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Do you work as a hiring manager for a property management company?
Are you employed as a regional marketing manager for a property owner with a large real estate portfolio?
If so, there will come a time when you have to hire a new leasing agent.
It doesn't matter whether the company is expanding or your best leasing agent gave you two weeks' notice. You’ll need to hire a leasing agent with experience, knowledge, and the ability to sell.
And finding the right person starts with asking the right questions in the interview.
If you’re considering adding a new member to your team, this is your guide to leasing consultant interview questions.
Let’s dive into the 15 essential questions to ask before hiring.
Job seekers always need to be ready for an interview, and interviewers do as well. Before you carve out time in your busy schedule to interview a new agent, make sure you know the questions you want to ask.
On both sides of the table, interview questions and answers should center on sales, customer service, and the real estate market in general.
But soft skills are important too.
Don’t ask any questions until you learn about the candidate’s soft skills, industry skills, and education.
Let’s break that down:
When we say soft skills, we’re referring to organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills. These are skills that transfer from industry to industry and are not specific to any one job.
You can teach technical skills and sales tactics to green, inexperienced agents. But soft skills are something they should already have.
Soft skills might include:
In addition to soft skills, you'll want an agent with sales knowledge, experience, and an understanding of the responsibilities and priorities of a leasing consultant or real estate agent. You'll need someone who knows the local community and the current real estate market.
Depending on the state you live in, you may also need an agent that holds a real estate license or has a specific degree.
Know what your requirements are before the leasing consultant job interview begins, and be sure to ask the questions necessary to get the answers you need.
Don’t have the time to prepare your own list of questions?
Don’t worry — we’ve done it for you.
If you're debating which leasing agent to hire, ask these 15 essential questions:
How a candidate answers this question will give you a good idea of their sales experience and work experience.
If you’re hiring an agent for a multi-unit property, you’ll want someone who has experience in marketing and leasing several units at a time.
If your candidate has only ever worked for a private landlord or leased one or two homes throughout their career, they may not be the right fit.
Knowing the types of tenants they've leased to in the past is as important as which types of properties they've leased.
Here’s why this matters:
If your candidate's experience is renting to college students, but your clientele is mature and upscale, they might feel out of place. A candidate's leasing activity will give you a sense of whether they're familiar with and whether they’re comfortable with your target audience.
3. What Is Your Closing Ratio?
The next time you conduct a leasing agent interview, be sure to ask your job seekers what their closing ratio is.
The higher, the better!
If a candidate doesn’t know what a closing ratio is, they most likely do not have the experience you’re looking for. Serious salespeople keep track of their sales figures, closing ratios, and other metrics.
If your candidate doesn’t know the answer to this question, they may not be a serious enough agent for your needs.
When you post a new job opportunity online, mention the type of property management software you use in the job description. In the interview, ask the candidate if they know this software or are familiar with it.
If they read your job posting in its entirety, they should have at least taken the time to research what that software is and what it does.
Not knowing the system that you use shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. If you find a great candidate that doesn’t know it, it may be worth your time to teach it to them.
But if you’re down to two candidates and only one of them knows your software system, this information can make it easier to make your final decision.
There’s more to vetting a potential tenant than reading a tenant’s application and doing a background check. Ask the interviewee to detail their process for screening tenants.
Listen to see if they show any bias, as all agents should know the laws about discrimination. The last thing you need is to hire an agent that creates a legal issue or an ethical problem for your company.
Apartment leasing starts with great apartment marketing. Ask your candidate for specific examples of how they’ve advertised apartments on social media before.
If they don’t have experience marketing on social media, that’s a big red flag.
The ideal candidate has experience marketing on various platforms, from Instagram posts to Facebook ads.
Social media marketing is key, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all of apartment advertising.
Ask this question to understand the candidate's experience marketing both online and offline. It can also help you discover creative strategies that you don't already use!
The more ideas they come to the table with, the better!
8. How Would You Handle Several Move-Ins on the Same Day?
Leasing agents must have the ability to remain calm, even while working under pressure. And for a leasing agent, almost nothing is more stressful than having several tenants move in on the same day.
