these are business expenses to be aware of. But are they feasible for starting your business, and what will you get in exchange for these fees?

Having a marketing team on hand plays a large part in getting your brand out there for the world to see, so it’s necessary to make sure there is a strong team behind you to help participate in your growth as an agent.

Importantly, what are the fee splits? Each company will have different fee splits along with different reasons they have certain splits. You need to calculate for yourself, what will be your profits after the splits?

Also, the overall package your brokerage is offering, is it commensurate to the splits you’re receiving? There are many agencies out there that have higher splits for their agents, but they also have high fees and not much training — so the high split might not be worth it.

Make sure you have a balance that makes you feel comfortable with the brokerage you are choosing. For more on how to choose a brokerage that’s right for you, watch this panel discussion from Inman Connect Las Vegas entitled “What you need to do to land a the right brokerage.

What do agencies want to see from you?

When reaching out to agent candidates, your interview starts as soon as your first correspondence. A huge part of being a real estate agent is effective communication, so it’s essential to be able to respond appropriately, professionally and in a reasonable amount of time.

Practicing effective communication with your interviewer prior to meeting them proves that you can do the same with a client, which is extremely important in this industry and can mean the difference between you getting a client or not.

Many people have had other job experiences prior to being in real estate — and interviewers want to hear about them. Don’t be shy in sharing other positions, schooling and experiences you’ve had throughout your professional career and life.

There are many skills that are required for real estate: responsiveness, patience, honesty, punctuality, thirst for knowledge, networking, technological skills and many more. These can be gained through so many different jobs, so share what you’ve learned.

A powerful image you want to portray is how you will stand out from the rest of the agents out there — and there are a ton. What will your brand look like, and what will make you a great agent?

There is no “cookie-cutter” model of a great agent nor should there be, but you want to know what will make you different and make clients want to work with you.

You might not yet know what your “agent style” will be, but your personality traits should be paramount. Your firm should be a reflection of you, and your firm wants to see that you’ll represent them positively as well. So show how you will align with their values, but be you.

Find a perfect fit

Your success at an agency is 50 percent yours and half your agency’s. And it’s necessary to have balance and similar goals. Remember that your brokerage is interviewing you, but you are interviewing it as well.

Visit the office, do your research, and make sure you’re both a good fit for each other. Finding a perfect fit isn’t one-sided. Everyone needs to be on the same page to build a successful, long-term relationship.

Gina Castrorao is a rental manager and licensed real estate agent at Real New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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