Hiring Tips

Tips for Hiring Your Ideal Apartment Maintenance Team

Finding and sustaining a good maintenance team is one of the greatest challenges in the multifamily industry today. Between the increased need for this service among home developments and the decreased desire among younger generations to pursue this trade, finding dependable long-term maintenance staff can be frustrating. Here are some tips to help you navigate the journey of finding your ideal apartment maintenance team.

1.         Determine Exactly What You Are Looking For

This element of the hiring process is one of the most important steps in hiring the right maintenance team. Taking the time to sit down and evaluate exactly how much assistance you need, along with getting a clear picture of what primary tasks they will be covering is key. What are the biggest issues you face with your building(s)? Is there any knowledge you would prefer your candidates already possess, or will a desire to learn be sufficient? Go through the history of issues you have encountered in the past; was there anything you wish your maintenance staff had known that would have made things go more smoothly? From asking yourself questions like these, you’ll be able to determine the knowledge and availability your ideal candidate would possess, and you’ll be better able to determine what salary you are willing to pay for this position.

2.         Write a Descriptive Job Post

When posting a new job, do not be afraid to include exactly what you’re looking for. Be specific about which skills are mandatory, and which skills are simply preferred. Even if you are willing to offer some on-the-job training, making sure to honestly state your expectations will help you fine tune a better caliber of candidates who are willing and able to put in the hard work.

3.         Pre-Screen Before An In-Person Interview

During the hiring process, thoroughly reviewing each of your applications should always be the first step. Create your short list based on the cover letters and resumes received, and from there you will proceed with your phone interviews. Conducting phone interviews is an excellent way to identify any obvious red flags, and get a good feel for whether the candidate would be a good fit for your team. It will also help by greatly reducing the time needed for conducting in-person interviews. The candidates you pre-screen should be the ones that hold your peak interest only. Here are some sample questions to help you in narrowing down your candidate list:

  • What hours are you available each day? Are there any days or times during the week you know you cannot work?
  • What experience do you have working in multifamily maintenance?
  • Which tasks do you tend to enjoy the most?
  • Do you have any experience in keeping track of maintenance records? How did you go about this?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Do you know anything about our community or company?

4.         In-Person Interview

At this point, you will have narrowed your choices down to a much more refined list of potential maintenance candidates. Be sure to make notes of everything that happens during this phase in the hiring process: Was the candidate late? How did they present themselves? Do they have clear and concise communication skills? Are they friendly? Are they fidgety? Meeting them in person will give you some quick insights on how they might interact with residents. Here are some sample questions for the in-person interview portion of the hiring process:

  • Describe a previous issue you encountered while performing work in an apartment maintenance or similar position. How did you resolve it?
  • You realize a mistake was made early on in a project you’re working on, and it will put you behind your deadline. What do you do?
  • How do you typically deal with conflict? Do you have an example of this?
  • What is the most important quality a supervisor should possess?
  • How would you rate your customer service skills?

5.         Send the Job Offer and Begin Probationary Period

Congratulations! You have finally found the ideal candidate to join your team. When sending your job offer, make sure to include a full job description, a salary outline, and a full narrative of company values and standards. You will always want to make sure you are clear about employment including a probationary period, because sometimes it just doesn’t end up working out (we’ve all been there). Remember to be specific regarding the time frame and expectations during the probationary period so there’s no confusion going forward. While we understand that finding the right maintenance fit for your community can be tricky, know that it’s not impossible. Being prepared with the right process and questions, and by following the proper steps, you can ensure you are creating a  maintenance team that is both efficient and dependable. At Hire Priority, we specialize in multifamily staffing services. We can help by providing you with insight regarding your processes, and assist you in accessing pre-screened maintenance professionals in the Central Texas area. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can assist with all of your hiring needs.

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How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

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Sometimes, attracting the best talent and keeping them with your company can seem like a big mystery. The two go hand-in-hand and there are certain tricks of the trade that can ensure your hiring success. Below are this year’s hottest trends in talent acquisition and retention.

Corporate Branding

Gone are the days when a salary and benefits package were enough to have the the industry’s top professionals clamoring to get hired by your company. In this modern age where Millennials (people who reached adulthood about 16 years ago) are comprising the largest demographic in the workplace, companies now have to develop a strong culture that is publicly known. Corporations such as Google, Zappos, and Southwest have paved the way by developing awe-inspiring corporate culture that have top-level professionals begging to work for them. The corporate culture is also the biggest factor in whether a employee will stay with the company long-term.

Embark on a “Hiring” Public Relations Campaign

Talent acquisition done well is a strong branding tool. Think of your hiring need as a chance to create a “hiring campaign” that will not only serve the purpose of attaining your next company superstar, but also gain exposure to the community you are hiring in. This is a great opportunity for a coinciding public relations campaign to make sure you are reaching as many potential candidates as possible and representing your company in its best light.

