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Apartment Jobs: What Kind of Job are YOU Looking For? Anything Less Than the Best is a Felony!

Apartment Jobs: Phone screens & job interviews have 1 purpose: to screen candidates OUT. Yes, you read it right. It's to screen YOU out. Of course your interviewer is trying to find the perfect candidate for their job opening, but with hundreds of resumes per job listing, the #1 priority of a recruiter/interviewer is to screen candidates OUT so that what's left is 2-3 great candidates. If their goal is to screen candidates out, what is your goal when interviewing? How do you GET IN? I have spent the last several weeks helping a couple of clients find the PERFECT candidate for their apartment job listings. In the past 10 years, I have conducted hundreds of interviews - hired LOTS of great folks (and a handful of not so great...but that's another article) I have refined my interviewing techniques, and know EXACTLY what to look for in a candidate, what are the red flags (the CRAZY-loo's), what to ask, how to drill down to the truth (and how to use those questions/answers as a future training tool), etc. Believe me when I say this: YOUR interviewer has perfected these skills too. So again, the question is, how do YOU land the perfect job for YOU? In this job market, you might be unemployed, you might be in between jobs, you might be looking for a change. Whatever the case, the MOST IMPORTANT part of this equation is YOU: What are YOU looking for in a job?  STOP, COLLABORATE, and LISTEN! Do you GET IT yet? The most important part of this equation IS you.......
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Apartment Jobs: On Hiring - "Experience, They have to have Experience!"

Apartment Jobs[Written for the Multifamily Insiders' Apartment Jobs section]   Over the last few months, I've worked with several clients, and advised several friends, as they were going through the hiring process to add new staff members to their companies.  "I want someone with experience," they'll say to me.  "Gag," I'll say in return. Well, no, I don't say it.  But I think it really loudly. Don't get me wrong, experienced employees are a definite asset to any company.  You spend less time training them, you don't have to watch them as closely, and you can just assume they know what they're doing, so you lose less production overall.  But let's take a moment and think about the other things that the "experienced employee" comes with, because, after all, it's a package deal. Their potentially jaded opinion of the business and of your company.  This is what usually is doesn't come out during the interview, but is stored in that sizable chip they keep on their shoulder that you start to notice pretty quickly after they're hired.Their idea of how "business is done" in property management.  Sometimes as a manager, the nicest thing you can have is an employee who respects your methods, organization, and decisions.Their bad habits.  I'm not necessary talking about them picking their teeth with the mail, though that's not out of the realm of possibility with some folks I've seen.  No, I'm talking about the bad habits in customer service and professionalism that some people who've been working......
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Dear Mr. (or Ms.) Property Management Executive

As I travel the country, talking with on site staff, I hear a lot of the same comments and complaints from these hard working folks. So, as I have done in the past, I’ve assembled their most common issues they have with their owners and/or management companies.( I also get these remarks via email and even occasionally by phone.)Oh, and please don’t shoot the messenger folks. I’m just telling you what I hear.So, here in no particular order, are some reasons why your site level staff might not respect you.1. You’ve never worked a day on site, therefore, you really can’t relate to me.2. You’ve never had to talk to residents about their loud sex, their out of control children, their barking dog or their bounced check.3. You’ve never found a dead body. (For the record, a lot of us who work on site HAVE found dead bodies.)4. You say things to me (and to my team members) that are completely irrelevant to our jobs, proving to us just how out of touch you are with site level people.5. You can wear jeans or something very casual to work every day because your office is ‘business casual’. We can’t do that on site, so please don’t wear your jeans to our site offices. Respect the fact that we have to dress professionally.6. We know you sometimes fly in a private jet because you mention it often enough and it filters back to us. Many of us have never flown on any......
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2010 Trend: IN-Clearly Defined Job Descriptions; OUT-Jack-of-All-Trades

