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Interviews are Active Conversations, not a Call-and-Response Routine

If you’re looking for a technical real estate private equity guide, look no further than this link. Yet if you’re looking to study behaviorals, you’re in the right place. The first installment of this series can be found here, detailing (i) the differences in preparing for technical vs. behavioral questions, and (ii) the specific questions (grouped by archetype) that you should prepare to answer before interviewing. This post continues that trend, diving into the importance of setting an active conversational tone during your interviews to gain an edge on your competition that may make the rookie mistake of treating the interview like a passive call-and-response routine.

Do Not Passively Allow your Interviewer to Steer the Entire Conversation

I want to get this out of the way as early as possible in this series. The number one rookie mistake that costs too many otherwise-qualified candidates the opportunity to land a great job is treating an interview like a passive call-and-response routine. By this I mean waiting for your interviewer to ask a question, then answering it, then waiting for the next question, and so on. Real estate private equity investors are meant to be driven, curious individuals.

But if you take a passive role during your interviews, by letting the interviewer steer the conversation the entire way, then you won’t come across as a proactive problem-solver. Also, you’ll be missing the opportunity to weave in your strongest interview points if you let the interviewer control the entire conversation. If you are on this site looking for the best real estate private equity course, you are clearly a curious person. So make sure this gets through to your interviewer! But how?

Play an Active, Conversational Role During your Interviews

Treat the interview like an interesting conversation. When you walk in, introduce yourself and try to quickly, yet naturally, learn something small about your interviewer before they inevitably ask you to walk through your resume and tell your life story. You could learn anything big or small, from where they went to college to how long they’ve worked at the firm. The goal is to establish a modicum of rapport that you will then develop over the course of your thirty minutes together. I’ll grant you bonus points if you can naturally segue the entry conversation you’ve sparked into the inevitable background dump on yourself.

The goal is not to become best friends with your interviewer, but to build a small rapport. You might be surprised by the competitive edge that even a tiny rapport can give you over the competition. Having been on both sides of the interview table, and having now mentored countless others, I can say with confidence that this rapport-building element is absolutely essential

Taking the initiative to build a small rapport signals that you are someone who plays an active role in their career, which is clearly an advantage over the passive candidates who seem as if they need their hand held through even a basic thirty minute conversation. Real estate private equity investing isn’t an easy job – and if you don’t seem proactive in the manner you interview, you risk damaging your image as a future investor who will proactively seek new opportunities and handle responsibilities without micromanagement.


Ultimately, you’re getting hired to take work off somebody’s plate. If your interview style is passive, you won’t seem like a proactive go-getter who can take care of business. However, if you actively build a rapport and treat the interview like a two-way conversation, you’ll seem like much more of a problem solver. Real estate private equity firms are looking to hire problem solvers. If you seem like a candidate who can hit the ground running and take care of business with minimal direction (aka effort and time that your managers could spend elsewhere on more pressing issues), then you will stand a better chance of edging out your competition for the role.

Learn with Leveraged Breakdowns

Leveraged Breakdowns provides the best real estate private equity courses to get you up and running ahead of your next big interview. Our real estate private equity guides cover topics from building LBO models to preparing for technical interview questions. Whether you’ve been studying for a while or are just getting started, we have the insider-crafted materials you need to get a leg up on your competition.

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