Work With an Industry Expert

Just because you are a private entity doesn’t mean you have to go through your hiring needs all alone. Partner with the leading industry-related online communities or regional experts. For example, if you are in the apartment industry you can partner with your local apartment association or even the National Apartment Association if you are hiring for a top level position that includes relocation allowances.

You can also team up with an industry-specific staffing company. It’s their job to find the best talent, all you have to worry about is keeping them, which you will easily do with the right working environment.

Get Your Current Employees Involved

Including your current top-level employees from all departments in the hiring process can be a huge benefit for you and the potential new hire. This does not necessarily mean putting potential candidates in front of unqualified interviewers, which could seriously backfire.

This means meeting with your staff along the way and gleaming from them the personality traits and real-world skills that the new hire needs to have to be successful in your company culture. Allow employees to submit potential interview questions, put together a small group of department representatives to meet with a potential candidate in the final hiring stages, or help review resumes in the early stages. Take their feedback seriously. Not only will this instill a sense of involvement and importance in your current employees, but they will also feel much more responsible for ensuring the new hire’s success because they were involved in the hiring process.

Using the above tactics combined with a tried and true hiring strategy (well developed job descriptions, candidate profiles, and competitive salary/benefits package) you will be sure to not only find, but keep your ideal employees working hard for you and themselves.

Looking for quality talent?

Posted in Hiring Tips, Management Advice |

Top 5 Austin, Texas Experiences in December 2018 and January 2019

Things to do in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is a great place to live for many reasons. Besides the Tex-Mex and live music, Austin also offers many unique and fun events for its residents and visitors to enjoy.

Now that the weather has turned to non-sweltering temperatures in central Texas, you will want to get outdoors and experience all that Austin has to offer!

Below we have listed the Top 5 Austin Experiences in December and January!

1. The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park (2100 Barton Springs Road, 12/10/18-12/23/18)

This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the infamous Trail of Lights in Zilker Park! There you will find dazzling holiday lights to walk through with your family and friends, along with yummy food vendors selling everything from hot chocolate to tamales! You can spin yourself into a dizzy stupor under the Zilker Christmas Tree located at the entrance and pictured below or just take numerous selfies with all the holiday characters you will find there!

Things to do in Austin, Texas

2. The Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Barton Springs (2201 Barton Springs Road, 1/1/19)

Barton Springs is a perfect 68°-70°F year-round that is refreshing on a hot summer day and cozy on those frigid winter mornings, but that doesn’t make jumping in on New Year’s Day any less impressive! Join other Austinites as they start their 2017 off shivering from the magical waters of Barton Springs. Be ready to warm up with free coffee and donuts right outside the gate after you take your plunge!

3. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (900 Barton Springs Road) and the Blue Genie Art Bazaar (6100 Airport Blvd) (11/24/18-12/24/18)

We admit it, we cheated a little on this one because it’s two events…but you can’t mention one without including the other! It is the ultimate holiday shopping experience that is quintessentially Austin. At the Blue Genie Art Bazaar shoppers can browse thousands of original works ranging from serious art to fun and kitschy items. A great way to buy hassle-free holiday gifts and support local artists. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar also features local award-winning artists along with with live music and two full bars making it the ultimate shopping experience.

4. Free Week (Various locations, 1/1/19-1/8/19)

The first week of January might be the best time for a music fan to visit Austin. Why? Hundreds of Austin bands participate in this annual FREE event that encompasses multiple venues all over Austin. Plan to be out and about to take part in a music tradition that showcases why Austin is just so darn great!

5. Ice Skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods (525 N Lamar Blvd, 11/27/18 – 1/7/19)

Just because you live in central Texas doesn’t mean you don’t need to brush up on those ice skating skills! Spend an afternoon on the ice rink at the Whole Foods flagship store on North Lamar. Then head inside for a cup of cocoa or cider and live, local music on the weekends! You can also plan to eat a delicious lunch or dinner at one of the pop-up restaurants in the store and enjoy a glass of wine or a craft beer at the sit-down tasting bars. The PERFECT date night!

2019 is going to be another GREAT year to live in Austin, Texas…but 2018 isn’t over yet! Get out there and enjoy all this city has to offer!

Posted in Career Advice, Featured Jobs, Hiring Tips, Management Advice |

Top 5 Skills Needed to be an Apartment Manager

Admin Assistant 2

The apartment industry is booming and choosing a career in multi-family housing promises both job and financial stability. Not to mention it is one of the best professional communities in the country! Many people start as a leasing or maintenance professional, however management is usually the goal. Being a manager in the apartment industry takes a combination of very specific skills to be successful. Below we have listed the top 5 skills needed to be an efficient and admired apartment manager.

1. Ability to Communicate with Various Employees

Unlike most management positions where you are instructing and overseeing a certain type of profession, apartment managers must communicate efficiently with many different types of people in their day-to-day. A typical week entails communicating with tenants regarding apartment complex rules, due dates, repairs and rent collection. It also involves assigning and overseeing the work of apartment staff, such as janitors, plumbers, electricians and receptionists. Often, an apartment manager must also hire outside workers to perform tasks for the complex, such as contractors to make structural repairs and improvements, landscapers to care for the grounds, or staffing companies to help find employees.

