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That dreaded interview question: “What is your greatest weakness?”

Every time I have ever interviewed for a position in the apartment industry, I have dreaded hearing those five words. Of course I am human and naturally flawed, but I am in this interview to cast myself in a positive light. That makes answering this question all the more difficult. How do you tell someone you are not the perfect leasing consultant, assistant property manager, or apartment groundskeeper while simultaneously conveying that you are “perfect” for the position?

It turns out, that this question is your selling moment! There is no better time during the interview to shine than when answering this one simple question.  Here is the trick:

Turn your perceived weakness into a positive attribute of yourself in a way that will contribute to the position you are seeking. The point of the question is not your weakness but how you overcome it.

How? Let me give you some examples of positive responses to this question.

“My biggest weakness is I do not have much experience with PowerPoint or Excel. However, I am currently taking a course to increase my skills and will be at or above an advanced level by the time I finish the course.”

“I sometimes push my people too hard. I like to work with a sense of urgency and not everyone is always on the same page.  I know that with more patience and allowing my team members to demonstrate professionalism, we can still be successful at an appropriate pace.”

“I tend to get too focused on one task so that I don’t always get around to the rest when I should; however, I overcome this by setting deadlines for myself to work toward.”

“I struggle with public speaking. However, I constantly challenge myself by taking on public speaking roles in the apartment community for increased practice, and I have improved greatly over the years.”

And sometimes, depending on the environment of the interview, your comfort level with the person interviewing you, and the position, honest humor works as well:

“I am absolutely terrible at baseball; it’s really quite embarrassing.  But with the way the Houston is playing, who would notice?”

Take a really hard look at yourself well before the interview. What is your weakness and how do you try everyday to improve on it? How you overcome is the most important part of your answer.

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3 Things Santa does to keep his Elves Motivated

With all the hustle and bustle going on just before the holiday season, here are a few tips to help you keep your employees focused and motivated.

  1.  Make your Holiday Cards personalIt is so easy and cost effective these days to just have a company print up your Christmas Cards with your name already printed on them in place of a signature. This year, take the time to let your leasing professionals, maintenance technicians, and assistant managers know you took the time to personalize their cards. Personalization is becoming so rare that it will be noticed and appreciated. Use their names and write each staff member a short note telling reiterating some of the great things they’ve done for you!
  2. Decorate the leasing office and let your staff help!Often there is only one person in the leasing office who decorates the tree. This year, let your staff make it a shared event. Buy one box of plain colored Christmas tree ornaments and a Sharpie and write each and every employee’s name and job title on them. Let them hang the ornaments on the tree while serving some hot cocoa and cookies.As the years pass, you will enjoy looking back at some of those ornaments to see how far your employees have come. How about that leasing consultant who is moving up the ladder and is now your assistant manager? Or the groundskeeper who in five years runs the entire Maintenance staff.
  3. Try to consider each employee’s holiday family traditions when making your schedule.It will likely be impossible to make everyone happy when it comes to scheduling work hours around the holiday season. However, if you take a moment to sit with your staff and get to know what their traditions include, you will be showing them that you made an effort – and sometimes that is the greatest motivation.

For more tips on retaining employees, read 3 Ways to Retain the Apartment Industry Professional from Hire Priority.

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The Houston Recruiting Industry Loses a Legend

“Ann was the best healthcare recruiter in Houston, Texas for the good part of thirty years,” says James Lenhardt, CEO of Hire Priority Staffing and former colleague of Ann Haubegger. Ann passed away Thursday, October 11, 2012 due to complications from lung cancer.

For the four decades that Ann worked in the Houston recruiting industry she was admired by clients and co-workers alike for her dedication and success. Ann “tried to get into the heart and soul of her clients,” says Vaughn Adams, close friend and former colleague of Ann’s. After sharing an office and friendship for thirty years, Adams remarks that she saw Ann do everything she could for people, which contributed to her accomplishments as a healthcare recruiter. She embodied all the characteristics of a successful recruiter: strong relationships with clients, a clear understanding of recruiting fundamentals, a good listener, and passionate about her work.

Today, “if there’s a doctor’s office or clinic in Houston, there’s a good chance Ann had an impact there,” says Lenhardt.  Ann was not only the best healthcare industry recruiter in Houston; she was one of the top ten recruiters in the Houston market for over twenty consecutive years. The Houston Business Journal listed Hire Priority (formerly Harrison Personnel) as one of their top 25 Recruiting Companies—and Ann was the most successful of their talented recruiters.

Ann’s legacy will live on in the recruiters that learned from her and the thousands of clients and candidates that had the pleasure to work with her. “There aren’t many recruiters today like her,” says Laura Hudson, a former recruit of Ann’s at Texas Surgical, “she was special”.

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My Story: Marni Long – Apartment Leasing Consultant Houston

My Story: Marni Long

            Over a decade ago the people-oriented aspect of the Houston apartment industry drew Marni Long to look for jobs; however, she ended up pursuing a career in office management instead. Today, Marni has returned to her original goal of working in an apartment job, and is employed by Sentinel Real Estate.

In transitioning to the apartment industry, Marni remarks, “I knew that if I wanted to break into a new job channel the best route to take would be through a placement company.” And after a quick Google search, Marni ended up with Hire Priority Apartment Staffing.  Marni knew what she was looking for, and the day she showed up at Hire Priority she was immediately sent to a position they had waiting for her. Of her journey to working for Sentinel Real Estate, Marni says,

“I decided the apartment industry is where I wanted to end up and simply took the steps to accomplish my goal. Hire Priority got my foot in the door and Sentinel gave me the opportunity to prove I could do the job.”

And Marni has found exactly what she was looking for with her current position—a job where she gets to work with people, making them feel comfortable and excited about leasing at her community. Being proactive, asking questions, and networking are all elements of Marni’s journey to which she accredits her success.

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Compete for Jobs Against more Experienced Candidates

How To Compete for Jobs Against More Experienced Apartment Industry Candidates

Chances are, in the search for your ideal job you will come up against more qualified candidates. Perhaps they have greater experience, specialized skills, or impressive professional accomplishments on their resumes. So how do you compete with someone who, on paper, appears more qualified for a job?

The key is to offer employers something in addition to your own experience and resume points. While credentials are important, they are not the only determining factor in the hiring process. For example, interviewing with an apartment manager or hiring authority presents an opportunity to demonstrate qualifications beyond bullet points on your resume. While you may not be a seasoned veteran of the apartment industry, you can offer a fresh perspective and a willingness to adapt to a new environment. Or, where  your property management experience may be lacking, you are a candidate who can be molded to fit the management company. Combined with a passion for the position you are interviewing for, these advantages can contribute compensation for a lack of experience.

Interviews are crucial; however, competition for jobs begins much earlier with searching and networking. In a pool of stronger candidates, taking advantage of networking opportunities can lead to apartment job opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible. Successful networking combined with a strong interview that emphasizes your strengths, in particular those that may not be immediately evident from your resume, will give you a competitive edge against more experienced apartment industry contenders.

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