GTA Real Estate Career Tips: Interviewing with a Brokerage

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GTA REAL ESTATE – When you obtain your Ontario real estate license and officially become a real estate sales representative, the next step is to take a look at the various Toronto area brokerages, do research, and see which ones might be a good fit for you.

Before a brokerage adds a new sales representative to their team, it is common practice for one of the brokerage’s brokers or branch managers to meet up with the candidate for an interview.  These interviews aren’t quite like an ordinary job interview – in the GTA’s competitive real estate market, top brokerages are looking for candidates with the potential to add value and work hard as a contributor for the team.

To tie in with our ongoing Real Estate Career series, we thought we’d provide some of the best tips on how new real estate sales representatives can prepare for an upcoming brokerage interview.

1. Emphasize that you’re willing to expand your comfort zone.

Fortune favours the bold, and nowhere is that more true than the real estate industry. Managers and brokers are always keeping an eye out for candidates who are unafraid to tackle tougher challenges such as:

  • Cold calling and generating new leads.
  • Going door-to-door in a focus neighbourhood.
  • Advertising on different channels and utilizing technology to build a personal brand.
  • Becoming familiar with new neighbourhoods or business districts.

A brokerage interview is your chance to show that you’re not just looking for a place to “hang your hat” and make photocopies. It’s a great way to catch the attention of recruiters, whose main goal is to find professionals that can help expand the company’s offerings.

2. Make a list of your unusual skills and abilities.

If you focus solely on your real estate sales capabilities during the brokerage interview, you might miss out on highlighting other important skills and talents that round you out as a professional. By making a small list of these attributes, and making a point of mentioning a couple in your interview, you’ll be sure to stand out from other professionals interviewing at the same brokerage. Here are a few examples:

  • Fluency in a second or even third language.
  • Extensive familiarity with a software application or useful technology (such as Google Analytics, Photoshop, Excel or Revit.)
  • Professional experience in different specialization, such as accounting or graphic design.
  • Experience in building, construction/renovation or interior design fields.

Brokerages build well-balanced teams and expand their service capabilities by adding team members who bring a unique array of skills to the table – be ready to mention and discuss the key strengths that set you apart.

3. Find out what the brokerage is all about.

Greater Toronto is a massive area with huge commercial and residential real estate markets. While most brokerages are willing to work with a wide variety of listings, many have different areas, property types, etc. that they specialize in dealing with.

By doing research on the brokerage before your interview – by looking at their listings, for example, and clicking through their web site or blog – you can get a feel for the type of work the brokerage is mostly involved with. Here are a few key questions:

  • What neighbourhoods and districts is the brokerage highly active in? Are there any areas in which they generally do not advertise?
  • Does the brokerage specialize in brand-new properties, or is the focus on resale listings?
  • Is the brokerage’s emphasis mostly on residential listings, or are they heavily involved in ICI (Industrial, Commercial and Investment) transactions?

If you find out that the brokerage’s focus areas coincide with what you are interested in – for example, they specialize in selling Humber Bay developments and you’ve always loved waterfront condos – that’s something you can mention in your interview, establishing a strong connection right off the bat.

4. Prepare a list of thoughtful questions you can ask, to get a better idea of the brokerage’s culture and offerings.

The brokerage interview will give you a chance to check out the office and get a feel for the building, but the best way to show genuine interest in the team is to ask great questions about day-to-day life as a member. Here are a few example questions recommended by the Ontario Real Estate Association:

  • What does the brokerage offer by way of training programs and support?
  • Is mentorship a part of the brokerage’s training practices?
  • Does the brokerage offer any speciality services?
  • Will there be any opportunities to attend team-building, networking and social events organized by the brokerage?

Anyone can ask a brokerage about the commission split offered to sales representatives, but asking questions like the ones above will show that you are concerned with having a strong work environment and opportunities to grow as a sales professional. While the split is a good fact to know, it is also smart to consider your potential opportunities for making money as a member of the brokerage team.

Our Real Estate Careers series offers key advice and information for new and aspiring real estate professionals in the GTA. If you’re looking for more advice on kick-starting your own real estate career, please contact one of our Living Realty branch managers today and we’ll be happy to arrange a one-on-one meeting with you.

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