Ask your candidate to explain how they would handle this situation.
How they answer will be a great sign of their time management skills, as a great leasing agent will schedule and plan so that this doesn’t happen. Their answer can also give you insight into whether providing excellent customer service is one of their priorities.
It should be.
Good leasing agents understand the importance of customer retention. Always ask a potential new hire what specific tactics they use for retaining good tenants and encouraging them to renew their leases.
The more they know about tenant retention, the better.
The goal should always be to keep good tenants in your units. That way, you don't have to spend the time and money marketing, showing, and leasing to new renters.
How a candidate answers this question is a great sign of how competent they are as a salesperson and how skilled they are in upselling. If they have a proven track record of getting tenants to lease pricier units, it shows they have excellent negotiation skills.
Or it reveals the power of persuasion!
As a leasing agent, honesty and integrity are essential.
The only correct response to this question is something like “let me get you a precise answer for that” and follow up immediately. They should never try to bluff or run the risk of providing a tenant with incorrect information.
As a leasing agent or a property manager, there will be occasions when you have to deal with a difficult customer or an unhappy tenant.
Ask the candidate for an example of how they handled a tricky situation in the past. Or ask if they have a strategy in their back pocket that they're ready to use should the situation arise.
If they don’t have a concrete answer or say that they’ve never had this experience before, that’s a huge concern.
An upset resident is never a good thing, so it’s essential to know how your potential agent would be able to control a situation and keep a resident calm.
You can ask this question in a broad sense or pose a specific scenario.
For example, how would you handle a tenant whose apartment is flooded from the neighbor upstairs?
What you’re looking for here is for the candidate to prove that they can remain calm throughout any situation, even if it’s an emergency.
Ask any great salesperson what they enjoy about being in sales, and they're likely to give you a twenty-minute explanation. If your candidate answers with a short two-word answer or a brief sentence, that's not a good sign.
The goal is to hire someone passionate about sales, which means they'll need to be passionate about customer service. The ideal candidate will show they get great satisfaction by providing a customer with the right product.
No matter what they’re selling.
If a candidate can’t point out some specific amenities that your building offers, they haven’t done their homework. And of all the red flags, this one might be the biggest, reddest one of all.
Candidates that show up unprepared for an interview won't be prepared when they're on the job either.
At the very least, the candidate should have taken a few moments to:
It'll be clear how much research they've done by how in-depth their response to this question is!
Learn more about the eco-friendly property management trend. Read Green Property Management: 9 Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Property Management.
Asking the essential questions listed above is a significant first step. Yet, it's also necessary to see how your interviewees conduct themselves when it matters most.
Before you end the interview, take them to an empty unit and have them give you an apartment tour as if they already had the job and you were a potential tenant.
No, it's not to gauge if they can estimate the unit's square footage or if they can identify the specific type of flooring you recently installed.
It's to see how comfortable they are in showing the place and whether pointing out the unit's highlights seems forced or instinctual.
For example, even an inexperienced agent will call attention to all the natural light that floods in from the large living room windows. They should make mention of all the great storage space available in the spacious bedroom walk-in closet. They should point out the high-end fixtures in the bathroom or the high-end appliances in the kitchen.
At the end of the question and answer session and your apartment tour, be sure to ask the candidate if they have any questions for you.
If they don't have any questions for you, that's your final major concern, and you should rule that person out as a viable candidate.
All interviewees should come prepared with a list of questions for you. Even if you’ve answered all their questions in the interview, a good agent will have at least one great question prepared to pull out at this exact moment.
Candidates who don’t have any questions for you are either unprepared, uninterested, unqualified, or all three.
Asking questions about career goals, such as “where do you see yourself in five years?” is not the best way to get to know a potential new hire. It’s much more important to ask questions about their prior experience to get a sense of where they’ve been and what they already know.
If you're ready to hire a new leasing agent, keep our red flags in mind. If the candidate seems like a great fit, you may overlook one of them.
But two or more red flags?
Well, that means you have more interviews to do.
Do you want to take a load off your hardworking leasing agents?
Schedule a demo today.