Hiring the Best for Your Building Security Screening

So your condo or co-op’s management company is getting ready to hire a new service employee. It could be a doorman, it could be a maintenance man, it could be a swimming-pool supervisor. Is this a simple process, or a complicated one? And, above all, how much security is needed in a given position within your building or HOA? Is checking a few references enough? Or, in this day and age, is a rigorous screening process necessary—especially because residents’ security and privacy may be at stake? Or does it depend on the job—and the size of the development?

A Few Simple Questions

What are the most commonly used methods of employee screening? As with most jobs, checking references is a must, but the techniques vary.

For example, Cooper Square Realty, Inc., a Manhattan-based management company that supervises more than 2,000 building service employees in more than 200 buildings, always uses a credit report, a criminal background check, drug testing, a face-to-face interview and training, according to Dan Wurtzel, the firm’s chief operating officer.

And in the case of applicants who hail from foreign countries, many buildings and associations will want to make sure of the applicants’ immigration status and whether they have the legal right to work in the U.S.

What “red flags” should an employer look for in an applicant’s work or legal history? Many of these are the same ones any employer hiring for a position requiring a great deal of trust and self-supervision would look for. For example, says Barry R. Manus, founding principal of BRAVO Human Resource Services, Inc., in White Plains, employers should take notice of gaps in an applicant’s employment and inquire about them. There may be a totally rational, benign explanation—the applicant may have been laid off, to name one common example, or they may have gone back to school. The answer may be quite simple, but it’s still important to make sure the applicant can readily account for the gap.

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