CondoJobs Director, Lisa Pinder and FCAP Director, Lisa Whitson recently sat down to discuss realistic expectations of the job market for new community association managers in Florida. Here is Part 2 of that series.
A Strong Support System
LP: In Part 1, we talked about realistic expectations. Knowing that as a new CAM, the path to landing that first CAM job can be challenging; I feel it is important to have a support system and someone to work for you on your behalf. Do you agree?
LW: Absolutely. Having an organization like FCAP going to bat for you as a new CAM is invaluable. There are so many different ways we all work together to help the new CAM during their search. FCAP offers a statewide network of information CAMs can tap into with just a mouse click. There is also the magazine, Florida Community Association Journal where all of this got started as Managers Report almost 28 years ago. We have the strength of CondoJobs, which you have built into a premier recruiting service in the industry. FCAP offers a membership organization, a professional designation program, and trade shows where we can all meet and network.
LP: We all want to work with anyone who is interested and qualified to work in this industry. But you are right about the job search being difficult. It can also be difficult for those who have been in the industry for years and because of circumstance are faced with change. I’ve noticed a particular vulnerability when I relocate a CAM to a new area of the state. That’s why I always try to match up transplanted managers with other CAMs in the area. It gives the relocated CAM a local network to rely on and ask questions of.
How Does Culture Impact a CAM Position?
LW: There seems to be cultural differences in the way business is done from one part of the state to another. At the FCAP Open House in March, I talked to a manager who relocated from the Panhandle to Palm Beach county. In her community along the Panhandle, she reported to a board made up mostly of non-resident owners and her days were spent alone in a quiet office. In her new position in West Palm Beach, she reports to a very hands-on board of year round residents. Her office today is full of people, noise, and activity. Rarely is she alone when she walks the community, and all the residents have the potential to be her “boss” at some point.
LP: That’s exactly why it is important to have a support system. Can you imagine going from working alone every day to an office full of residents and staff members? It can be a real culture shock. As a matter of fact, a CondoJobs networking group has formed on its own because of the need for CAMs to connect with each other. A group of CAMs I placed in the Fort Lauderdale area have started networking with each other and keeping in touch on a regular basis.
Something for Everyone
LW: I understand that CondoJobs is very selective about who it represents. The managers must have a current, active, and clean CAM license, as well as acceptable credit. Some CAMs may choose not to use a recruiter because of the fees involved. As we mentioned before, you are also tasked with balancing the needs and requirements of the community with the skills, talents, and management style of the managers. With that in mind, how do you see FCAP and CondoJobs working together to serve CAMs in this industry?
LP: It’s true that not all CAMs will choose to use CondoJobs as their recruiter. However, all CAMs can choose to be a part of FCAP, subscribe to the magazine, attend conferences, and network. We are all part of the same family of services and provide benefits across the state. Whether it’s a new CAM in Jacksonville or a CAM who has been in the same job for 20 years in Naples, there is a benefit to being a part of the FCAP family of services.