Career Advice

The Post-Pandemic Labor Force

Living through a pandemic left us with a lot of unknowns for the future. And though none of us really thought things would get back to “normal,” we have all anticipated the day that we could begin moving forward again. As vaccines roll out and mask mandates cease, it’s easy to speculate how things will look going forward, especially within the labor force.

Unemployment Rates

In April 2020, just one month after the initial lockdown order was issued, Texas unemployment rates reached an all time high of 12.9%. Fortunately, as of May 2021, the unemployment rate was reported at 6.5%. It’s safe to say that things are improving, with rates dropping by nearly half in just over a year’s time. Sadly, even with the decreasing unemployment rate, companies are still struggling to find suitable candidates to hire.

We covered a number of reasons for these struggles in our article: “Why is Hiring Hard Right Now?”. One of the biggest hurdles employers are facing is the role that government assistance programs have played. With the federal order increasing unemployment benefits by $300 a week, people have procrastinated their return to work. This has also allowed people the time to reevaluate what is important to them. This will take place even more as companies continue to return to the office.

As many have embraced the remote environments they’ve gotten used to, we’ve also seen a major increase in resignations. This has given employers the opportunity to look at their current structure while creating new ideas to help redevelop their teams. Although federal benefits are not set to expire until September 2021, Texas has opted out of all related programs effective June 26, 2021. The purpose of this decision is to help encourage employees to return to the workforce.

The Push to Have Employees to Return 

The labor shortage has been an ongoing issue during Texas’s phased reopenings. Fortunately, economists do believe this is temporary. As more vaccines roll out and the government aid expires, an increase in the workforce is predicted. Governor Abbot’s decision to terminate these benefits early for Texas has many businesses looking forward to the prospect of rebuilding their teams in the coming months. 

Studies are showing that the number of unemployed is currently almost identical to the number of job openings. It should also be known that many employers are now offering higher salaries to increase their appeal to potential employees. Currently, it has been reported that nearly 45% of job openings pay over $15.50 an hour. Additionally, only 2% are being listed at minimum wage. Though the higher pay may be pushing up inflation and causing a slowdown in America’s recovery, this too is predicted to balance out over time.

A Post-Pandemic Labor Force

It has been a long road to get where we are now, and we still have a ways to go to see where the economy will be. Employers across the state look forward to the anticipated labor force increase that should come with the expiration of the benefits. Unfortunately, it is still too early to fully predict what the labor force will truly look like post-pandemic. The good news is that Texas is making the first move in regards to achieving normalcy. Though there are push backs from those who may not be ready, many believe it is time to encourage people to return to work. 

Hire Priority understands the struggles that this pandemic has brought, and we are here to help as we transition to better days. With our top screening and training programs, we can help your company find the right fit for your new normal. Contact us today to see how we can help!

Posted in Career Advice, Hiring Tips, Management Advice, Uncategorized | Tagged , |

Closing the Sale from Behind the Screen

Over the last year, our sense of “normal” has shifted dramatically. You owe yourself a pat on the back because you have repeatedly demonstrated one of the greatest attributes of human nature: our innate and powerful ability to adapt. You have implemented virtual processes, automated your marketing approach, and even came up with virtual solutions for keeping your team and community engaged in a newly distanced environment. You have charted the course, leading the way towards creating your very own “new normal”.

But what about closing sales? Unfortunately, this aspect of the housing industry has its own challenges, as it simply isn’t something you can plug into an app or send a quick email on. Sure, you’ve set up a killer virtual tour, best shots around, and beautiful editing, but how can we build rapport that will result in a signed lease when we’re not working with our potential residents face-to-face?

The answers to this challenge may not be as intimidating as they appear on the surface. Sure, you may not have the ability to utilize that same in-person environment that most leasing agents thrive in, but there are ways to deliver that same energy, even from behind the screen.

