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Equity Residential Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

How do you feel about saying no to a client with unreasonable requests?

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Equity Residential Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    How do you feel about saying no to a client with unreasonable requests?

      Real estate and property development are very customer-focused industries as they rely heavily on reputation, referrals, and repeat business. The interviewer wants to know where you draw the line when it comes to outlandish requests or needs that you cannot deliver.

      Give an example of a time when you had to say no to a client or prospect. Assure the interviewer that you are happy to accommodate any Equity Residential client within reason! Complete your answer by solidifying the fact that you put your clients first.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Many of my clients think that I perform miracles overnight, especially when it comes to contract changes and special requests. I once had a client tell me they needed a guarantee that they would double their revenue if they moved their store to one of our new builds. Of course, I could not promise anything like that. What I did do, in exchange, was offered them a month of free rent so that they could put more funds into marketing as they amped up for their move. The client was happy in the end and signed a four-year lease."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Clients who demand the impossible are not the ones that I try to attract or keep if I can be frank. I love when clients have special requests and innovative ideas that I can bring to the attention of my head office; however, demanding something unreasonable is a different story. I had a client once demand that I fly to their city for a face to face meeting the next day if I wanted to keep the account. They were a challenging account with minimal spend. My director said no, I could not. So, I let the client know that I was happy with Skype or book them in when I was in their city next. They refused and fired me. They were not an ideal client, and I quickly recovered because I continued to put my best efforts towards my honest and loyal existing client base."

  2. 2.

    Do you have experience creating or managing a marketing plan for establishing new customer relationships?

      If you are applying to a sales or marketing role with Equity Residential, chances are you have some experience with marketing plans for building new customer interest in the property development space. Discuss the knowledge you bring in generating new leads, and the part you have played in sales and marketing plans.

      If you do not have experience in creating a marketing plan or working within one, be sure to mention that you are here to learn and grow. Enthusiasm will be the key to a successful response for you.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have around seven years of experience in sales and marketing with a focus on new client development. For most of my career, I have been in business development, creating plans for customer attraction and prospecting. I am excellent in managing marketing plans, which includes analyzing the ROI of the approaches that I put into motion."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am a recent marketing graduate, so the bulk of my experience is from projects that I put together while obtaining my degree, and the case studies that I immersed myself in, during that time. I am very open to learning new tips and tricks to establishing new customer relationships, increasing revenue, and how a solid marketing plan plays a role in achieving those goals."

  3. 3.

    Tell me about a career related goal that you set and did not reach.

      The interviewer wants to see that you are ambitious but also able to recover when you do not reach your career goals as expected. Tell the interviewer about a goal you set for yourself, but failed to meet. Show Equity Residential your ambitious side and that, rather than giving up, you are going to try to achieve that goal again. Everyone has goals they have failed to reach, so do not be embarrassed to talk about past perceived failures. The interviewer is more interested in knowing that you are persistent and tenacious.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "This past year, I wanted to double my sales, earning a commission check of $80,000. I worked very hard by making additional cold calls, doubling up on my client touchpoints, and being available for my clients 24/7. In the end, I did not reach my goal. However, I did beat my quota by 40%, which was still an excellent achievement. I aim to achieve my goal for next year by incorporating more marketing materials and opportunities for property tours."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I set a goal to receive a promotion to property manager last year. I did not get the promotion; rather, they transferred an existing manager from an alternate location. It was a disappointment, but I understood their side. It's often easier to transfer than to train a new person. To overcome this obstacle, I am seeking a new role with an organization like Equity Residential where there are more growth opportunities present."

  4. 4.

    Name for me some benefits of mixed use developments.

      Equity Residential puts a significant focus on the value that their developments offer to their clients and the community. It's vital that you go into your interview with a solid idea of why mixed-use property developments are essential for the community and your clients. Some reasons include:

      - They offer a greater variety of single and family housing options when it comes to design and lifestyle.
      - They provide more development options in areas that are dense, such as city centers.
      - They reduce pollution and traffic by encouraging live/work/play lifestyles.

