Security has always been a concern in New York City’s co-op and condo buildings. Whether you’re a manager, board member/shareholder, or unit owner in an urban co-op or condo, your building isn’t just your home; it’s a community, and a safe haven for residents and their families. To maintain the safety and security of a residential building and give peace of mind to both board members and non-board residents, it’s vital that the people hired to work inside the building are chosen carefully, and are the best people for the job. Choosing the right people to staff your building is as important as making wise decisions about prospective buyers—it’s all about preserving the community and the investment it represents.
As employees in a residential building, staff members have access to the occupants’ apartments and belongings—including sensitive personal information and their private correspondence. In light of this, it’s incumbent upon managing agents to hire the most reliable personnel for their buildings.
A crucial step in hiring personnel is having a thorough screening process in place to check out every candidate, regardless of the position they’re applying for. This process helps managing agents identify the best people for each position, while raising red flags over any candidates with criminal histories or a dossier of disciplinary actions or chronic terminations.
According to David Goodman of Tudor Realty, a management firm based in Manhattan, the first step in the screening process is to have each candidate fill out a comprehensive application including standard questions such as contact information, date of birth, social security number or green card identification number—and if the applicant is not a U.S. citizen, past experience and tenure at each previous place of employment, reasons for leaving and so forth.
In addition, says Goodman, there must be language on the application form clearly stating that the form will be used to conduct a background check. By signing the application, candidates are giving the managing agent permission to look into their personal information.