Leveraged Breakdowns

Structure of a Real Estate Private Equity Interview

Introduction

Knowing the structure of a typical interview will help you prepare when hunting for real estate private equity jobs. Each individual interviewer will bring their own style. That said, there is a general framework you can expect. This article will cover the course of a typical interview so you can better understand what you’re up against. Below is a high-level take of the typical process you should expect, followed by a few notes and caveats.

Interview Process Summary

TopicNotesMins% Total
Casual IntroductionWalk in, shake hand, learn their name
They ask you if it was easy to sneak out of work, other small talk, etc.
310.00%
Walk through your ResumeLongest uninterrupted monologue you get
Gives you “first shot” to direct the narrative arc of interview afterwards (don’t waste the opportunity)
Guides your interviewer’s follow-up questions
Chance to demonstrates passion
310.00%
Talk to Me about Experiences/Deals on your ResumeTests your knowledge of a specific deal or experience you have on your resume
Technical & behavioral tests woven in – can you speak to your own deal’s metrics and demonstrate an investor’s perspective (not just Excel jockey perspective)
723.30%
Specific TechnicalsVarious technicals (“rank cap rates of all sectors”, “walk me through a DCF”, etc.)
Not associated with any particular deal
See Leveraged Breakdowns’ technical interview guide
If senior person, will likely be less strict math and more high-level understanding of trends and patterns
1033.30%
Brain TeasersEstimate how many piano tuners in Chicago? etc.
Not everyone asks brainteasers, may just ask more technical questions
26.70%
You Ask Questions of InterviewerYour chance to ask the interviewer questions, learn about their career
“Okay so we have about five minutes left, is there anything else you’d like to learn about the firm before so-and-so walks in to speak with you next?”
516.70%
Total30100.00%

Notes and Caveats

You should try to figure out as much as possible about the interview you’re about to have ahead of time. Speak with people who are familiar with that particular real estate private equity firm’s culture, or who have worked there or interviewed there.For instance, if they’re quantitatively minded, expect more technicals and hot-seat grilling.

Hopefully the above gives you the impression that interviews are short. Thirty minutes may sound like a long time, but you have to accomplish a lot of work in a short amount of time. Treat every minute like the 3.3% of the total that it is. Your end goal is to leave a lasting impression on the interviewer with whom you are speaking.

Conclusion

As you interview across real estate private equity firms, you will likely develop your own feel for the rhythm of a typical interview. Hopefully the above gives you a good idea of what to expect when applying for real estate private equity jobs, especially if you’re new to the process. If you’re looking for expert advice, check out all that the Manhattan Megafund insiders at Leveraged Breakdowns have to offer.

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