Skills Assessment Interview Examples

You met with a candidate for an hour and they seem fantastic. Now what?

Your next step in the interview process? The Skill Assessment Interview.

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. There are two ways to test candidates; homework assignments and the “working interview”. Both approaches help to answer several key questions:

  1. Can they follow directions?

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

  3. Do they demonstrate a sense of urgency?

  4. Do they have the required skills?

In an ideal scenario, you are able to bring your top two candidates back for a 2 to 3 hour skill assessment interview where they complete one or two assignments while they shadow you and get a sense for what daily life is like in your office. If this is not possible, several types of assignments can be given as “homework”. Here are some criteria for creating meaningful skills assessments.

  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 assignment that will demonstrate 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.


  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 and broker fee. Use formulas to determine Estimated Gross Profit (List Price x Listing Commission x Office Split) and Net Income.


  1. Create a visually appealing spreadsheet.

  2. Copy the template to several worksheets in the workbook.

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

  4. 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.


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

  2. Use all of the photos provided.

  3. Write a compelling property description.

  4. Use Agent’s logo and brand colors.

  5. Proofread carefully for typos.

  6. Complete assignment in 1 hour.

As an alternative, teach the candidate something they do not know how to do and then ask them to do it. (For example, how to enter a listing into the MLS.)

This type of assessment helps you determine:

  • If your teaching style compatible with their learning style

  • How quickly they learn new information

  • How they respond when they don’t understand something

  • If they take notes, and how they retain new information

Remember: the best skills assessments are taken from real life and demonstrate mastery of the core functions of the job.  And, they show you not only what a candidate knows, but how they figure out things they don’t know.  Finally, DO NOT have candidates perform any actual work for you unless you pay them properly for their time. If you have questions about how to structure a skill assessment interview, contact us