macdonald and company
macdonald and company

Can Real Estate Investment Managers Learn Interview Techniques from Politicians?

Posting date: 12 August 2019
Ben Waddilove our consultant managing the role

Get 'Elected' into a New Job

Politicians are elected based on trust and presenting their personalities in a way that they are perceived as likeable and charismatic (though the Brexit debacle has somewhat damaged this, while dividing opinion in the real estate and built environment). Interviewing for real estate investment management jobs often requires the same skills and several interview techniques used by politicians. Yes, you really can learn something from politicians! 

Get 'Elected' into a New Job

In an election, candidates are pitching for votes every day. In the search for a real estate investment manager job, you are doing the same thing. The people you interview with have the power to ‘vote’ you into the job and, like a politician, you must put your best foot forward to ensure that the vote is a yes.

Stick to the Issues

For a politician to get elected, they need to stick to the issues. The same applies in real estate investment manager interviews. You need to keep the conversation on course and use the interview to demonstrate your skills to the hiring manager. 

Prepare for the Interview

Throughout the interview, remind the interviewer that you have the skills that are relevant to the role. Such skills may include research, financial modelling, negotiating, management of property portfolios, and budgeting. Ensure that as questions are asked, keep your answers clear and concise. It may be tempting to explain every one of your accomplishments in detail, but if you ramble on you will lose the attention of the interviewer.

Use talking points to discuss how qualified you are for the role. Make sure that you prepare for the interview – consider the questions you may be asked, prepare answers, and practice. This preparation is key to delivering succinct answers, and not making the mistake of giving the first answer that pops into your head – which is usually the wrong thing to say.

Know Your Constituency

Before launching their political campaign, a politician needs to get to know their constituency. The same applies when you are searching for a new role in real estate investment management; you need to get to know the company you are interviewing with.

Key Aspects of a Company to Research before Your Real Estate Investment Manager Interview

Demonstrating that you know the company to which you are applying will demonstrate that you are serious about your application. Here are two key aspects to research:

Mission Statement: The company’s website should include its mission statement. This will cover the values and goals of the company. During your interview you can demonstrate how your values align with those of the company, and align the answers to questions asked to the company’s goals. 

Recent Projects: A well-informed conversation during the interview that demonstrates you understand the company can prove your value to the hiring manager. By taking the time to research recent projects the company has worked on, you can understand their vision for the future, the processes they use and the practices they follow, and link your experience to all – thus showing how you will be an investment on future projects.

Researching your interviewer can also play a role in how well your interview goes. Often when you receive your confirmation for your interview, it will let you know who you will be meeting. Take the time to research them through Google Search, or by looking them up on LinkedIn. Press releases and bio pages on the company website can also provide an insight into your interviewer.

By ‘knowing’ your interviewer before you meet, you will be better placed to establish common ground between you – on a professional and personal level. This can add value to you as a candidate during the interview, helping you become the stand-out candidate..

Lobby for Support

Real estate investment management can be as much about who you know as what you know. Identify the people in your network who can vouch for you and show support. People you know may be able to put you forward for vacant positions or talk you up to the hiring manager before an interview. Compare the list of contacts on your interviewer’s LinkedIn connections to your own, and seek a reference as you lobby for your interviewer’s vote.

Lobby for Support

Engaging with other professionals in the real estate industry creates opportunity to widen your network and learn about how other companies work, the technologies they use, and the expectations they have for their employees and their business. You will also develop a network of professionals who can advocate on your behalf when job roles become available. 

Remember, employers often favour candidates that come from referrals, with 88% of employers stating that referrals are the best source for above-average applicants. This is a major reason our clients work with us – our recommendations are considered as referrals. When you have someone lobbying for you, your chance of landing your dream job are much greater.

Summary

Connect with Ben Waddilove, Macdonald & Company, Real Estate Investment & Funds, London

Interviewing for Real Estate Investment Manager jobs is all about presenting your best self. Like a politician, you are trying to get ‘elected’ into your role. As such, there are many things you can learn from politicians that you can employ in your job search and interview technique. From researching your interviewer to encouraging referrals from your connections, think like a politician in your next interview to land the job.

For a confidential discussion about your career in real estate investment management, and to learn of some of the most exciting opportunities in the market today, contact the Real Estate Investment Management Team at Macdonald & Company.

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