It’s Time to Rethink Candidates’ Criminal Records

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There is a major labor shortage, especially in the hourly wage worker market — to the point that it’s crippling businesses since they are unable to operate fully. Solving this crisis will require both society and employers to rethink how they view hiring individuals with criminal records, and in particular, those who have been previously convicted of felonies, as well as those who have been formerly incarcerated. 

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans has a criminal record, which is a staggering number of people. This has major implications when it comes to employment, since it often prevents opportunity, which becomes a vicious cycle, increasing the likelihood of someone reoffending. As a nation and the employers within it, it’s time to start rethinking hiring workers with past criminal records

[Editor’s note: Join “From Cell Block to C-Suite: The Ins and Outs of Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Individuals,” an interactive ERE webinar on Thurs., Aug, 5, to help you elevate your hiring practices to leverage an often overlooked talent pool.]

Labor Shortage

As mentioned, there’s a dire labor shortage these days. Indeed, you may have seen a lack of staff at local restaurants or during a recent hotel stay or even inside your own organization. As the pandemic subsides, companies are struggling to hire workers, especially in the hourly wage worker market. 

The truth is that employers cannot afford to be as choosy as they once were, which is a good thing since there are approximately 1.9 million formerly incarcerated workers in the labor force who are all too often treated as unemployable. 

But why? It’s time to both offer opportunity to this workforce and solve the talent shortage.

The government has clearly shown its support for changing this view — 26 states have legislation that bars employers from asking for criminal record checks. Again, allowing this workforce to have opportunities is good for them and helps with hiring during today’s tough times. 

Allowing Reform

Imagine making a mistake at a young age (say, between 17 to 30 years old) and then having that mistake, for which you already served your sentence and have lawfully earned your right to freedom, follow you with a constant stigma. Imagine that drastically inhibiting your ability to earn an honest income and provide for yourself and your family. 

What do you think the likelihood is that you would potentially reoffend? Five out of 6 people who were released from prison in 2005 were rearrested at some point over the course of the next nine years.  

What’s more, a study released in March 2018 found that 45% of people released from prison had not reported earning income for the entire calendar year after their release. Common sense suggests that work opportunities are the best way to offer routine and reform to those who have made mistakes at some point in their lives.  

On the other hand, constantly preventing people from moving forward with their lives maintains a cycle of hurt and puts people at risk for reoffending. It’s toxic, and if companies would change their policies and open up opportunities for all, the outcome would likely be a considerable decrease in people reoffending. 

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Lost Taxes and Productivity

There’s data showing that the average cost to house, clothe, and feed someone in prison is the same as the average annual salary of a formerly incarcerated worker. By not offering employment opportunities to people who have been formerly incarcerated, we are essentially forcing them to reoffend since there are no other options. Everyone loses out, and all of society pays for it, quite literally. 

With the 1.9 million formerly incarcerated workers out of the labor market, due to their inability to find gainful employment, the U.S. economy loses $87 billion in gross domestic product.

Here’s another interesting fact: The GDP loss we experience from not hiring that 1.9-million-person workforce is the same as Sri Lanka’s entire economy! This workforce of formerly incarcerated individuals would rank in the top 65 largest economies all on its own. 

Really think about and digest that for a second. Why are we allowing — even forcing — that loss to exist? This does not even mention the taxes that are lost, which could be used for schools, infrastructure, and other high-value inputs to the macro U.S. economy. 

Time to Rethink

If we can take away any positives from all of the turmoil caused this past year by Covid-19, wouldn’t rethinking the way we treat people who have paid their debt to society be a good place to start? Especially when by just offering them career opportunities, we create a better, more productive economy for all of us? 

Let’s hope that the coverage and discussions this topic has generated continues gaining momentum and we actually begin to see some material changes over the coming months and years. Otherwise, continuing to support systems that were created and designed to force those in vulnerable positions to reoffend will only continue to result in that outcome. An outcome that quite literally punishes us all. 


Register for the webinar “From Cell Block to C-Suite: The Ins and Outs of Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Individuals” on Thurs., Aug, 5, for more information.]