2. Continued Education

One of the most attractive aspects of the apartment industry is that it does not turn away non-degree holders. This means that you can expect to have a successful career and climb the ladder without ever attending college. This does not mean education is not valued, programs such as YARDI and other apartment-related software must be mastered to be a successful manager. There are also multiple certifications that one can achieve within the industry. Luckily, your local Apartment Association offers educational classes in all the subjects that matter in the industry.

3. Experience in the Industry

The apartment industry rewards those that stick around. You can expect to become a manager in two to five years if you make your goals clear to your management and take advantage of all the continued education you are offered through your property and Apartment Association. Smaller properties are much more likely to hire or promote a manager who has no management experience, while a larger property looks for prior management roles. In general, apartment owners seek managers with experience and knowledge of landlord-tenant laws, bookkeeping, rental deposits, leases and rental collections.

4. Accounting

Accounting is a skill that you will learn naturally working in the apartment industry. The level of accounting becomes higher when you enter management, often having to report earnings and losses to apartment owners. If your goal is to go into management, you would do well to take an adult education class at your local community college in accounting to gain an edge.

5. Flexibility

Flexibility is an important skill within any management role, but especially in the apartment industry. There are constantly issues popping up that need to be taken care of immediately, from maintenance issues to resident complaints. There is also the task of having to keep your employees happy and engaged to avoid turnover. Effective apartment managers know that they must have contingency plans for all situations. Outsourcing is a fantastic way to keep up with it all, from hiring needs to complex maintenance issues. Keeping a flexible attitude is a must.

Being in management in the apartment industry can be extremely rewarding. Apartment managers are among the best people in the world because they know that above all, people are the most important aspect of their job.

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

Top 5 Hiring Trends in 2016

2016 Hiring Trends
Like many job seekers, you are probably looking forward to 2016 and curious how you can make sure to take advantage of all the hiring trends set to take place. This year is going to be full of changes that work FOR the job seeker, as companies scramble to improve their offices and culture. Read on to see what you should concentrate on in 2016 when looking to find your ideal job.
 
1. Work on Your Skills!

Companies have learned that a skilled employee is much more valuable than a employee with a degree that lacks experience. While this is bad news for all those Millennials with massive student loan debt, this is great news for those that went into the work force immediately and now has years of experience under their belt.

If you are lacking real-life work experience, register with a industry-specific staffing company that can help you get placed in temporary positions that can build your resume and put you in front of hiring managers. If you are already employed, ask to be cross-trained for a position that interests you. There are many ways to gain attractive experience without going into student loan debt.

2. Talent Communities are Where the Jobs Are

Job posting spam is out of control these days on major job search websites such as Monster, Indeed, and Craig’s List. Job searchers are frustrated by having to sift through undesirable job postings and hiring managers are increasingly disappointed with the quality of candidates they get when they post on massive websites.

The new hiring trend for 2016 are talent communities. Talent communities are websites that bring together specific industries or job titles such as managers, marketers, and blue collar workers. A great example is the National Apartment Association’s Public Communities page. There you will find communities for CAM (Certifies Apartment Managers), CAMT (Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians), and many more.

Find your industry’s talent community online and join the discussion!
 
3. Obamacare Is Coming, Full-Time Employees Beware

2016 is the year that Obamacare takes full effect, which means many companies will be laying off full-time employees in exchange for contract workers to avoid the hefty healthcare requirements. According to Forbes.com, in 2016 95% of companies with 100 or more employees will need to be insured, and companies with 50 to 99 employees will have to insure full-time workers. Blue Cross of North Carolina, for example, has already raised their rates by 35%. This means a switch to contract workers, or freelancers, will be a more prevalent hiring trend.

4. Telecommuting Is On the Rise

Offices are getting smaller as companies realize that the virtual work space can save them big bucks. Millennials, the largest group of workers today, have voiced that they prefer a flexible working environment and companies have taken that to heart. Coupled with a move towards contract workers, companies are set to remove geographic barriers to their hiring pool. The trend in 2016 will be to allow employees to work remotely, meaning the job searcher is no longer limited to open positions in their city.

5. Company Branding Is a Must

2016 looks to be the year that job searchers are catered to more than the hiring managers. Companies such as Amazon and Netflix have lead the way in branding their corporate culture in a desirable fashion, earning them a talent pool that is knocking at their door to be a part of what they have created. You will see many companies across multiple industries offering redesigned offices, tuition reimbursement, better maternity and paternity leave, and flexible schedules. You will also see companies getting more involved in charitable causes as the younger generation takes over management roles that the baby boomers are leaving vacant in exchange for retirement.

The job seeker in 2016 will make sure to highlight their volunteer experience and ask about the company’s culture and what makes it different from its competitors.

There you have it! This year will be a very exciting year for employment. Make sure to get yourself in line with what the 2016 hiring trends are and snag yourself a position with a company you will love working for.

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