Interview Skill Tests for Real Estate Assistants

Have you ever asked, “How are your Excel skills?” when interviewing a candidate for an admin position? Or maybe you’ve asked, “Do you know how to use the MLS?” These are fair questions to ask but if someone says that they know how to use Excel what does that really mean? If you require your employee to have specific skills when they join your team then you need to test candidates for those skills before you hire them. I like interview homework assignments for a lot of reasons. A few big ones are:

-          Can they following directions?

-          Do they present their work in a clean and complete manner?

-          Do they demonstrate a sense of urgency?

-          Do they have the required skills?

Here are some guidelines for assigning an interview homework assignment:

  1. Identify one or two skills that are absolutely required for the position.
  2. Define for yourself what an acceptable level of knowledge is. For example, does a candidate need to know how to use Excel as a database or do they need to know how to build pivot tables?
  3. Write a clear and concise homework assignment that will demonstrates skill level. Define what a successful result looks like.
  4. Make sure that the assignment doesn’t take more than 2 hours to complete.
  5. Set a deadline for completion.
  6. Give all candidates the same assignment.

Here are a few examples:

Create a Transaction Checklist

Instructions: Draft a complete and detailed Transaction Checklist starting from Signed Listing Agreement through Post Close. Our office paperwork checklist is provided as a starting point.


-          This is a process checklist, not a paperwork checklist. It should list all of the items that you as Transaction Manager are responsible for during a transaction from the moment the Agent receives a signed Listing Agreement through to Post Close.

-          This checklist should include reminders for due dates, marketing tasks, client follow-up, and administrative tasks related to a transaction.

-          I am looking for a thorough and complete checklist that you would hand to a brand new assistant to instruct them on every aspect of the transaction process. Be as detailed as possible. I know that you don’t know how I do business; I want to see how you would manage a transaction if you were on your own.

-          The design of the checklist should be attractive and user friendly.

Build a Listing Profit and Loss Statement in Excel

Instructions: We want to track our Net Profit from each Listing. Build a P&L template that we can use to track profit and expenses for each listing. Include common Listing marketing expenses as well as transaction coordinator fee. Use formulas to determine Estimated Gross Profit (List Price x Listing Commission x Office Split) and Net Income.


-          Create a visually appealing spreadsheet.

-          Copy the template to several worksheets in the workbook.

-          Make Worksheet 1 a Summary Page that automatically tracks totals for all linked sheets.

-          Complete assignment in 2 hours.

Create a Listing Flyer

Instructions: Reference the property data and photos included with this assignment. Create a full color, one page flyer for this home. Use your imagination to add any missing property details.


-          Create the flyer in ____________(Name the program that you use: Photoshop, Publisher, Word, etc.)

-          Use all of the photos provided.

-          Write a compelling property description.

-          Use Agent’s logo and brand colors.

-          Proofread carefully for typos.

-          Complete assignment in 1 hour.