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Be original

I have recently had the opportunity to interview potential candidates for a Property Manager's position and I felt like I was starring in the movie Groundhog's Day.  The candidates starting running together because everyone was telling me the exact same thing and exactly what they thought I wanted to hear.  In fact, a few of them were quoting directly from the tips section of an online job search website.

Here is an idea - be original!  I am actually going to help.  The following is a list of things to NOT say during your next interview:

1.  "I love people and want to help them."  When asked why you want to work in property management, this in not an answer that I want to hear any more.  I can think of many reasons to join this vibrant, exciting industry and this isn't one of them.  If you love people and want to help so much, you could be a waitress, a nurse, a teacher, etc., etc., etc.

2.  "I am detail-oriented."  Whoever came up with this phrase should be shot.  I have not conducted one interview in the past five years that I haven't heard this comment.  When asked to describe yourself, I would think you could come up with something different than what has been listed on every job board and written in the help wanted section of all the newspapers.  What exactly does it mean to be detail-oriented?

3.  "I can't think of any weakness that I have."  Get real.  One weakness you have would be your answer to this question!  Everyone has weaknesses and part of overcoming a weakness is recognizing that you have one.  

4.  "No, I don't have any questions."  How is that possible?  If you are looking to become part of my team, you better have some questions to ask me and I don't mean what the salary and the benefits are for the position. 

In today's economic environment, companies are looking for individuals that stand out.  Individuals that will make a difference in their organizations.  Individuals that think for themselves and have fresh ideas.  If you are currently looking for a new position, you need to do your homework.   You need to be prepared for the tough questions that will be asked in an interview and you need to make sure that you are not giving answers that you read in the newspaper. 

Stand out and be an original.  You will get noticed!


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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I loved this post! I like originality, and to see that someone has earned their way.

The first way I weed out potential new hires is to toss every application without a cover letter. I mean more than a paragraph.

Next: If there is even one spelling error the person has NO chance. Grammatical errors depend on the incident... If they can't choose the correct Their, They're, or There they have NO chance.

Third: Professional appearance at interviews a MUST... no tennis shoes, no jeans, no piercings or tattoos showing (I have 3, but never display them in an interview).

Fourth: I am a small woman, but if you don't look me in the eye and give me a firm handshake then you don't have the confidence it takes to work with me (or our demanding customers).

Last: I ask specific questions regarding prioritization, multitasking, and of course the "weakness" test. I have have weak points, we all do. When someone chooses to say they do not have weaknesses, it means they think they are perfect. No one is perfect. Those that think they are perfect tend to be defensive and insecure.

  Charity Zierten
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great post Marcylene! It is so frustrating to meet cookie cutter applicants. We work in a world of so many boundaries that sometimes it's rare to find someone that stretches beyond those. Testing limits, going a bit beyond, and breaking from the norm needs to be encouraged more. We go grow up with our parents, schools, etc. creating boundaries and constraints on us that breaking away can be a challenge. It's time that people recognize it's OK to be different and unique. That's what makes you stand out from the crowd.

While we're on the topic as well, when did it become appropriate to just apply online or just send a resume without a cover letter. If you are really interested in a position take the time to customize a cover letter for the company and the position. Also, if a company has an online employment application go ahead and complete that, but also send along your resume and cover letter. It doesn't hurt to call and at least leave a message with the company as well letting them know you are interested in a position.

Enought for now. Enjoy your day!


  Mark Juleen
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I LOVE this post! Can I please share it with my candidates? Also, my peeve, don't try that whole answering the "what's your weakness?" question with something that's actually a strength. PLEASE. I want to know where you are weak at so that I can put you with a partner who can compliment you or a team that can take that kind of hit for the benefit of your amazing strengths.

Great Post!


  Heather Blume

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