Ace Your Residential Property Management Job Interview with Tips from a Staffing Specialist

You’ve found you’re perfect Residential Property Management (RPM) job, updated and customized your resume for the job posting, drafted a stellar cover letter/email to get you in the door and have now received that one phone call you have been waiting weeks for – the company wants you to come in for an interview.

So what next?

Of course, you have already done your homework on the company and the job and picked out the ideal, professional outfit to wear to the interview. The one unknown remains the type of questions you’re likely to be asked in the interview and how to prepare.

Lisa Odle is director of sales for BG Staffing. She has worked in the RPM industry for 30 years and helps find and prepare people to work in the industry. She has probably either attended or conducted thousands of job interviews over the years. Below are some tips she offers for acing the RPM job interview, as well as her insights on the types of questions applicants are likely to be asked in an interview.

Lisa said industry-hiring managers like to use the following questions to determine if a candidate is the right fit.

  • Sales experience? Tell me a specific story of your successes with sales in the past. Closing ratios? Overcoming objections? Closing techniques? Exceeding goals?
  • Give me an example of how you have dealt with an angry customer in the past.
  • Have you ever been involved in designing a marketing campaign or planning a special event? Tell me about it.
  • Tell me about a supervisor or coworker that you had a hard time working with in the past. How did you overcome the situation?
  • Tell me something about yourself. What are you looking for in your long-term career? (The answer here can be more general, referring to sales, marketing, management and real estate. We realize that not everybody is familiar with RPM as a career, but we want to hear about transferable skills and goals.)

Often, she said, hiring managers will ask creative or seemingly off-the-wall questions to see how the job candidate reacts and how well they do when they are forced to think “on their feet.”

The following questions typically trip people up when interviewing for a job in RPM, she said.

  • "Are you willing to work every weekend, both weekend days as a leasing consultant?" — Do not take the job planning on getting a lot of weekend days off until you are promoted to management, she said. The weekends are when you are most needed at the communities to sell your product, the apartment home.
  • "Are you a sales person or a customer service professional?" — There's some crossover, Lisa said, but there is a big difference between the two. Leasing consultants are sales people with goals and quotas to meet weekly and monthly. Closing and follow-up skills are essential.

“Here is one I like to ask: ‘It is common for a leasing professional to be in the office alone. At times you could be dealing with a leasing tour appointment, an unplanned walk-in prospect, an angry resident and a vendor arriving at the office asking for access to an apartment home to provide repair services. How would you prioritize and juggle all of these situations at once?’" Lisa said.

Another interviewing technique Lisa’s company likes to use is behavioral interviewing in which the interviewer presents a job candidate with a situation and asks for examples of how the candidate has handled that type of situation in past work environments.

Lisa suggests applicants be ready with specific, relatable examples of how they have overcome similar challenges successfully. It also never hurts to practice with a friend or staffing professional before the interview, she said.

Other tips for preparing for an RPM job interview include:

  • Wear professional and conservative attire for your interview. A dark-colored suit is the best. Keep your look simple.
  • Eye contact and a handshake are always important, of course!
  • Focus on your sales and marketing skills instead of just customer service and administrative experience.
  • Come prepared with examples of your successes from the past and be ready to provide specific details.
  • Email your proofread resume before the interview AND bring a hard copy with you. No grammatical errors!
  • Relax and be yourself. Let your personality shine through. Be dynamic and animated. Smile!

These are just a few tips to use when interviewing for a Residential Property Management job. You can find many more tips by visiting our RPM Careers website.

Follow NAAEI on Twitter @NAAEI.

Categories: Business, Career Advice, College & Career Advice, Hospitality, Job Advice, Tips For Finding A Job