The best way is word of mouth and that is the way most people find who they want to work with. The other that is now very popular is to read their reviews. Also a good way to get a feel for the agent.
Here are the wrong ways to pick your agent.
Five Star Professionals. They basically contact EVERY real estate agent/broker in the country that meets a VERY basic criteria and let them know they have been "selected" to be a Five Star Pro. (they run the same scam with financial planners, insurance agents, mortgage brokers etc..) Once you say yes and sign up on their website the phone calls and emails begin. The basic gist is that if you dont pay a monthly marketing fee no one will ever know you are a Five Star Pro...lol. And they are incredibly persistent. If you dont sign up they hound you to death. 10 to 15 voicemails and emails. Then when and if you do it is worse. I remember my dad receiving a letter in the late 60s (he was also in real estate). It said "you have been selected to be a member of Who's Who in Texas" He just needed to send in his payment for the beautiful book with his name in it...lol. This is just a modern version of that scam. Dont get me wrong. I am sure the majority of the people that advertise that they are a Five Star Pro ARE very good. But it is definitely not as good a measuring stick as word of mouth or reviews.
Zillow Premiere Agent
Zillow and ALL the other third party real estate data providers get all of our mls information for FREE. Then they put it on their site and start selling positioning and marketing on said site right back to US the realtors for a LOT of money. The worst is Zillow Premiere Agent. The main qualification you need to be a "premiere" agent is to be able to write a check. Their are agents here in Kerrville that write checks for $5,000 a month or more to be a premiere agent. As a client you are thinking "wow" he or she must be great because he or she is a "premiere" agent...lol.
The same holds true for virtually every referral site. If a certain site is recommending an agent to you that agent is either paying them monthly or the site will get a % of their sale.
A lot of people think realtors work a little and take wheel barrels of money to the bank every month because they make those big commissions. But their are lots of folks with their hands in our pockets...lol.
That is my real estate rant for today.