      Be prepared to give the interviewer your ideas on the benefits of mixed-use developments.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "There are layers and layers of benefits to mixed-use developments. When it comes to people who work and live in the area, dwellers do not need to commute as often. This factor saves on costs and helps the environment. Next, mixed-use developments are commonly used to revitalize older or underdeveloped areas. These improvements then fuel local economic growth as people become customers for local business owners. Lately, the tax revenue that comes from increased property values is significant."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have researched a great deal on mixed-use developments and how they impact communities and the economy. I believe the greatest benefit is how fresh developments can revive forgotten communities. When this revitalization occurs, small business owners, grocers, retailers, and restauranteurs all benefit from more business and new customers."

  5. 5.

    This role requires you to understand property management, operations, marketing, and leasing. Walk me through your knowledge and experience in each of these areas.

      The interviewer wants to ensure that you have a good understanding of the many facets of Equity Residential. In the property development industry, you will likely have exposure to business activities surrounding the management, operations, marketing, and leasing of mixed-use properties.

      If you have experience in these areas, take the time to walk the interviewer through your career, expressing your level of expertise through a 1-10 scale or ranking your level of understanding from beginner to intermediate, advanced, or expert.

      If you do not have experience in these topics, be sure to remind the interviewer that you are newer to your career, but you are keen on research and learning new skills.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have worked in real estate for twelve years; three of those years specifically in commercial leasing and the other nine in residential sales. My career path offers a great balance of the skills you seek at Equity Residential. I have an advanced understanding of property management, operations, marketing, and sales and leasing. I am eager to take on a variety of tasks here, should I be your ideal candidate."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My understanding of property development topics is limited; however, I have been doing some studying on sales and leasing, and marketing for mixed-use properties since I applied to this role. Should Equity Residential hire me, you will find that I am a fast learner and a great researcher. I will always find the answers needed to perform my job to the best of my ability."

  6. 6.

    Do you have experience giving property tours?

      As a professional in the mixed-use property development, you understand that property tours are essential because they allow agents to gain knowledge on the currently available inventory for commercial or home properties. Property tours show off what your company is completing, and is a way to entice new buyers, and business owners to invest in your development. Discuss any experience you have facilitating tours. If you are new to your career, be sure to express your willingness to learn and be trained in how to lead a tour properly.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have given many property tours in my career and enjoy doing them as well. Conducting property tours allows immersion in conversations that I may not have had otherwise. I can get to know people, gauge their interest, and build rapport with interested parties."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I understand the importance of property tours, and that they can happen at a few stages of development. I have been learning more about virtual tours as well, in hopes of staying up to date on the latest trends in the industry. I look forward to learning more at Equity Residential and eventually conducting tours of my own."

  7. 7.

    Are you applying for a job with any Equity Residential competitors?

      The world of property developers can be a small one, so the interviewer would like to know if they will need to compete with other companies, let alone their local competitors when it comes to hiring you.

      Tell the interviewer about your search so far without disclosing every single detail. Answer this question with a balance between creating some urgency in the interviewer, and not divulging every aspect of your job search. Be sure to solidify your interest in Equity Residential as well.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "It's safe to say that it's a candidate's market right now, with so many available opportunities in the commercial and mixed-use property development industry. With that said, I am only applying to the best roles with companies with which I can grow. I look forward to further discussing your opportunity here at Equity Residential."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am in the process of exploring opportunities with property developers that appeal to me; however, I am selective on where my applications go. I am very excited about this particular opportunity with Equity Residential because of your solid reputation and amazing mixed-use developments that are transforming our city. I look forward to the next round of interviews."

  8. 8.

    Do you have a solid understanding of architectural documents and tools such as blueprints and models?

      As a mixed-use property developer, Equity Residential will have employee expectations that include the ability to read basic blueprints or understand simple models. Of course, you don't need to be an architect! But you should have a basic ability to hold your own in client or internal meetings, through property tours, or with pre-sale activities.

      Discuss with the interviewer your exposure to architectural documents and models. If you are new to your career, express your willingness to learn more before beginning your role with Equity Residential.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have had exposure to blueprints and models for many years, having sold condo developments in the past. I am very confident in my ability to understand the architectural documents shown to me in this position and, if there is a factor that I do not know, I will quickly learn what I need. The topics I am best versed in include blueprint symbols and abbreviations, interpreting 2D views of 3D objects, and using the information found in these models and drawings to create an overall picture of a development project."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I recently enrolled in a course at my local college called 'Blueprint Reading Basics.' In this four week course, I will learn about the types of drawings used during the design process, print reading, standardized blueprint symbols, and abbreviations for residential and commercial buildings."

