Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
If you’re going to spend the time and resources it takes to bring a new broker into your real estate business, make sure the broker is well-prepared to hit the ground running and has the skills to sustain his livelihood while building a clientele. Even though most brokers work on a straight commission, you don’t want a broker taking up space that could be used by a more productive professional. Specific interview questions can help you cull the strong producers from the weak.
Experience with Staffing
Brokers have a real estate license to manage their own businesses and supervise other sales agents. Real estate agents must work under a broker’s license on a contract basis, which is why you need to have a broker in your firm to hire other agents. A broker who ran a smaller agency may want to join a larger firm to increase her exposure or provide overhead expenses, but she should bring some experience managing sales agents and support staff. While you want to hire proficient sales people who will bring in added business to your firm, ideally you want someone who also can manage agents to grow the business even more.
You need to find a way in the interview to discover how the broker is set financially to see if she can withstand a long period of time with no income. According to the National Association of Realtors, agents need to have at least six-months of living expenses on hand before entering the field. Brokers who do not have a thriving business in place, or who have been out of the arena for some time, also need to come prepared with that cushion. By asking what limitations the broker has, you can find out if she can pay for work-related items such as advertising and transportation. Brokers need to be able to completely support themselves from savings or additional support at home because they might not be able to earn commissions for months. A broker without a financial cushion might be distracted from the work and unable to stick around long enough to make sales.
Plans in Place
A broker interviewing for a position with another broker should come prepared with plans of action. Ask for a preview of those plans and expect to hear at least a few examples of the extensive list of contacts the broker intends to tap into, or an email campaign she has devised that has worked well in the past. The successful candidate will have put some thought into how she will begin selling for your firm and what marketing efforts she plans to initiate.
Ideally, a professional real estate broker comes to work with a number of contacts already in place. Ask about the broker’s commitment to the community in hopes of hearing about the many professional organizations she attends and participates in, such as the local Chamber of Commerce and state and local chapters of the National Association of Realtors. The number of commitments indicates the broker’s dedication to the profession as well as her personal commitment to her success, which will benefit your firm as well.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."