I was asked by Hire Priority (www.hirepriority.com) to write an article about hiring in the apartment industry. I do have to thank them because I think they may very well have cured my writer’s block by asking for specific subject matter. Specific subject matter that as of late, I feel as though I have become an expert in! However, the 250 word maximum turned into almost 800 words from this overachieving Type A individual on the other side of this computer screen…..so while the article may not be of use to them due to word count, it’s still worth the read. In my humble opinion.
I have worked outside of the apartment industry, I believe we all have at some point. Whether it was to take that “break” that we thought we wanted or we simply fell into property management after having had another career choice.
So a majority of us have been privy to the hiring process outside of the apartment industry. I am here to tell you, as a property manager who has done her fair share of interviews through several lease-ups, hiring in the apartment industry is quite different; for several different reasons. I point out a few below and urge you to keep these in mind when you are looking to hire someone on site…..
Consider the team you currently have in place. If you are lucky enough to already have a few in place. If so, you have to really ensure you’re considering the already existing team dynamic. This is actually crucial. I am a huge advocate of creating a team on my community, this makes all the difference when there are issues, you’re going to work better together to ensure the job is getting done. And even when there are no issues there will fluidity in the office; a well oiled machine. Adding a team member that may cause a break down in the cog, is not what you want to do. Also, if you’re simply starting from scratch, keep in mind what kind of dynamic you’re looking at building.
Consider their personality. When I was a regional I had one of my property managers tell me the only reason she hired her leasing person, with no experience, was because when she came into the interview she was the only candidate to take her jacket off and get comfortable prior to the interview even starting. Body language will speak volumes about their personality. I will add a side note here, some things need to be overlooked as the candidate will be nervous. This is your job as the interviewer to ensure you calm their nerves to a certain degree. This is pretty vital in our industry because you want to see their true selves shine through. You might otherwise miss out on a superstar who simply doesn’t interview well.
Now, this topic is up for debate I am certain, but deserves its moment in this writing. Experience. In some instances this is vitally important. And I won’t bore you with those instances. As upper management we all know when experience is going to make or break us. But if you’re not in one of those instances, you deserve to interview candidates that may not have experience. Some of the best leasers and industry professionals came from server backgrounds, sales backgrounds or customer service backgrounds. I think we have all found a leasing agent at a restaurant at one point or another. It all goes back to personality. They may have experience but zero personality for the task at hand….LEASING.
If they have experience, you may want to ensure they also have a great reputation in the industry. Come on, we work in property management. We all participate to some degree in our apartment association. We speak with our vendors. We know people. Reference checks are vital in our industry.
And last, but, not least. One of the most important things I personally look for, regardless of position I am hiring for is the ability to multi task. Why? Because we wear so many hats at any given moment, regardless of our job title. We are all marketing our property. Even maintenance. An apartment needs to be cleaned in a day and your housekeeper is out sick? You’ll be cleaning too. Resident is on the phone rather irate about a small balance letter? You’d better be able to at least read a ledger and provide a legitimate explanation. And while I may have a leasing super star, I need to ensure that proper procedure can be followed for paperwork. Going over a lease incorrectly once you have leased all 240 apartments means nothing if you can’t provide accurate information at the critical time of move in.
This is basic hiring in the apartment industry and some key considerations when looking for candidates. So different than some other industries, no? It’s not just about the resume (although, I urge you to also ensure you’re being thorough in analyzing that…..it will prove computer skills or lack thereof!)
(Please visit http://www.hirepriority.com for staffing needs or employment needs in the realm of property management. Their Core Values I stand behind 100%…..Happiness, Integrity, Knowledge, Results. I am in love with the fact that their first Core Value is HAPPINESS.)