Closing Over the Phone

Now you are probably thinking that after a year of Zoom conferences, Google Video, and FaceTime, surely our first area to cover will be all about “face-to-face” conversations via video. While we all agree that video is a wonderful solution, it isn’t something that’s always available, and some people genuinely prefer using the phone. There is something special about simply hearing someone else’s voice, taking us back to a simpler, more trusting time. Don’t be afraid to pick up your phone when closing sales. Here are some simple guidelines to follow when connecting with others and closing with clients over the phone:

  1. Remain Positive and Empathetic

As strange as this sounds, maintaining positive and powerful body language while speaking on the phone will help your energy stay exactly where it needs to be. Despite not being able to see you, prospects can usually hear the difference in your voice when you’re sitting down, standing up, and are even able to tell if you’re smiling. It’s hard to not have a positive attitude when you have a smile on your face. If you were speaking in-person you’d have a smile on your face, so why not now?

Another important practice to get really good at is to tap into an emotional connection with your caller. Imagine yourself in their shoes: they’re looking for a new home that they have only seen essentially online. What questions would you personally have about the property? What would you want to hear to help calm your nerves? Chances are if it’s something you would want to hear, they would as well.

  1. Listen

Active listening is key to building rapport with your prospective residents. Focus on what they are trying to tell you; take notes of their needs, their concerns, and any questions that come up. Address them by name and repeat back what they say as it will show them you understand and let them know you care. Gentle acknowledgments while they’re speaking, such as a verbal “nod”, will let them know you’re engaged in the conversation. The more you listen, the more you’ll be able to find the solutions they’re looking for, putting any concerns aside, increasing the likelihood of signing a contract with them.

  1. Be Direct

You know that what you’re offering has value, so make sure, to be honest, and direct in sharing that fact. Why is your community the best community for them? What excites you about your community? What can you offer over and above anyone else? Creating focus to move in the right direction will help you create the ending you are looking for. Do not be afraid to go for it.

  1. Create A Sense of Urgency

The current leasing market is competitive. Many people are looking to make a move from the home they were recently quarantined in for the last year. Let them know that. Have other prospects reached out about this unit? Let them know. FOMO is real, and it has proven to be a successful sales tactic time and time again. Let them know that the offer you’re providing has a deadline; you can only hold this opportunity for so long. People don’t like to miss out on a good deal.

Closing Over Video

Virtual Tours have become LIFE when it comes to the new age of leasing. I mean, it’s the next best thing from being in person, right? The truth is, being in front of a camera can actually be a bit more nerve-wracking than you would like to admit. Just remember, the person on the other side of the screen is likely feeling just as awkward as you are. Know that there are simple ways for turning a live video tour into a successful close.

  1. Increase Your Energy

Be excited and exaggerate your body language; you are, after all, face-to-face with someone! Utilizing your energy will help your clients connect with you more. It’s a bit more difficult to turn up your energy virtually than it is in person, so do what you can to make your presence known.

  1. Remember to Go About Business as Usual

Virtual interaction can be a bit awkward sometimes but just remember: not much of your sales pitch has changed. Continue utilizing the strategies that were successful in person, as it will bring a sense of normalcy and comfort to your prospects. It will also show that you have the confidence and knowledge they are looking for in the person who can help them choose their next home.

  1. Guide the Tour

Do you know what the best part of providing a virtual tour is over an in-person one? You have complete control over how the prospect views a unit. Know they are looking for something in particular? Highlight the items that are the most appealing to them. Spend time helping them visualize how it would feel to come home to their beautiful new home. Envision exactly how you want this to go and utilize the tools to execute it flawlessly.

  1. Ask for the Sale

Time is of the essence in a world that is ever-changing, and there is no better time than now. Feel like you nailed it? Then go for it! You have their full attention, you have their facial responses, what can hurt in asking if they’re ready to sign the lease? This is also the time to address any questions about the leasing process, and show what your team has done to make this a simple and safe environment.

The last and most important step to remember when selling from behind the screen is follow-up. Sometimes a prospect simply isn’t ready to sign immediately, and it’s ok. We all know it was no different when we were doing this in person. Not everyone likes to make snap decisions, and every situation is unique. Creating a deadline and setting up your follow-up, whether through email or a phone call, is imperative to landing the sale in the long run.

