If not this job, then what? In an interview.

So, for the last few weeks, I’ve been interviewing candidates in an attempt to find a salesperson in real estate.  I’ve interviewed just over 35 candidates from a pool of just over 280, both experienced, and inexperienced. Both prepared, and unprepared.

People, please, for the love of God, be prepared for your interview’s, that includes a good dose of self-awareness.

Some basic rules for you,

1.Be presentable, hygienic and groomed. Ask yourself this question. Would you trust someone with tattoo’s, nose rings, and dreadlocks and had a bad case of BO?(body odour/odour depending on what side of the pond you live in).  Come on, are you serious? I’d expect that maybe from a teenager, not adults. Would you accept that from a lawyer, accountant, doctor or any type of technical/professional persons or a sales professional?  Now, I know some of you might be thinking, well they could be on medication or other physical issues. Whilst that may be the case, you are competing for a livelihood.  Let me ask you this, would you entrust someone with the negotiation and contract of your home? Let me ask you a further question if all things being equal, would you choose someone that looks the part or someone that doesn’t?  Selling is difficult already, you don’t want another barrier that may affect your results. Show up with ironed clothes, deodorant and groomed, if you can’t, outframe the obvious so it doesn’t become the focus the interview. Otherwise, I’m thinking of “risk”.

2. Know something about the area(real estate): Showing up to a sales job and not knowing something about the product/service e.g. population of the area, number of householders, clearing rates, competitors, the number of stock available, etc.. is not a winning strategy. Especially when you get asked, What do you know about the area? and you respond with, “ahhh…mmmm not a lot’. Ouch. The interviewer is thinking “risk”.

3. Know something about the role. Anything. Know anything, like what the role of a salesperson is, what some sales activities could be? Even if you’re a beginner. Youtube it, Google it. Do something that gives you some applicable knowledge and demonstrates that you maybe…. care? If not, the interviewer is thinking “risk”.

4. As an interviewer, if I ask you a question like, “if you don’t get this job, then what?” Don’t say, “I want to get into child care” or “I want to work in retail” or “I just want any job”. That is not an answer that inspires value nor commitment. The interviewer is thinking “risk”.

5. In your resume, in the career objectives section… It would be useful to make the objective about the industry you’re going for or the position you’re going for not something completely unrelated. Out of the 280 resumes, conservatively 50% of them had things like, “want to further develop my horticultural skills.” What? This is real estate sales or ” want to become a proficient online seller”,  Huh…? This is real estate sales. I’m thinking of “risk”. You don’t even get a look in, you’re out.

6. Genuine interest. Try and I mean try to show some enthusiasm, some bright-eyed enthusiasm, like maybe you want the job? Have a strong cup of coffee before you walk in. Put a spring in your step. Professor Albert Mehrabian said 55% of your communication is body language. If I’m relaxed don’t match and mirror me, don’t get comfortable. This is a formal interview, be formal, be professional show me that you’re self-aware,  otherwise, I’m thinking “risk”.

7. If you get a question like, “Just say we future paced you 10 years from now, what income would you expect to be earning?” Some of the answers I got, “what I’d be earning now”, “$10,000 on top of the base rate”, “$60,000 on top of the base pay”. Whilst there is no right answer to this question, you need to be thinking an obscene number. This is sales,  it shows me you’re a level of commitment, resilience and pushing forward. P.S. Don’t get confused between motivation and commitment. Motivation is a fleeting thing, whereas commitment means you’re all in, all the time, every day (and twice on Sundays). It shows that you are a go-getter. In sales, you have to demonstrate hunger, and this is one way of showing that and no it’s not the only way (planning, prioritising and execution are others). If you don’t demonstrate any of these, I’m thinking “risk”.

8. Prospecting and resiliency, know what that means. So, if you get a question like, “you’ve made 400 calls & 5 appraisals this week and every call was a ‘No’, ‘I’m not interested’ or worse. How would you manage yourself? What would you do?” Answers I heard, “I’d quit, I’d get fired, I mustn’t be very good, I wasn’t trained properly, It really wouldn’t bother me” , etc. Think about it this way, if you weren’t getting the results, would you seek help and or assistance? Imagine doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. Who coined it as insane? And you already guessed it, I’m thinking “risk”.

Last point….(I promise). When you get asked, ‘do you have any questions”? If you don’t want the job, say no. If you do want the job it’s an opportunity to engage the interviewer at a deeper level about the role, the organisation, the industry, their vision mission purpose, greatest barriers, expectations in the first 30 days, etc. Just be careful not to ask questions that are freely available on their website. Here are some questions you could ask:

a. What does a typical day look like?(Is this business seasonal, when should I be putting in the extra effort so I can still meet and exceed targets?)

b. Who will I be working with or coaching me?

c. What would you say the management and leadership style is like?

d. When do team members typically start seeing results? (what works best?, how would you approach this?)

e. What could be some of the barriers and opportunities I might encounter?

f. Why do you like working for this organisation?(A very telling question)

If you’ve made the above mistakes, let this be the last time you make them. As always, a rejection, a no, a no you’re not a team fit, or any other turn down, let that be the indicator that some part of your interview process/engagement has to change. If you’re getting “no’s” all it means is you don’t know something. Quickly find out what you don’t know and keep testing until you get it right. DO NOT internalise the rejection, all its telling you is the process you’ve used needs to change. Focus on the change.(This is not about beating yourself up, the market will do that for you.)

Feel free to ask any questions. I will do my best to answer them and if can’t I can find people who can.

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