  9. 9.

    How did you bring value to your most recent position?

      Equity Residential needs to know that if hired, you will bring your best work and talents to the office every single day! The interviewer wants to hear more about your recent successes and bragging points.

      Think of the top skills you apply in your current job and any accolades you have received lately. Perhaps you influenced changes that saved the company money. Maybe you were the top-grossing salesperson last year. Think of your strengths in action! If you are reliable, talk about how consistent your work has been and how you are in constant support of your coworkers. If you have a strong work ethic, share how you accomplished a project amid harsh obstacles.

      If you are new to your career, you can talk about any value you have brought to a volunteer position, a team sport, or a group project at university.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "As a top-grossing lease agent, I bring immense financial value to my current company. I've been among the top three agents since starting in the role. I also helped create a community group within the organization that spearheads volunteer efforts on behalf of our development company. This effort has greatly increased our exposure and reputation in the region as a mixed-use property developer."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I care deeply about delivering value to the group projects that I am a part of in my university coursework. I work hard to understand the goals of the group so that I can position my talents to serve the group best. This approach is one I plan to bring to Equity Residential as well."

  10. 10.

    Walk me through your education, and how it will help you in this role with Equity Residential.

      An education in construction, property management, or real estate may not be a requirement at Equity Residential but related education is always a bonus. Your training may be in the form of a formal degree, online coursework, workshops, or certifications. If your educational background is not related to the industry, take some time to think about the ways that your training will translate to this particular position.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have a Bachelor of Science in Construction Project Management from XYZ University. My courses focused on communication and presentation skills, technical mathematics, materials and methods of construction, and project cost estimation. I was top of my class in most of the technical coursework and found that to be my specialty. This education has helped me to carve out a very successful career in the mixed-use property development space."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My formal education is in Business Analysis. Although not specific to construction, property development, or real estate; my knowledge is still highly transferable. Valuable coursework comes in the form of math, research, and engineering topics. If you require specific construction-related coursework, I am happy to add this to my career plan."

  11. 11.

    Why are you the best candidate for Equity Residential?

      It can feel unnatural to brag about yourself, but when the interviewer asks this type of question, there is no better time to highlight what makes you the top choice for Equity Residential. Discuss the characteristics and career accomplishments have made you a star in the past. Perhaps you have received some academic awards or have been given individual accolades in your most recent position. There is nobody like you, and now you need to express that to the interviewer!

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "When I read your job posting I smiled from ear to ear because it was as though you had written it with me in mind. I know that I am the best candidate for this role because I have eight years of exceeding my sales goals, residential and commercial real estate sales experience, and I know the local market inside and out. These factors make me ideally positioned to help Equity Residential continue to succeed in this region."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Although I am new to my career, I believe my success with Equity Residential will come from the soft skills that you are looking for, including great communication and research abilities. I learned a lot about communication and research while obtaining my business degree and look forward to putting these skills to work for you."

  12. 12.

    How do you remain on top of changing market conditions when it comes to the sale and lease of commercial and residential property?

      The hiring authority wants to know where you get your information from, and which resources you turn to when you want to be in-the-know on industry trends and happenings. Your market will change regularly, and part of your role working for a mixed-use property developer is to know how these market changes will impact your clients, employer, and prospects. If you are new to the industry, it's okay to ask for resource recommendations!

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I subscribe to a few industry podcasts for overall global news related to property development and real estate. I read the local newspaper daily for clues on what is happening in various communities around me. Also, I rely on my network and industry events to stay in-the-know on new developments and legislation in my area."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am very open to suggestions on how to stay in tune with what's happening in the property development industry in our region. At the moment, I read online magazines such as Urban Developer and Land Developer Global."

  13. 13.

    What does the 'live, shop, work, play' lifestyle mean to you?