Lately, much of my work has been very operations oriented. In this time of economic turmoil, companies are returning to the basics. Companies that are still alive today are going back to the drawing board and spending some time to clearly define job descriptions & responsibilities.(picture provided by KateL366 on Flickr through Creative Commons license.)Why spend time on something so basic? In the apartment industry, more so than many industries, we have many people classified as a "Jack-of-All-Trades." I hear this term used so much in our apartment industry. But consider for a moment, the translations of "Jack of All Trades" into other languages:Cantonese: Surrounded by knives, none are sharp.Spanish: Knows about everything but understands nothingGerman: Wise guy in all alleysTurkish: One who knows everything cannot do anything(Translations found on Wikipedia.) I don't know about you, but a "dull knife" sounds like another way of saying, "not the brightest bulb in the pack." Why classify a position as a "jack of all trades," or worse, hire a "jack of all trades" or even worse, classify yourself as such? When I hear someone tell me they need to hire a "Jack of all Trades," I think, this guy has NO IDEA what he needs. When I hear someone say, "I am a Jack of All Trades," I think, this gal has no idea what interests her/what she is good at.Each month of 2010 I will outline a trend that I see based on the conversations I have, questions that are asked of me, and trends......
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Apartment Jobs: Identifying the “Red Flags” When Going Through the Hiring Process and Other “Unspoken” Interviewing Tips

As I have said time and time again after being in Property Management for 7 years and interviewing thousands of job applicants, " Our jobs are not rocket science, but not everyone can be successful in this industry either." I often repeat this to myself when doing a phone screen with a person who may have graduated with an Accounting or Finance Degree who wants to do a 180 in their career and give Property Management "a whirl." It is no secret that our industry is that of the ‘people-person.' People who succeed in our field, are those that are positive, exude good energy and those who just are magnetic. That being said, there are definitely things that stick out to me when I phone screen a candidate for one of our apartment jobs. Even more things that become apparent after an "in-person" interview. Below are my observations as well as little tips I use to "weed" out applicants that look almost-perfect on paper. How soon does the prospect return the phone call or voicemail? When they answer the number that is not recognized, how professional are they? (Not that I think anyone who is in the market for a new job or getting back in the job market should be a slave to their phone, but I think if you are eager, you need to return a call within a few hours. Otherwise, us as recruiters can barely remember you from the other 100 people we screened that day. Also,......
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Supervisors & Employees: Take Advantage of Your "Open Door" Policy

Are you a supervisor with an "open door" policy? Are you an employee that works for someone that has an "open door" policy? Are you maximizing the "open door" policy to be a better supervisor or better employee?"Open door" policies are not just for dispute resolution. A true open door policy is a communication process where employees and supervisor feel welcomed to discuss business or employment topics together openly.Why am I discussing this in a blog for the apartment industry? In our industry, more so than any other industry, there is A LOT of opportunity to advance. It is not unheard of for a caretaker or leasing agent to advance through the ranks and become a Community Manager, Regional or even CEO! But very rarely is there time to learn (and seldom do our own supervisors advise us) on how to be a good supervisor or a good employee. A key to being a good supervisor or a good employee is expanding and taking advantage of the "open door" policy.Doors are BOTH entrances and exits. There is opportunity on BOTH sides to take advantage of having an "open door." Let's take a step back, and ask ourselves, as people (whether you are a supervisor OR an employee being supervised), what does YOUR door look like?(Left picture provided by h-k-d and right picture provided by roboppy on flickr through creative commons license.)As supervisors, here are 5 things that we can do to encourage better communication:Set aside time for each individual employee, and meet with them consistently. This could be a weekly,......
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Career Advancement in the Apartment Industry: Speak the Language of Business! by Daisy Nguyen

In today's economy, for every job opening available, there are hundreds of applicants. In working with owners/investors/executive level management, their number one complaint is: there is a shortage of TOP level talent. Many, look outside their organizations to find TOP level talent. And yet, everyday, I hear from people in the industry that feel they are passed over for advancement opportunities and they WANT advancement opportunities. Why the discrepancy?There is a mis-conception that if you are the best at your what you do, it is only natural that you advance. While this is very true in the apartment industry, it is only HALF of the equation. If you want to double your chances of career advancement - the other half of that equation is this: You MUST learn to speak the language of business.(Picture provided by daviddmuir through creative commons license on Flickr.)Whether you are a leasing agent wanting to advance into National Sales Director, or a marketing intern with your eye on VP of Marketing, or a junior accountant wanting to advance to Controller, to Maintenance Technician looking for advancement to Maintenance Director, you must learn to speak the language of business.What is the language of business? It's not a foreign language - it's learning to communicate your contributions to your organization in terms they can understand AND appreciate. It comes down to 4 words: SHOW ME THE MONEY! Or more accurately, Show THEM the money.I have attended many "owner's/investor's" meetings. (Sometimes as an owner's representative, sometimes as a management company's representative.) I have been at the middle-management level as......
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Do You See the Land of Opportunity? by Daisy Nguyen

