New Note

Create a note for yourself from this lesson. Notes allow you to quickly jot down any valuable information you'd like to review later. You can find your notes by clicking on "My Notes" in the profile navigation menu.

Business Development

REI Outsourcing: Simple Steps to Hiring Your First Intern

pagesIn the wake of our previous lesson about REI outsourcing, your eyes may now be opening to how interns can be a powerful accelerant to the growth of your real estate investing business. You may even be ready to give it a go. But needing something and knowing how to get it are two different things, aren't they?

I know all too well how intimidating it can be to test new waters, so I'm going to share the exact steps I've learned to follow each and every time we hire a new intern (and each time we help one of our friends or colleagues to the same). Follow these steps exactly and you'll have your first intern in no time.

Step 1:  Decide What The Intern Is Going To Do

If you read our first Mogul lesson on understanding the value of interns, you know that I left you with a short action item to complete – writing down a list of all the projects and tasks you wish you could complete in your business but don’t have enough time or resources to do. 

listIf you haven’t written out that list, stop reading and quickly jot down your top priority projects you’d like help with to grow your business.

Now that you have a list, you can start looking at each project and task and determine if it is something an intern can help you with (more on this in our next lesson).

Your Real Estate Investing Intern could be focused on “traditional” real estate investing work, such as:

  • Evaluating properties
  • Meeting with contractors
  • Getting repair estimates
  • Coordinating closings
  • And/Or focusing on the transactional side of real estate investing

Or you could have an Internet Marketing Intern who could be focused on using the Internet for marketing your business.  Your Internet Marketing Intern could do this by building a blog, and then having an accompanying Twitter feed, YouTube Channel, and lead capture pages.  They can create content and set out “link bait” (in the form of articles, free reports and videos) to help you build a buyers list.

As you can see, the first type of internship will require someone who is interested in real estate, but the second type of internship could be for anyone interested in marketing, internet marketing, or general business.

responsibilityStep 2:  Create a List of Responsibilities For Each Internship

This is where you take the list of projects you’ve identified as intern-friendly projects and actually break down the individual tasks that will need to be done to accomplish each project’s goals. 

This might change over time, but it’s important to know exactly what an intern would be doing for your business. The list of specific responsibilities will also become part of the intern’s job description (more on this later). 

Here is a sample task list for each type of internship we identified in Step 1:

Real Estate Investing Internship

  • Evaluating properties for acquisition
  • “Walking” properties, meeting with contractors, and creating videos of properties
  • Analyzing comparable sales data and estimating potential profit of individual deals
  • Analyzing data for multi-family properties to evaluate cash flow, cap rates and profitability
  • Tracking renovation progress and timelines to ensure deal profitability
  • Coordinating closings and working with escrow company to manage the process from contract signing to close of escrow

Internet Marketing Internship

  • Using video and well written video descriptions to drive traffic to your site and market your properties
  • Becoming well-versed in local search and SEO through trainings and implementing these strategies to help you dominate the search engines
  • Using social media and social bookmarking to drive a flood of traffic to your real estate sites
  • Installing analytics and goal-tracking on all of your websites, launching experiments, and helping make your sites get more traffic (and increased conversion percentages)
  • Building a new blog using WordPress (open source blogging platform)
  • Building lead capture forms and landing pages to maximize conversions, and building a list of buyers for investment properties

writingStep 3:  Write The Job Descriptions

Essentially, your interns’ job descriptions should include:

  • Information about your company’s business
  • Your company’s name, contact information and website
  • Specific contact information for the intern candidates’ hiring manager
  • The actual job and duties required (this would be pulled from Step 2)
  • Paid or Unpaid?
  • Hours/Time required
  • Virtual or Onsite?
  • Will you be offering educational credit(s)?
  • Technical qualifications/requirements (for real estate you likely will want your intern to have a phone, laptop and camera – at a minimum)
  • Non-Technical qualifications/requirements

Step 4:  Decide Where To Post The Internship

For real estate investors, we recommend that you post your internship to a local college or university, near the market(s) where you plan on investing.  The reason for this is simple: you’re going to want your intern to go out and look at properties and find deals for you. 

It’s free to post internship opportunities to most college or universities websites.

professorStep 5:  Call The Recruiting Coordinator At The School(s) Where You’re Going to Post The Internship

As soon as you have your job description ready and decide where you want to post your job description, call the recruiting coordinator at the school you were going to post your job to.  You want to find out exactly what you need to do in order to post your job description – and be sure you are completing the posting correctly. 

Some schools may need to approve your job description as well.  But making a phone call first – before posting the job – makes it much more likely that your account will be approved quickly. 

