That’s right, strange as it may seem, I’ve been looking for months to hire an on-site apartment manager with some maintenance skills and an apartment maintenance technician. You would think with so many people out of work in this country that there would be a long line of qualified applicants for these two positions but there doesn’t seem to be. To make it even more difficult, there is a lot of alcohol and drug abuse amongst the people who gravitate towards on-site apartment community positions. I not only need to find a qualified candidate, I must also find a sober candidate. The question for most property management firms has been how to attract and retain the most qualified candidates. While I’m struggling to make these hires today I’ve been pretty successful in locating candidates in the past.
To find qualified candidates a property management firm must go beyond advertising in the newspaper or on Internet employment message boards. While these do draw applicants, most of the people who do send in resumes will have little or no experience. Usually, with such advertising you will attract people who are trying to transition from one industry to another and who have hopes that their skills will be transferable as well. Unfortunately, it is very seldom that a person who does maintenance in an office building or hotel will be qualified to do make readies in an apartment community. Likewise, a manager in any other discipline will not have the skill set to manage an apartment community.
To find qualified candidates for apartment communities you must go into the communities themselves. Sometimes, this is a covert action with a visit to a community to look at what is available for lease. While the manager is showing the units, conversation is steered towards their job and whether they are happy. Hypothetical questions can be asked about the “what if a new position were to come available”. It is not unusual for a leasing prospect to ask to speak with the on-site maintenance person. This offers similar possibilities to interact and see if the person “is looking”. A lease covert way is to have staff members start calling apartment communities and introducing themselves and their firm and then directly asking if the on-site staff knows of anybody who might be looking for a community position. The immediate answer is usually no, but within a few days there are always some returning calls wanting to know more about the position.
Blogs, Twitter and Facebook can be a great help when networking to find qualified prospects. Think of the number of people who are reached with each of these postings. Another way to locate good prospects is to network with your peers.
If you belong to an apartment association you can always attend functions and mention your need while socializing with others. Other alternatives to this are networking groups like the Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. More removed from the industry but still a good possibility is discussions with friends and family since people in their spheres of influence may have been networking with them looking for leads on employment.
The final way to locate a qualified candidate is to enlist the aid of a placement service. There are several in the industry that specialize in the placement of apartment community personnel. While there is a cost associated with this and some apartment community owners are adverse to spending money to locate help, it is in some cases the only viable way to locate the appropriate candidate.