The 2 most important assistant interview questions I forgot to ask

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Santa Fe 40056

It the term "fail forward" makes sense to you, then you'll enjoy this blog post. If you only want to hear about how other Realtors do it right every single time, you can skip this one and go on to someone else's inspirational writing.

As of this morning, I have officially been looking for an amazing executive assistant/marketing director for a year. While the rest of you found someone perfect who has been very efficiently running your business and handling your marketing, I continue to search. 

Not that I didn't make a hire in April 2016 that looked like a dream. I just forgot to ask two very important questions. Really simple questions. Those are:

"How do you feel about real estate and Realtors in general?" 


"Are you motivated by money?"

I did all the right things. I had him take personality and skill tests. We talkd about me needing an opposite, someone with the organizational and technical skills I lacked. And we talked about him eventually getting his real estate license, and about me paying bonuses. All of which I found out later was nothing that he wanted. 

I know, I know, I know. One would think that if someone applies for a job as an executive assistant for a Realtor, they have to like the concept of real estate and Realtors, right? Perhaps I overestimated. Perhaps I failed to realize that good jobs are still, in this day and age, somewhat scarce. Perhaps my hire just didn't want to come clean and say he needed the job despite his misgivings about my profession. However, as time went on (and it did go on - I kept him for seven months), it became clear that while he didn't mind the work per se, he really viewed Realtors as used car salesman. Because his organizational and marketing skills were so stellar, along with his client contact, I refused to see that he really, in the end, didn't respect what I did for a living. By the end, I almost felt apologetic about this career that I normally view with such passion.

And then there is the money question. We can do the Big Why question over and over, but what I've found, much to my dismay, is that there are folks out there (especially those that are somewhat younger than me) who simply aren't motivated by money, which for me means growth and ambition and opportunity. When I offered to bonus for specific milestones, my seemingly perfect assistant said, "You know, I'm not really motivated by money. I prefer creativity. If you can feed my creative bent, I'll like this job better."

I don't know about the rest of you. It seems to me if you're not motivated by money, working in a fast-paced real estate office will eventually start to irritate you. Because while we are all about helping people, none of us are doing this as a philanthropic hobby. At least I'm not. I want to make money, and I want to reward the people on my team who help me get there.

Fast forward to today. Rather than jump back in with both feet and start looking for someone after he very graciously left the position, I decided to stick it out on my own. The cost of a bad hire is so high, even when the bad hire didn't do bad work. He just wasn't a good fit.

After five months on my own, I'm looking again. Interviewing two rather interesting looking candidates this morning, both of whom look good on paper. You can be sure of this. I will ask those two questions right out of the box. I want to hire ambition, I want to hire respect for the wonderful thing I do for my clients every day, and I want someone who's willing to grow with my very rapidly growing business. Nothing esoteric or creative about it, although I have no problem with creativity when it leads to profit. I want my business to grow and, dare I say it again? I want to reward the person who helps me get there. With money.  

Anyone else have an interesting bad hire story? I'd love to hear how you did it absolutely right so that I can follow your example.


Posted by

Bunny Terry

Keller Williams Santa Fe

130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite K

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501


Comments (1)

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Hope you find your perfect assistant soon. I, personally, think I would like your old hire...especially for both of these..


.." his organizational and marketing skills were so stellar, along with his client contact,"

"I prefer creativity. If you can feed my creative bent, I'll like this job better."

Mar 21, 2017 08:31 PM