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The real story on real estate recruiting

Suzanne Nevant and Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies

Recruiting is a daunting task for students, even as classes end and breaks begin. Whether you are a junior who knows there is a big chance next summer’s internship could turn into a full-time position or a senior who wants things set in stone to take away the worry, recruiting is a stressful time for everybody.

As the years progress, recruiting starts earlier and earlier, it is important to stay on top of the game as many internship applications are filled on a rolling basis. You don’t want to apply only to find out that all the positions  already have been filled.

The comforting part about recruiting at Carolina are the resources to help you at UNC Kenan-Flagler. I began by visiting the Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies to learn about a few companies that would fit my work style. The team shared alumni contacts who I contacted to learn more about their companies. They even gave me a copy of “Global Property Investment” to look over for technical interviews.

As with all business careers, one of the most important aspects of recruiting is networking. A Tar Heel always loves helping out another Tar Heel when you reach out. You can search for alumni at specific companies through the UNC Kenan-Flagler intranet or a visit the School’s centers for industry-specific contacts.

I learned something important during a phone call with a UNC grad who had worked at my “dream” company before leaving to pursue a different career. What I learned about the firm was opposite of everything I had thought based on its information session and the glory that the recruiters brought to the company. I furthered my research on what it was like to work at the firm and decided other organizations might be a better match for my goals. By talking with people in the UNC network, you get honest opinions and advice – and maybe additional contacts with whom you can connect.

Following research on the best companies to apply to, your next step is to make sure your resume is updated and tailored to the position you want. If you are targeting a specific industry, make sure all of your involvement with it – such as club membership or concentration area – is highlighted on your resume. Be sure there are no grammatical errors; have other people review it to catch mistakes you might not see. You also can set up an appointment with a career advisor in the Undergraduate Business Program Team to go over your resume with you in detail.

After you have submitted your application, be ready for interviews because you never know how fast a company will respond. There are usually time constraints in when you must submit your video interviews or set up a phone screen, so be prepared with a general idea of your answers to behavioral questions and practice them. Through your UNC Career Services Resources, the “Big Interview” program has practice interview questions and you can watch yourself on the video as if it is the real experience.

Many first-round interviews at large firms are video interviews with of 10-15 questions in which the question pops up, you have a set amount of time to think about it (30-60 seconds) and the video starts recording. Once the video starts, answer your questions as if you are talking to a person. Look at the camera in the computer and not at yourself on the screen. And dress your best – as if you were attending an in-person interview.

The next step is usually the final round. Every company is different, but you are likely to have multiple interviews in one day. There is usually another behavioral interview as well as an interview with semi-technical questions. Company recruiters know that you, as an intern, are still a student and only expect you to know the basics of the position for which you are applying. Always conduct in-depth research on the company before the interview (know about their recent deals, for instance) and have a solid understanding about the position you are applying for and know why you chose it and that specific company.

For real estate students like me, if you have yet to take Intro to Real Estate and want learn basic terminology and equations, reach out to Professor Robert Slater, who loves to help out interested students and might share important PowerPoint presentations and information.

UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a great education which prepares students for interviews, but it is up to you to put in the time and effort to make your career goals possible. There are many resources to help you prepare, so take a deep breath and get the process rolling!

By Suzanne Nevant (BSBA ’21)