Talking about dead deals in an interview?

I currently work as a development analyst and am going to be graduating from an msre program next year. I’m planning to find a development associate role at a different shop.

During the interview process - especially at the junior level - what are your thoughts on talking about the deals that you worked on that ultimately didn’t go anywhere?

For example I put together the proposal and built out the development model for a mixed use district which ultimately never made it through city council.

Is it still worth mentioning?

Most Helpful

Depends. Do you have a lot of non-dead deals or do you only have dead deal experience? If that's all you have, roll with it, and be ready to talk intelligently about why the deals failed. Someone may pick your brain. Also, try to select things that are interesting and failed for a specific reason, not just "well it didn't work out." 

For example, I have a deal in my past that I worked on for two years that ultimately didn't happen for quite a dramatic reason. I'd have no problem bringing this up. I'm not going to mention every little thing I underwrote that didn't work out though. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Well I’ve been at my firm for about a year. When I joined I was working on deals that had already broken ground (so I didn’t underwrite them or help structure it) - now I haven’t been on a deal team yet that has broke ground on a new job (so all proposal creation and modeling) - long way of saying I haven’t see a project the entire way though yet.

So assuming I leave after I graduate msre, I could speak about all aspects of the development life cycle but not for one specific project. For example, I could talk about writing change orders on one job and then pulling permits for another - for a senior analyst or associate role would this be okay? Assuming I have 2-2.5 YOE once I start looking for a new role


Yeah I think you're solid. You know what you did in the year you were there and I'm sure anyone hiring knows what can actually be accomplished in a year on the job. 

Good luck out there. Hopefully you find a spot and don't have to be where you currently are longer than you wish. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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