      It's time to show the interviewer that you have an understanding, and an appreciation, for what mixed-use properties bring to the table. You understand that many people, perhaps yourself included, appreciate the fact that they can live in an area surrounded by buzz, locally-owned businesses, people who can walk and bike to work, and then enjoy the outdoor spaces when the work is done. Give a genuine and heartfelt response to what the 'live, shop, work, play' lifestyle means to you.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have seen many communities in our city shift to the 'live, shop, work, play' lifestyle and I greatly appreciate what these developments do to boost the areas where they are built. The freedom that these developments offer for business owners and dwellers alike is terrific. The concept helps with environmental sustainability as studies show that mixed-use developments encourage more walking and biking as opposed to driving. Flexible spaces are economical and land efficient as well. I believe that with mixed-use developments, everyone wins."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I recently moved into a Equity Residential development, and I wouldn't change it for the world! I get to walk out of my lobby and grab breakfast at a family-owned bakery and coffee shop. I can zip down the bike path to nearly any activity I choose. The 'live, shop, work, play' lifestyle is one that I appreciate not only because of what I can do so close to home but also for what the development has done to revitalize the community and boost previously struggling businesses."

  14. 14.

    Do you have experience leading teams of contractors or tradespeople? If so, how many, and under what job descriptions?

      The answer to this question should be straightforward for you. List for the interviewer how many people you have led, what their job titles were, and a bit about yourself as a leader. If you do not have leadership experience, lean on an example of a time when you led others without leadership being a formal requirement of the job.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have led teams of up to 25 people; including general contractors, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and junior project managers. I take pride in being a communicative leader who expresses deadlines and clear expectations from the start. My strength is in gaining buy-in from the team as a whole, ensuring a harmonious work environment with a focus on safety."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am new to my career, so my leadership responsibilities have not been formal; however, I do tend to take on a leadership style role in a group setting. Even while attending university, I had a keen ability to keep teams working well together on major group-based projects. I look forward to gaining even more leadership experience with Equity Residential and, one day, leading a team of my own here."

  15. 15.

    Talk to me about the project volume you are accustomed to handling.

      It's a good idea to go into your interview with a sense of the volume of projects that you would be handling; should you be the successful candidate. The Equity Residential website should give you some idea of the number of projects they complete every year. If the answer is not there, it's okay to ask!

      Take note of your busiest times in past jobs, and come prepared to discuss the type of work volume that you have managed in the past.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I read on your website that you develop around five new mixed-use projects per year, which is a very significant volume. Equity Residential has developed some of my favorite buildings in a variety of neighborhoods across the city, and I look forward to contributing to those projects. I currently manage one development project at a time, which averages around 40 residential units and six for-lease commercial spaces. I am confident that I can take hold of the project volume here with full competency."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "As a recent graduate who is also completing my final internship, I am accustomed to a large volume of work. Currently, I handle important paperwork and communication for a 70-unit residential building as the intern and assistant to the senior leasing agent. In addition to this, I carry a full-time course load and am earning exceptional grades. Could you tell me more about the project volume that you handle and the workload for this specific role?"

  16. 16.

    Competition in the mixed-use development industry is gaining momentum every day. What sets Equity Residential apart from our local competitors?

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  17. 17.

    How do you manage your projects and all the moving parts that come along with new developments?

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  18. 18.

    Business owners and home buyers often expect service on weekends and evenings. Are you available to work outside of a typical 9-5 schedule?

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  19. 19.

    If hired at Equity Residential, how will you source new sales and leasing opportunities?

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  20. 20.

    How do you approach networking and reaching out to local realtors?

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  21. 21.

    Tell me about your experience working alongside sales, leasing, and project managers.

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  22. 22.

    How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?

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  23. 23.

    When have you worked with someone opposite of your personality or work style? How did you make the partnership work?

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  24. 24.

    How do you handle communicating bad news to a client, such as a delay in project timelines?

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  25. 25.

    What do you know about the workplace culture at Equity Residential?

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  26. 26.

    Tell me about a development project you worked on where a conventional approach was not suitable.

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  27. 27.

    What are your strengths, as they relate to the property development industry?

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  28. 28.

    Compensation aside, what perks do you want to see from Equity Residential?

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  29. 29.

    I would enjoy some insight into what makes you unique. Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume.

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  30. 30.

    What attracts you the most to this position with Equity Residential?

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