Don’t get slapdash when it comes to CVs.

Very rarely is there a time when agency owners aren’t on the lookout for good staff. Perhaps they are expanding; maybe the sales division is surging ahead plus there’s always resignations and retirements to cover. In lettings, the recruitment drive is almost exclusively for experienced, qualified staff that are familiar with the legalities and complex nature of the private rental sector. It can be a frustrating search as the pool of talent in lettings isn’t that big, and quality personal will probably be made attractive offers by current employers at the first whiff of headhunting.

Challenging times – with an empty desk, demanding landlords and panic-stricken tenants not knowing how to change a fuse – can lead to corners being cut in employment. We know it happens. While driving to work the other day I listened to a radio ‘phone in where the DJ asked listeners if they’d ever conned or ‘blagged’ their way into anything. One caller was proud to say he’d tricked his way into a job by lying on his CV about his past experience. His new career? An estate agent. His past job? Working in a warehouse. The caller divulged that he’d been working as a manager, no less, in a Stanmore estate agency for six months. He hadn’t been rumbled, despite owning up on air to the fact he hadn’t got a clue what went on in the daily morning meetings.

Some people will be able to wing it or pick up the trade quickly. But in lettings, with the added pressures that landlord licensing and immigration checks may bring, it doesn’t pay to be slap dash with CVs. A simple reference check would have established the lies on this caller’s resume. The damage to an agent’s brand and business could be catastrophic but in this case, the agent seems to have got away lightly.

This amusing/alarming tale was broadcast in the same week that a US university revealed results of a study into the content and presentation of CVs. The researchers found that recruiters made flawed judgements about a candidate’s personality based on what they read in the application, compounded by the fact that employers spend an average of just six seconds looking at a CV. Double spacing, traditional fonts and the removal of personal statements were all listed as favourable facets but the effectiveness of a CV could be blown out of the water by a contradictory piece of research that states a good covering letter is better than any polished CV.

If Mr Agent in Stanmore is anything to go by, employers should discount anything in print to begin with until they have called the reference contacts. Surely past employers are the most accurate and telling indicator of a future employees character and credibility? The question, are you too busy to pick up the ‘phone?

ARPM

Simon Duce is the Founder and Managing Director of ARPM Outsourced Lettings Support - a business designed to help small and start-up letting agents/property managers offer a full suite of property management and tenancy administration services through outsourcing.

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