In fact, by making the phone call, you might even find out that there is a professor with a class full of students looking for real estate investing internships, or that there is a real estate investing club on the college campus!  Talk about an easy way find your new interns!

Step 6: Start Reviewing Resumes

At this point, all you need to do is review the resumes of potential interns. 

When you post your job description, be sure to ask candidates to include a cover letter explaining why he or she is a good candidate for the position.  If they can’t include a cover letter, then they won’t get a call from me, and they shouldn’t from you – it’s a simple test to see if they can follow instructions.

phoneStep 7:  Conduct A 1st Round Of Interviews Over The Phone

For candidates who sounded good on paper, email them and set up a phone interview.  On the phone interview you want to find out more about them. 

At a minimum, you want to know the following information:

  • What made you apply to my job post?
  • Why do you want an internship?
  • What do you know about the position? (in other words, what do you know about real estate investing or internet marketing)
  • When do you plan on graduating? (we’ve made it a policy to not accept freshman/1st year students since they are adapting to school life and adding an internship is too much)
  • How heavy is your course load?
  • How many hours per week, at a minimum, can you dedicate to the internship?
  • Are you looking to earn credit for your internship?
  • Do you have the tools necessary to complete this internship (PC, cell phone, Skype, video camera, car for the real estate investing internship, for example)

I have a list of dozens of other questions, but you get the point here.  I’m trying to do some initial screening and fact-finding, and to see if we “click”, so that I can (hopefully) get a good feeling about the person.

invitationStep 8:  Invite The Top Candidates Back For A 2nd Interview

After the first round of interviews, I email the candidates I liked most and schedule a second interview.  Then I ask a few follow-up questions, based on their initial interview.

At the conclusion of this second chat, if I think that they could make (i) a good intern and (ii) a good addition to our overall team, then I give them a specific deadline (usually 48-72 hours) to send me an email with the following information:

  • Are you still interested in the internship?
  • Why would you be a good candidate for the internship, if hired?
  • On what specific “start date” could you begin, if hired?
  • On what specific “end date” would you need to quit, if hired?
  • What is the minimum number of hours per week you could commit to working, if hired?

Step 9:  Extend The Invitation

At this point I’m ready to extend the offer to the best internship candidate(s).  Many times, I’ll hire two or three interns for the same position; they can work together as a team, and the best interns will quickly show their stuff. 

Additionally, interns typically enjoy working in a team environment, and let’s face it, they also have exams and a social life – so if an urgent task pops up, I prefer to have 2-3 interns who can complete it (not just one).

startStep 10:  Put Them To Work

As soon as the intern accepts the offer, I put them to work.  I usually start out with a “kick start” call to make sure that they understand the big picture: (i) what our company does, (ii) how we make money, (iii) who our target audience is and (iv) what we’re looking to accomplish. 

I can’t overemphasize how important this conversation is.  Your intern is probably going to work on some very focused tasks and projects for you, so it’s important that they understand the big picture. 

Then, every single day that they work on their internship, they have to send me an email detailing:

  1. What they did that day, and the results that they got
  2. Any problems or challenges they encountered
  3. Any questions they have for me

Sending these three items to me in a daily email is a MUST, and it’s a non-negotiable.  They simply have to do it.

And that’s it.  You’ve recruited your first intern(s) and put them to work. It’s that simple.

In my next lesson, I’m going to share with you how to identify which projects on your list are best suited for an intern, versus projects that would be better suited for a virtual assistant/assistant/contractor or employee.

Stay tuned!  And happy hunting!


Do It To It! Immediate Action Steps

To summarize, here’s what you should do in order to find, hire and manage interns in 10 easy steps:

  • Step 1:  Decide What The Intern Is Going To Do
  • Step 2:  Create a List of Responsibilities For Each Internship
  • Step 3:  Write The Job Descriptions
  • Step 4:  Decide Where To Post The Internship
  • Step 5:  Call The Recruiting Coordinator At The School(s) Where You’re Going to Post The Internship
  • Step 6: Start Reviewing Resumes
  • Step 7:  Conduct A 1st Round Of Interviews Over The Phone
  • Step 8:  Invite The Top Candidates Back For A 2nd Interview
  • Step 9:  Extend The Invitation
  • Step 10:  Put Them To Work

Is there a topic you'd like to learn more about? Request a Lesson


+ Mark as Learned

Valuable Lesson? Share it:


Request a Lesson

At RealEstateMogul.com, mogul_guarantee.pngwe’re committed to delivering the awesomest, most practical, actionable content to our members … and that a big part of that is getting YOU to tell us what you'd like to learn from us. Since our REI resources are basically endless, we’d love to tailor our upcoming training as much as possible to precisely match what you, our members, really need and want out of us.

jpsig.png Request form