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Backward Recruiting: Why are real estate agents calling before I get a job offer?

Q. Next week, I am flying to Texas to interview for a position I really want. I am excited, but focused. Immediately after the phone interview last week, we received a number of calls from real estate brokers asking to appraise our home. They were contacted by the company in Texas. Furthermore, while in Texas next week, I have been scheduled to meet with a real estate agent to give me a tour of the area. The recruiter has already contacted my references. But I have not been offered the position yet. Is this common, and does it mean the company is serious?

A. To be honest, I don't know of any company that has real estate companies call candidates before they make an offer. You're right; it does seem a bit backwards. It could be that the company intends to make an offer, and someone notified the real estate agents prematurely or asked them to wait until a certain date, thinking they would do so. Your guess is as good as mine.

There is nothing wrong with you calling the recruiter and asking where you are in your interview process and what the next steps are. Ask what you should expect, when should you expect to hear from the company, and from whom you should expect to hear.

It is a bit aggressive to talk to any real estate agent until there is a formal, written offer on the table. Since you are moving from one location to another, see if the company you are interviewing with has a relocation program.

So my recommendation is simple: call your recruiter before you have any conversations with a real estate agent. You can talk to the real estate agent while you're negotiating your salary, because your housing costs will tell you what to expect. But make sure there is a commitment first before you go house hunting.


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