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot Q2 2021

The apartment market continues its recovery during the second quarter. As a result of surging rental rates and occupancy, demand for multifamily professionals stood strong. In this edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, job openings in the apartment industry consisted of more than 37.0% of positions available in the real estate sector, surpassing the 5-year average of 33.2%. Property management, leasing and maintenance job openings declined year-over-year, yet administrative positions increased by 1.1%. Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Denver and Seattle ranked highest for apartment job demand. For the student housing sector, job openings were most prevalent in Austin, Columbus, Gainesville and Tallahassee.

NAA 20 in their 20s – Sydney Jamieson

Sydney Jamieson, Vice President of Operations for the iLS Network, shares her journey working in the apartment industry.

“For someone who is new to the apartment industry, my biggest piece of advice is to master your current position, and always look for opportunities to level up.”


My RPM Story

I started my first job in the restaurant industry as a bus boy, and eventually transitioned into serving. It was definitely a fast-paced work environment, and I never left without breaking a sweat. I always cared more about providing great service than about how much I made in tips. Six years in the industry gave me a solid foundation for doing so. Although forever grateful for the experience, I decided to pursue a more career-minded profession after graduating the University of Arizona with a business economics degree.

Will Nurss Bio Picture

A friend who had just started working in the industry referred me to residential property management. My friend described the mix of sales, service, and business analysis that went into the profession. I thought it would be a good fit given my service background and business degree. Going on my fourth year in residential property management, I can say I was right.

I am an assistant community director for Weidner Apartment Homes in Tucson, Arizona. My day-to-day functions include leasing, answering phones, responding to emails, working on resident files, doing bank deposits, reconciling move out charges with security deposits, monthly resident event planning, and assisting the director as needed. My attention to detail, and always my desire to help makes me a great residential property management professional. I am always happy to do something extra if I know it will make someone else’s work easier. I take pride in being organized, which is important if you want to work efficiently, and effectively. With all the phone calls, emails, service requests, side projects, and residents stopping in, it is easy to miss things if you are not organized.

Getting to help residents, whether it is in the form of answering a question, or putting in a service request, is the most rewarding part of residential property management. Residents are not just customers that pay rent; they are people you get to know and connect with. There are so many little things you do each day, that all add up to a quality apartment home living experience. Prospects sometimes will tell you stories about places they lived where maintenance was ignored, things were not taken care of, and their concerns were not recognized. I know when they move into our community that will not be their experience. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge that comes with the profession, and there is always room to grow, to learn, and to improve. With each step there is opportunity to pass on knowledge, and help others on your team grow. Each day brings new challenges, and is never the same.

Having started my fourth year in residential property management, I have gained a good understanding and appreciation for what goes into making an apartment property run, I signed up to be a residential property management ambassador to share my insight to help guide others considering a role in the industry.

If you know someone who would make a great RPM Careers ambassador, email Sarah Levine

 


Landing Your Dream Job with RPM

The saying goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” When I found a career in the residential property management (RPM) industry, this sentiment turned into reality, and it can become your reality too. As a national maintenance trainer for the 13th largest property management company in the U.S., I get to travel the country and work with different maintenance teams, pursuing my passion for teaching.Headshot of Ambassador Angel DavilaI began my journey in the RPM industry as a groundskeeper in 2006 after returning from deployment while in the Marines. While I was working as a groundskeeper, I was also pursuing a criminal justice degree to become a police officer. At that time, I didn’t know that RPM would become a lifelong career.

I decided against pursuing a path in police work because I was building skills in RPM and felt such satisfaction from helping residents with their maintenance needs. Being able to solve complex problems brought me extreme pride. What also drove me to stay in RPM was my competitive spirit and desire to do the more technically challenging work that I saw my supervisor doing: using oxygen and acetylene torches, fixing broken waterlines, and completing appliance repairs. I looked up to the people with these skills and even envied them. I knew that I wanted to achieve their level of knowledge and saw the National Apartment Association Education Institute’s continuing education opportunities as the compass that could guide me down the road of success.