Have you ever noticed the people who complain about the lack of opportunities are also the ones that are the first to say they are too busy to join, have too much work to do, can't take on another project, and are the ones turning away perfectly good opportunities? Complain, complain, complain, blah, blah, blah. If I were ole "Opportunity," I would knock on another door too.(Picture provided by Dominic's Pics on Flickr through Creative Commons license.)How can you position yourself to invite more opportunity?1. Stop Complaining. Not only is this a negative, unproductive opportunity, you can't hear when opportunity DOES knock.2. Choose one of the following statements for the day:A. I make things happen!B. Things happen to me.Hopefully, you chose option A. You're one step closer to inviting more opportunity! If you have chosen B, there's no one who can help you. Go back to bed. Wake up tomorrow and choose A.3. HELP yourself. If there is a lack of opportunity in your life, stop and figure out WHY. Take some responsibility on WHY you are in this situation - and take a step to move yourself OUT of the situation. If it's because you don't have a degree, sign up for 1 class. Small step, but BOY, you'd be 1 class closer to a degree than you were yesterday. If you're looking for a job, and the only place you are looking is on monster.com - you're missing out on the majority of the job market. Most jobs never hit......
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Are your Property Management Operations Coordinated?

When I was actively marketing one of my companies that dealt with resident portals, I often was faced with one major dilemma:  Who is the best person to talk to?  My service dealt with resident retention, technology, and training, so often nobody was quite sure who was making the decision on my service.  Was it the IT department?  Was it the marketing director (I say "marketing" director because "resident retention" director is an MIA position)?  Was it someone on the training side of things?    As things progress into 2010 and beyond, it's become abundantly clear that this problem is only going to get worse, and that better coordination between business units will have to a top priority.  Here are a few examples (there are countless others!):   The IT Department and the Marketing Department:  This is the most obvious and needed element to cross-pollination within property management companies.  Although print advertising will never die (in my opinion), more and more marketing and resident retention efforts are going to be performed online.  Your IT department is going to have to become more savvy with marketing, and your marketing directors and on-site teams are going to have to increase their proficiency online.  But it goes beyond just operations - Imagine the brainstorming benefits of bringing these two teams together for planning out new features and programs on your existing website and abroad (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc)!   Marketing Department and Legal:  If you thought Fair Housing was scary before, add in soc......
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How To Be Successful In The Apartment Industry: Participate, Participate, Participate! -by Daisy Nguyen

I've had a LOT of conversations recently, and one topic has been a recurring theme: Success. Two recurring questions: 1.) How do we make our apartment communities more successful? 2.) How do we make OURSELVES more successful?As a consultant and a writer of a popular industry blog, I meet with A LOT of people. I meet with EVERY kind of person in the industry from site personnel to vendors at every level, from to Regional Managers to directors to VP's to CEO's/COO's/CFO's, to developers, partners, investors & owners of apartment communities.My answer is ALWAYS the same: PARTICIPATE, PARTICIPATE, PARTICIPATE!Image provided by Chooyutshing on Flickr through creative commons license.1.) PARTICIPATE: Participate in something bigger and greater than your own apartment community. I KNOW you have a million things to do and there isn't another minute you can commit to someone new, but YOUR PARTICIPATION in something greater will return ten-fold to your success at your apartment community, as well as return ten-fold in your own personal successes. I'll go out on a limb here and say - I PROMISE that any participation you give will be returned to you ten fold. If not, give me a call, and I'll take you to lunch and eat my words.2.) PARTICIPATE: Don't just JOIN your local apartment association, JOIN, PARTICIPATE, ENGAGE! There is no better way to work/network with other industry professionals in your market than at your local apartment association. Chances are, they ARE looking for volunteers to participate in committees, tasks forces, surveys, focus groups, etc. Do you think that your opinion doesn't count? In an industry......
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