Hire Priority takes pride in providing valuable information to not only our leasing staff prospects but also to communities throughout Texas. Together we can help you to navigate the struggles in order to build a better tomorrow. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Posted in Career Advice, Career Blog Categories, Management Advice | Tagged , |

Innovative Ways Working Parents are Tackling Virtual Learning

In the 5 months since COVID disrupted our lives, virtual learning has gone from something we were frantically trying to pull together to the new normal in our children’s education. However no matter how used to the situation parents and students are now, it does nothing to alleviate the stress and frustration virtual learning causes in the home. After all, most of us were not trained as teachers and didn’t plan on taking on a second profession. Not to mention jobs in areas such as Multifamily Housing that can’t afford for their employees to work from home.

Fortunately, there are some ways to make homeschooling a bit easier. Below we discuss 3 ways working parents are tackling virtual learning.

1. Schedule Your Work Calls during Their Most Engaged Time

Assuming you are working from home, you will have to take Zoom and phone calls that require your full attention for your job. Inevitably during this important time your child, or children, will need something from you and this simple scenario could reap a big amount of stress. One way to help avoid this common situation is to schedule your calls during their most engaging school time. Perhaps this is when they are doing an art project if they are younger, or when they are in a live-streamed virtual classroom if they are older. It may not be clear initially when they will be most engaged, however after a month of instruction you will begin to see patterns of when the best time to schedule your work calls are. While you are going through this learning phase, let your supervisor or clients know what is going on so they can support you with flexibility during this impermanent time.

2. Plan on Doing Weekend Work Time 

This tip isnt going to be the most popular one with working parents, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Saturday and Sunday may become the only two days a week where you can schedule some undivided attention for your job because your child will not have to ask you for help with their classwork. You would be surprised what 1 or 2 hours of uninterrupted time can accomplish for you in terms of work done. This means that you may be able to knock out a lot of activities on the weekends so you can destress your Monday-Friday daily routine.

3. Engage Your Community with a “Learning Pod”

We decided to end on a high note, especially after tip #2. The “Learning Pod” may be the absolute best life hack for virtual learning, especially if you work in a field that does not enable you to work from home such as the Multifamily Housing Industry.

The learning pod concept can be molded to fit almost any age group of kids ranging from two to eighteen years old.

Essentially you connect with 2-5 of your children’s virtual classmates that live in your area and create a “pod”. You would coordinate with the parents of those students to host the pod on certain days of the week. For example, if you are able to link up 5 students together you would only have to host your child’s pod 1 day a week and they would be out of the house the other days of the week at the other parent’s homes. You would drive them to the home and pick them up just like if they were attending school in-person.

In addition to freeing the parents to work, these groups will help hold each other accountable for classwork given by the school, handing in homework assignments, and completing assessments, as well as possible additional help as needed (including enrichment through a book club, science experiments, executive functioning games, chess, etc.).

The group may hire an educator (ranging anywhere from roughly $10 – $50 per hour, per child) or work independently if the students are older.

Of course, any group meeting in person should exercise diligence and caution to limit exposure to infection, including at least daily temperature checks, 6-foot distancing wherever possible, mask wearing, and frequent hand washing and/or sanitizing.

While all of these tips are helpful in navigating the new educational system we are all facing there is one tip that reigns supreme, which is self-forgiveness and understanding. No one is expecting virtual learning to be held to the same standard as in-person class. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and stressed, or you see your child getting overwhelmed and stressed, make sure to stop and take a moment to forgive yourself for falling short and to congratulate yourself and your child for navigating a historic time in the world. Just by showing up for virtual learning and working from home you are already achieving something not many humans have had to accomplish.

Posted in Career Advice, Career Blog Categories |

4 Resumes Tips from a Multifamily Recruiter

4 Resumes Tips from a Multifamily Recruiter

The Multifamily Housing Industry is booming and properties are looking to hire excited leasing agents and motivated maintenance professionals. If you find yourself getting ready to submit your resume to a prospective employer, make sure you utilize our top resume tips! Below we explore four great resume moves according to Multifamily Housing Recruiters!

