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Land your first rental by employing job interview tactics

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Young adults who have just left their family home to rent their first house have a similar dilemma new entrants to the job market have when applying for and interviewing for their first job: little to zero practical experience, fierce competition with other new entrants and sometimes crippling nervousness during the interview process.

So, what makes some better at landing their first jobs within three different interviews versus those who sit on the couch for months (or years) trawling job websites and sending their CVs day in, day out?

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Sincerity, enthusiasm and humble confidence. Job applicants who lack practical experience can win over even the most jaded middle manager by demonstrating enthusiasm, excitement and drive for the job – a quality that very same middle manager had in leaps and bounds in the early part of his career. Let your enthusiasm “infect” and excite him so that you’re the obvious candidate.

Sincerity, too, has to be…well…sincere. Recognise that while you have big ideas to change the world, you do not have all the answers and no one expects you to yet. The quicker you realise this and are able to demonstrate it, the better you will improve your chances of standing out from the hundreds of other applicants.

Following on from sincerity is confidence. Overconfidence, however, is probably just as bad as a lack of confidence. This is why humble confidence is the perfect middle ground in the interview. Sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eyes, consider your answers and be open to a different point of view from the interviewer. If it differs from your beliefs, express this in a respectful manner by challenging the view, not the individual.

How to apply this to your first rentalapartments

First-time tenants do not always have an existing credit profile, often are new to the job market and are in probationary periods which means they have less job security, and have no history of being reliable or unreliable tenants with past landlords.

The landlord who agrees to rent to the first-time tenant takes on a bigger risk than had he rented to someone with a previous rental track record.

So, first-time tenant, how do you land your first rental?dreaming-about-new-apartment

Be honest, respectful of the landlord and of yourself, show maturity and treat the agreement as a business transaction.

If you have just started your first job or even if you’ve been forced to move cities for a new job, and you’re still serving probation, tell the landlord. Chances are the landlord will phone your employer and confirm what tell him; if you do not mention a key fact like serving your probation, you will be viewed as being dishonest and you will not secure the rental.

Showing respect to the landlord, his property and for yourself is best demonstrated by shaking his hand, looking him in his eyes, speaking in his language (if possible) or apologising for not being conversant in his language and requesting one you are both comfortable in, as well as looking presentable.

How to avoid a red flag-littered lease agreement

Your willingness to show courtesy and respect demonstrates to the landlord that you are responsible and mature, and that you will show equal respect to the lease agreement in terms of paying in full and on time every month as well as treating his property with the same respect you would your own.

Do not get personal. The landlord is not your friend and he doesn’t need to know your life story (unless he asks for background). Same goes for you: It’s none of your business if he is still single at 55, for example. Your potential landlord is interested in two things: Collecting his rental in full and on time each month and being confident that you will maintain and look after his property to the very best of your ability. You are paying to live in his property, which makes renting a business transaction. This is not to say be impersonal; be true to yourself (this reflects your honesty and self-respect).

Like the job market, the rental market is as competitive and landlords often have the opportunity to choose between a few possible tenants (provided the rental amount and terms of the lease agreement are fair). By employing similar tactics to landing your first job, your first rental should be pretty simple.

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David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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