Congratulations! Your business is taking off! In fact, you’re so busy you could use a few more hours each day, or a few more days each week. Suddenly, tasks you once loved are feeling like busy-work and you’re terrified of missing phone calls, details, and deadlines. It’s probably time for an assistant. You’re certainly not alone – about 18% of REALTORS® have assistants.
The first question you need to ask is if you need to hire a licensed or unlicensed assistant. Each state has their own requirements for what unlicensed real estate assistants are allowed to do. Click here for the guidelines from the Texas Real Estate Commission. Once you’ve made your decision, posted the position, and picked a few interviewees, you’ll need to know the best questions to ask and methods to use to sort through candidates and find your perfect partner. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Your first experience with a candidate should happen over the phone. This gives you the same “blind” experience that your clients will have when they call your office. This is a great opportunity for you to get a feel for the candidate and the way your customers will feel when interacting with them. Are they friendly? Knowledgable? Articulate?
If they didn’t answer your first phone call – was their outgoing message professionally-minded? Did they return your call promptly?
At this stage, ask basic questions like “Why do you want to leave your current job?” and “What’s your ideal position?”
The first face-to-face meeting gives you a chance to evaluate the professionalism of the candidate. Watch for their people skills, energy level, professional mannerisms, and your own chemistry with the applicant. In this round, you’ll want to ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to talk at length about his or her experiences and requirements. Try questions like “Tell me about your experience in real estate” and “What challenges are you looking for in this position?”
After the first interview, you may have found your perfect candidate. If you’re still trying to make a decision, bring your applicants in for a second round. Before bringing them back in, give them a task to complete to demonstrate their ability to follow instructions and to be trained. This will give you a chance to check attention to detail, follow through, and the quality of his or her work.
Questions in this round should still be open-ended, but should give examples of situations the job may present, giving the candidate a chance to explain how he or she would respond.
This is a good time to bring in other members of your team for their input in the hiring process. You may also want to ask questions like “Tell me about a crisis you experienced in your last position and how you handled it” or “How would you handle a conversation with an angry client?”
Making Your Decision
No matter what phase of the interview process you’re in, there are no right and wrong answers. You have to trust your instincts and be able to take pride in your office and staff. You are the only person who can decide what will work for you and help your business continue to thrive. We’ve added a few sources below for more reading on the subject. Best of luck in taking the next step!