1. Only Include Relevant Work Experience

While it may be tempting to include every job you have ever had on your resume, it’s smarter to just tailor your qualifications to the job you are applying for. This includes putting the relevant skills for each past job that would apply to the new job you are wanting to obtain. For example, if you are gunning for that Leasing Consultant position at the new high-rise property you will want to put all sales-related jobs you have had in the past. 

2. Put Your Best Experience up Top

Everyone knows that most resumes are supposed to have their work history in chronological order. While this may be true, it would also be beneficial to have your best past experience, relevant to the job you are seeking, at the top of the list. This especially refers to any certifications you had to have during a past job such as certain maintenance positions would require. Hiring managers are looking through tons of applications and you want to be sure they see the main reason you are the person for the job. 

3. Have an Online Supplement

Keeping your resume to one sheet, which is best, can be difficult. For this reason, having a personal website could be a great way to make sure all your super impressive information is available for someone to further explore if they are interested in hiring you. Not to mention that having a personal website is a wonderful way to showcase your ability to work with technology. Also in terms of the Multifamily Housing industry, linking to the websites of the past properties you worked for would give the hiring manager a better understanding of your past work experience in terms of environment.

4. Leave Out Graduation Dates

This tip is a little controversial because “Ageism” is not allowed in the hiring process. However let’s be realistic, when there are hundreds of applicants for one position a hiring manager may choose from the younger candidates because of unconscious bias or the other way around. Because of this human error, it is best not to include your graduation dates with your education experience. Obviously if asked you are to be honest, however at that point the hiring manager is aware of you and taking you seriously as a candidate. 

There you have it! If you would like to see more open positions in the Multifamily Housing Industry please reach out to the top recruiters at Hire Priority by visiting their website HERE.

Good luck in your job search!

Posted in Career Advice, Career Blog Categories |

Tips for Successful Virtual Interviews

Tips for Successful Virtual Interviews

The dreaded second wave of the pandemic is upon us which means that doing things virtually is becoming the new normal. For the job seeker, this means that virtual interviews via popular video conferencing apps like Zoom are not disappearing any time soon. Virtual interviews may seem like an easier way of landing a position on the surface, but they can present hidden problems that could get in the way of your next dream job. Read on below as we discuss the best tips for acing your next virtual interview!

Make Sure Everything is Working on Your End

There is nothing more frustrating than technical issues when you are trying to put your best self forward. While sometimes there isn’t anything you can do to prevent a loss of connection or audio, you can be sure to do everything you can to ensure a smooth interview over the internet.

One hour before your interview, call a friend or family member over the application that you will be using to do the interview. Make sure that your video and audio are working correctly. By giving yourself an hour before the interview time you ensure that you can have ample time to fix any problems that come up in your test call.

Pay Attention To Your Background

It’s the little things that may get you the job and one of those little things may be what’s behind you during your interview. Be sure to be sitting in front of a clean and organized area. You may want to take it a step further and get a white sheet backdrop with a houseplant or something else aesthetically pleasing. Your interviewer will be seeing a lot of candidates over video conferencing and will remember the ones that were visually appealing, this also includes what you are wearing!

Close All Windows and Messages

Just like you would silence your phone before sitting down at a real-life interview, you need to be sure you close all internet browser windows and tabs that are not directly related to the interview. Also be sure to mute all messaging apps you have open. Just one moment of distraction during the interview could lose you the job.

Eye Contact

One of the biggest drawbacks of virtual interviews is the lack of human interaction in real life. Little things like a hand shake or body language are sorely missed when hiring candidates. Eye contact is very important and it is something that can be maintained with a virtual interviewer by looking directly into your camera instead of looking at your screen. This may feel awkward at first so it’s important to practice this with a friend or family member beforehand. It’s a little trick that can make a big difference!

While the economy is still struggling, there are many industries that are still booming. Don’t put your job search on hold just because you have to stay home!

Posted in Career Advice, Career Blog Categories |