While a building’s facade might draw the eye initially, it’s usually the first employee a visitor encounters that forms a lasting impression. And for many condominiums in New York City, the resident doorman holds this coveted, all-important role. Good impressions are important—but what makes a good doorman or doorwoman?
Characteristics of a good doorperson are “honesty, dependability, courtesy, graciousness and the ability to communicate well,” according to Rosemary Paparo, director of management at Buchbiner & Warren. Consideration of residents' privacy and alertness are also traits held in high regard in the residential service industry, Paparo adds. “They need to be very, very discreet because the worst thing for a building is when you have a doorman who talks too much, both to anybody coming in off the street or tells other people's business to other residents. You have to really keep a level head on your shoulders because you never know who is going to walk in the door and what you have to deal with—you have to be alert.”
Having a good doorman or doorwoman is a paramount concern of any property manager or board, and the residential services market is saturated with candidates. According to the Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) based in New York City, the five boroughs employ almost 13,000 door people. This begs the question: How do property managers go about hiring the best doormen and doorwomen? There are several routes resident managers might take when searching for a new doorperson.
While some prefer to hire through in-house resumes like Paparo, most New York City-based managers turn to the SEIU to find skilled and reliable doormen and doorwomen, according to Angelo Petitto, a SEIU 32BJ field representative for the residential division of the Upper East Side. “Most of the time if there is an opening position, the resident managers or the managing agent would contact a specific field rep in their designated area because what they want is a qualified, experienced doorman and they will call us—they would like to utilize that service rather than hire from the outside because they know they’re getting an experienced, qualified doorman.”
SEIU provides its members a selection of courses, such as computer technology and medical training classes, to fully prepare door people for situations that might arise during the course of a day. This training sets SEIU members apart from non-unionized doorpersons and offers peace of mind to residential managers, Petitto says.