The industry gave me the tools and opportunities I needed to grow into a rewarding career. I wrote down all my goals and began pursuing maintenance credentials to help me achieve them. I earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s Universal Certification and became a certified pool operator and certified apartment maintenance technician (CAMT). I rose through the ranks in the maintenance field — from groundskeeper to maintenance technician, maintenance supervisor, regional maintenance supervisor, and then my current role as a national maintenance trainer — always looking toward new learning opportunities that could take my career to the next level. Over 12 years, I was promoted 12 times across the maintenance field, even crossing over to the vendor side as an HVAC project manager. I pursued my certified apartment manager and certified apartment portfolio supervisor credentials and became an instructor for NAAEI after attending its advanced facilitator course. From there, my career skyrocketed.

In RPM, people who work hard, learn, and improve are rewarded for their success. Throughout my career, I’ve been recognized for my commitment to the industry and success in maintenance roles. In 2019, I was named the National Apartment Association CAMT of the Year, and I was recognized as the Texas Apartment Association Maintenance Professional of the Year in 2018. Earning recognition in RPM helped me stand out from the competition when applying for jobs and helped me gain financial freedom over the years due to promotions. If you’re a goal chaser, then this is an industry for you.

My biggest recommendation for anyone considering a career in RPM is to ask themselves one question: “If money weren’t an object, what would I want to do for the rest of my life?”

My answer is simple: Travel, and help others develop their skills. I get to do that every day with my RPM career. The RPM industry offers unlimited opportunities, and it landed me my dream job. Don’t wait!


It’s a Wild Life in Property Management

It’s so nice to “virtually” meet you all!  I am honored to be partnering with the National Apartment Association Education Institute as an RPM Careers Ambassador. I just began my fifth year in the residential property management industry. So far, I’ve worked as a leasing consultant, assistant manager, and property manager with Bell Partners in Greenville, South Carolina. I’m eager to use this platform to tell the story of how I started in this industry, my keys to success, and the speed bumps I’ve overcome. I also look forward to giving recognition to my mentors and sharing the small ways I choose to pay it forward each day!

Bio image of Hannah Lockard

Before 2016 — which now feels like a previous life — I was a wildlife biologist specializing in wildlife management. After college, my goal was to secure the most adventurous, exciting career in wildlife management that I could find. I had unforgettable experiences doing hands-on mountain lion and black bear research during my undergraduate studies. And I have literally been face-to-face with more wildlife than most people ever get to see from a distance. (Steve Irwin, a famous wildlife expert and my childhood hero, would have been so proud.) People often ask me if I miss my adventures in wildlife biology or if I plan to go back to that field someday. They ask what changed that led me to “settle for an office job.”  I would have asked myself the same questions a few years ago. Although I never imagined being so satisfied with an indoor office job, I am so proud of the career I’ve established and that I get to have such an impact on the lives of so many people every day. I can’t imagine doing anything else now. I do sometimes miss the excitement of being hands-on with wild animals. But, to be honest, my job in RPM has just as many crazy experiences and surprises around every corner. As a bonus, my maintenance team always calls on me when they run into an unruly snake, raccoon, or possum in an apartment or on the property, and I get to save the day and put my degree to good use! 😊

Looking back over the past several years, I am astonished at the route my professional career has taken. My employment in the RPM industry was meant to be only a temporary deviation. I’m sure some of you can relate to that! After the birth of my son, I needed a job with convenient hours, and I saw an open leasing position at an apartment community with great hours. I also had the ideal combination of sales, service, and management work experience, so I applied and thought to myself, “This gig will give me the chance to get back on my feet and a steady paycheck while I look for wildlife jobs that I want to do. And the rent discount is pretty sweet too!” The last thing I expected was to launch full speed into a career that I would be as invested in and appreciative of as I am today. What I didn’t know at the start was that I would take that small opportunity and invest all my energy into being the best I could be. By surrounding myself with amazing people who would nurture my growth, I landed on the fast track to positions of influence in which I have the honor of sharing my passion with my community and peers. I never knew that with property management I would have the ability to double my income in a few years with minimal training expenses and earn incredible benefits.

My story is not unique. The people I work with each lived a different life before they got into this business. And, yet, we all found the same “home” in RPM. Our previous jobs in areas such as customer service, education, public service, retail, management, sales, engineering gave all of us the skills we need to be excellent in our positions and even better as a team. We thrive in a setting where we are all feeding off each other’s energies, sharing knowledge and skills, and working toward a common goal: delivering the best possible living experience for our residents. I am most fulfilled when I have the opportunity to train and mentor others, which is why I serve as a mentor with my company. I appreciate getting a call from a colleague where they feel comfortable enough to share their struggles or ask for help solving a problem and I can serve as a sounding board or lead them to find a solution. We are all stronger together when we can rely on each other and be humble enough to ask for the help we need. That’s where we grow and gain the confidence to be our best.

There are so many people in this world who are perfect for work in this industry but haven’t discovered the right opportunity. As an RPM Careers Ambassador, I want to encourage people to explore careers in on-site management, maintenance, or vendor services and show them how to forge their path to their version of success. I want to contribute to improving our industry’s diversity and inclusion by bringing people with bright minds and rich backgrounds to the forefront. If you are not in this industry yet, or if you are considering in which direction you want to go, my biggest advice is to get started. Find a role that uses your skill set and a company that you will be proud to be a part of with core values that match yours and mentors willing to help you grow. Don’t be afraid to start from the bottom. You may end up with the career of your dreams.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post belong to the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any employer.


It’s Careers Week! Let’s get started!

There are an estimated 11,000 new residential property management (RPM) jobs every year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These jobs require talented new hires, which is why the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) works to inform the public about RPM job opportunities and the great benefits of an RPM career.

We need to continue getting the word out to college-educated millennials, to people with experience in the retail, hospitality, or restaurant industries, to military spouses and veterans, and beyond.

We do that through this website, social media and other digital channels, and partnerships with colleges and organizations. But we also reach these audiences, and the general public, with “media tours.”

During one media tour, conduced on a single day in May 2017, former NAAEI President Stephanie Puryear Helling was interviewed by 19 radio stations and networks. Helling, who is senior director of operations and real estate strategic services at Greystar, used those five- to 10- minute interviews to highlight the benefits of working in the growing RPM industry.

These interviews aired more than 1,400 times on radio stations and networks with a combined audience of 47 million. (Listen to Blog Talk Radio’s “Life Lessons” to hear one of these placements.)

In July, we scheduled an internet media tour, lining up for interview for Helling and Jeremy Lawson, an NAAEI board member and the reputation manager for Fogelman Properties. This blitz generated more than 2,000 placements in online, radio, and TV outlets with a combined audience exceeding 158 million. (Examples of these placements include an online article in Inquisitr, which averages more than 1 million visitors a day, and in Farmington Patch, a hyperlocal platform in Michigan.)

As important as the exposure is what listeners and readers learned. The media tours emphasized these key facts:

  • The number of apartment community residents has sharply increased over the past decade, and all signs point to the boom continuing – providing job opportunities and job security.
  • In the U.S., nearly 39 million people live in a total of 20 million apartment homes.
  • Lifestyle trends, homeownership patterns, and changing demographics point to demand for 4.6 million new apartments by 2030.
  • The industry generates about 11,000 new property management positions every year.
  • NAAEI provides training for people who want to join the industry and continuing education for people looking to grow in their RPM careers.

As Helling said in her interview with “Life Lessons,” RPM companies “hire for attitude, train for skill – so we’ve got a little something for everyone.” Part of NAAEI’s job is to make sure everyone gets the message.


It’s Careers Week! Let’s get started!

Residential Property Management Careers Week

In 2021, we will be celebrating RPM Careers Week from July 12-16!

RPM Careers Week is a great time for hiring personnel, whether they are onsite managers or corporate human resources managers, to evaluate incoming talent more effectively by exploring core competencies rather than just looking for previous apartment industry experience.

NAA and NAAEI will also be celebrating Apartment Onsite Teams Day on July 14 in conjunction with RPM Careers Week to celebrate the dedication and contributions of apartment housing staff.

Who can participate in National RPM Careers Week?

Anyone can. Apartment community staff, apartment management companies, hiring personnel and NAA affiliates are all encouraged to participate in creating awareness about careers in the apartment industry.

Are You In?

Great! Here’s how you can make the most of RPM Careers Week:

  • Share RPMcareers.org—the careers website of the National Apartment Association Education Institute, designed to attract qualified candidates to explore our industry
  • Promote awareness through social media using #RPMcareers
  • Download the media kit
  • Download RPM Career Week brochures and other materials

Download the 2021 Toolkit Here!

 

For more information, contact Sarah Cozewith.

Preparing Your Self for A Rental Property Management Job.

Ten years ago, Betsy Kirkpatrick left college and started working as a loan processor and underwriter. Then the mortgage industry collapsed, and she needed a new career. She worked short stints at the Boys and Girls Club, in phone retail sales, and in church management before entering the residential property management (RPM) industry.

Betsy Kirkpatrick Bio Picture

“If anything prepared me for RPM, it was the Boys and Girls Club,” Kirkpatrick says. Without realizing it, the skills she acquired while supervising rambunctious 14-year-olds, along with other experiences, would easily translate to her positions as assistant manager and then property manager. “Candidates don’t need RPM-specific experience,” she says. “Companies can train them, as long as they have related skills.”

Now as national director of recruiting at BG Multifamily Staffing, Kirkpatrick offers this advice for people seeking jobs in RPM:

  • Make your experience relevant to RPM.
    • Looking to work as a leasing consultant? Highlight your sales and customer service experience. Perhaps you’ve worked at a cosmetic counter, cellphone store, or in restaurants. Your experience is relevant to RPM, so translate that on your resume and during your interview.
    • Looking to work as a manager? Experience in the accounting or mortgage industries, among many others, is easily transferrable to RPM.
    • Looking to work as a maintenance technician? Experience in hotels, the military, and with HVAC systems can be adapted to RPM.
  • Always act like you’re interviewing. 
    Kirkpatrick wanted to work in the RPM industry, but she didn’t know how get there. One day, the property manager for a local apartment community came into the store where she was working. They had a conversation at the register, and she asked Kirkpatrick to come in for an interview. It turns out Kirkpatrick’s non-RPM experiences provided unique qualifications for the industry. She switched to RPM the day after her interview and never looked back.
  • Be prepared, but be yourself. When interviewing, you should dress like you’re going to work, bring a copy of your resume and a pen, be calm, don’t talk badly about former employers or offer too much personal information, and have a good attitude and open mind. Most important, be yourself. “A lot of people go in trying to copy another person who is successful — it’s going to look fake,” says Kirkpatrick. “Find what your sales style is and let that shine through.”
  • Be ethical beyond a doubt. 
    “I have seen so many people over the years who’ve tried to skirt the system. But it always bites them in the butt,” says Kirkpatrick. “Your job is not worth it. Be as ethical and straightforward and truthful as possible.”
  • Hustle because you need it. Hustle because you believe it. 
    When you’re in RPM, you’re a part of someone’s story. Whether it’s people who are getting married, going to college, or dealing with separation — you have an impact on their lives. Share your passion for the RPM industry and the things that drive you on a day-to-day basis. “When hiring for someone as a director in a market, I want to find someone who will hustle because they need it and hustle because they believe it,” Kirkpatrick says.

Your interviewer wants to see the real you, your translatable skills, and a positive attitude that would boost the team and the company. “We don’t need experienced people. I look for attitude first and foremost — that this person wants a career, has the drive needed to do the job,” Kirkpatrick says. “If they have the basic building blocks, I can train them for any position.”

Explore careers and apply for jobs at RPMcareers.org.


Apartment Jobs Report May 2021

This year’s prime leasing season has spurred strong demand for multifamily professionals. In May’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, the number of available positions in the apartment industry amounted to more than 14,600 job openings. The highest concentration of job postings was in Kansas City, Portland, Raleigh, Houston and Dallas. This month’s spotlight highlights maintenance managers and supervisors. The demand for these positions was more than 3 times the U.S average in Seattle. The top specialized skills employers are looking for included HVAC, plumbing, repair, property management and carpentry skills.