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As a broker, one of your biggest challenges is finding agents who are capable of becoming top producers. It’s a tall order. Each agent who joins your brokerage represents a substantial investment of time and resources. Every hire needs to count.

Is it possible to improve your hiring results with a deeper understanding of job requirements and how to screen for those skills while interviewing candidates?

At the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), we’ve been exploring ways to help brokers enhance their interviewing skills and hiring decisions with assistance from Paramount Consulting Group, a Columbus, Ohio-based firm that specializes in hiring decisions and team development.

The results of this research were shared with brokers who attended our recent Broker’s Edge programs in Portland, Ore., and Pinehurst, N.C.

Which qualities were most essential for top-producing agents? Among more than three dozen skills and traits, the research identified six critical dimensions within two distinct categories:

Intrinsic behavioral traits required for the job:

Interaction – Frequent communication and engagement with others
Customer-orientation – Identifying and fulfilling customers’ expectations
Competitive nature – Assertiveness and a “will to win” in highly competitive situations

Personal skills already possessed or capable of being developed:

Problem-solving abilities – Anticipating, analyzing, diagnosing and resolving problems
Personal accountability – The capacity to answer for individual actions
Resiliency – The ability to quickly recover from adversity

Additionally, it’s essential to understand a candidate’s passions and motivations, since these factors are the energy behind an agent’s actions and the intrinsic drivers of performance.

Ask Better Questions
It’s not enough to know which qualities are most desirable. The more significant challenge is learning how to identify those qualities during a job interview. Hiring experts emphasize that it’s crucial to develop a list of carefully crafted questions that will reveal the extent to which a candidate measures up against essential job skills.

This is true regardless of whether you’re interviewing a new agent, an office manager or a transaction coordinator. Hiring decisions improve if you resist relying on “gut hunches” and learn how to leverage professional interviewing techniques.

For example, to probe for an agent’s ability to display optimism and enthusiasm in dealing with others, you might ask:

  • How do you handle frequent interruptions from other people?
  • How do you respond to people who ask you question after question?
  • Are you more comfortable with details or people?

Listen carefully to a candidate’s answers. For better side-by-side comparisons, it’s best to work from the same list of questions.

Additionally, pay attention to the questions each candidate asks. Their questions are excellent indicators of how well they understand job requirements, as well as what’s driving their interest in the position.

Helpful Resources
NAR offers a broad collection of resources for broker/owners and managers at Through this link, you can find details for upcoming Broker’s Edge events and the annual REALTOR® Broker Summit, held March 31 through April 1, 2020, in Hollywood, Calif.

Presentations from prior Broker’s Edge events, including “Recruiting and Selecting the Right Agents,” can be found at

Finally, if you’d like to request a complimentary copy of the Real Estate Agent Interview Guide, send a request to Paramount Consulting Group via

Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit