The CAM Employment Process—The Interview Process

The CAM Employment Process

The Interview Process

By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM / Published January 2022

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Editor’s Note: To see all articles that have been published in this series, visit The CAM Employment Process Overview.

In “The Application Process,” published in the December 2021 FLCAJ, we provided guidance and support you may need in applying for the perfect job. The purpose of this article is to review and discuss “The Interview Process.” Recruiters will review the resumes and navigate how to narrow it down to a few candidates to begin the interview process.

When interviewing for a community association management position, it is critical that managers take note of the process and know what to do, what not to do, what to say, what not to say, how to dress, and most importantly, are prepared.

For the board and management company, it is essential that they pose the right questions to assess if the candidate can do the job. Listen and record the answers of the candidates and keep the candidate on track. Interviewing CAM licensed managers and finding the perfect match is not an easy process. To determine whether a candidate is the right fit for the community is like dating. The more dates you go on, the more you will be able to close in on the right choice. Forbes magazine stresses that the interviewer should be as prepared as the interviewee.

Social media is a good tool to find out more about the candidate and for the candidate to learn more about the company, the board, and/or the community.

First impressions on a first date are important. You never get a second chance if you strike out at the first impression! The first interview is like the first date and reflects on whether it will be “love at first sight” in establishing a memorable connection. These days, many boards and recruiters are performing interviews via Zoom.

If this is the case, the manager should ensure that his or her computer is in a quiet place without potential distractions. To ensure everything goes smoothly, log in and test your Zoom prior to the interview and set up a professional background.

During the Interview

Once you get started, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Turn off the phone and computer email notifications
  • Be sure to make good eye contact
  • Give your undivided attention
  • Do not lean back in your chair and avoid fidgeting
  • Dress for success
  • Smile
  • Speak confidently
  • Listen
  • Respond clearly and avoid rambling
  • Have good body language
  • Do not speak negatively about your former employer
  • Avoid getting personal or too familiar
  • Be polite

From a recruiter’s perspective, they are seeking someone who is excited about the role and/or the company and comes across as being genuinely interested in the position.

Interview questions the employer and/or board cannot ask per the US EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

  • Age or genetic information
  • Birthplace, country of origin, or citizenship
  • Disability
  • Gender, sex, or sexual orientation
  • Marital status, family, or pregnancy
  • Race, color, or ethnicity
  • Religion

Gray Areas

  • Height/weight
  • Financial information
  • Unemployment status
  • Background checks
  • Medical questions

Sample Interview Questions

Managers need to be prepared to answer questions. Give details and examples.

Question: Why should we hire you?

Sample ways to answer:

  • Show that you have the skills and experience to do the job and give examples of how you delivered results.
  • Highlight why you would be the right fit and a great addition to the team.
  • Share a story about how you resolved an issue.
  • Describe your management style and how you exceeded expectations.

Question: Why are you seeking a new position, or why have you changed jobs so often?

Sample ways to answer:

  • You are looking for professional growth and seeking new challenges.
  • The board changed, and you are seeking to move in a different direction.
  • Job duties had been reduced, and the management philosophy had changed.

Other items you might be asked:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Share a time when you had to address a difficult homeowner and how you handled it.
  • Describe a time when you were tasked with utilizing your ability to work well with others in mediating a disagreement between a resident, a board member, or a team member and how you resolved it.
  • Share an experience in which you inspected the property and discovered the need for repairs and maintenance and how you went about the process.
  • Share an experience in which your attention to detail had an impact on the community.
  • Explain how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work, i.e., board meetings, capital improvement projects, routine and preventive maintenance, budgeting process.
  • Describe your management style and how you engage with and motivate your team, the board, the residents, and service providers.
  • What was your biggest accomplishment and contribution to the organization that you are most proud of?
  • If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
  • What advantages would that superhero’s powers give you?

Tips on How to Prepare for the Job Interview

Do your homework. Research the company, board, and property. Prepare questions to ask them. Do not give a “no” answer when asked, “Do you have any questions you would like to ask?” It makes you look like you are not interested or fully committed.

Sample Questions the Manager Candidates Should Ask

  • Can you share what your expectations are and why you are looking for a new manager?
  • What are the skills and experience you are looking for in an ideal candidate?
  • What are the immediate projects that the board is seeking to address?
  • Is the board seeking to make changes in the staff?
  • Will the manager be given the opportunity to assess the current staff and make staffing recommendations?
  • Question your next steps. Your final interview question should pertain to the next steps you should take so you will know how to follow up. Be certain that your last question accomplishes the following:
    It demonstrates that you are forward thinking and that you tie up loose ends.
    It clarifies the follow-up process and shows that you are interested in the position.

Carmen Rodriguez, Director of Talent Acquisition for AKAM, provides her insight regarding the interview process. “When I worked in the staffing industry, I will never forget a young graduate from Georgetown University who was interviewing for a branch manager position with our firm. She shared a short memorable “STAR” story with me. Instead of telling me a little bit about herself, she prepared a story about how she was a perfect fit for the position and the company. She used a modified version of what I use to interview managers called the STAR method. 20 years later, I clearly remember her and her story.”

Below is a template to help you prepare an impactful short story to talk about in your interview, which will differentiate you from the rest.

  • Situation: Describe the situation you were in. Stay under three sentences here.
  • Task: Explain what your role was in the situation. Aim for no more than three sentences.
  • Action: Focus on the action you took. This section should be the bulk of your story.
  • Result: Highlight the result. In other words, why should the CEO/shareholders care about this story? Dive deep here.

Connect the dots and tie the story to the company and position you are interviewing for.

After the Interview

Immediately after the interview the manager should take notes.

  • Write down the questions you were asked and your responses.
  • Evaluate your performance and how you can improve.

Send a thank you for the interview note. Email versus a handwritten note is preferred for these reasons.

  • Your note will be immediately received by the interviewer, and it is common courtesy to thank them for their time.
  • Your ability to write a clear and concise note is demonstrated.
  • Your email thank you note can be shared easily and often by everyone involved—the board, management company, etc.
  • Your email is more likely to receive a response by the interviewer.

Organize Your Job Search

  • Keep good records of interviews as well as the rest of your job search.
  • Track the positions for which you have applied.
  • Use a system that works best for you and is easily accessible should an employer contact you.

The Job Offer

In the next article, we will discuss the job offer, benefits, background check, salary negotiations, contract, and roles and responsibilities. We hope that you find this information helpful and wish you much success in preparing for the interview process.

Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM

Education Program Director

Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in South Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations. Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal (FLCAJ) and serves FCAP as their education program director.

This article is part of a multi-part series as an overview of the CAM profession and the employment process.