10 Worse Traits of Nightmare Applicants in Senior Housing?

10 Worse Traits of Nightmare Applicants in Senior Housing?

Part 1 last week, described the top 12 traits for hiring a successful senior living sales person at a retirement community.  Now let’s flip the coin over and maybe some nightmare applicants can improve themselves for future interviews in the process.

Let me share what happened with the most unbelievable applicant recently.  When he returned my call, I set a phone interview for the next morning at 8:00 AM.  The next morning, I asked him if he had looked at our website.  He said that if I could send him a link, then he would take a look at it later.  Seriously?  I started to laugh, because it was so ridiculous!  He then asked if it was a requirement to look at the website before speaking with me further.  I was still trying to be nice and gently said that he knew from the previous evening that we were going to have an interview this morning – why would you not prepare for it?  Well at that point he did not want to talk to me any more…

Here is my list of 10 worse traits of senior living sales applicants.  Feel free to add to the list or share an unbelievable hiring experience of your own:

1)   Constantly interrupts during the Interview and does not listen – Stop it!

2)   Tells me they are ONLY motivated by money – There is such a thing as being too honest!

3)   Has a history of 15 or less phone calls per day – What did you do all day, if you did not have any prospects?

4)   Say they have sales experience but it’s really being an order taker – Stop wasting my time!

5)   Too aggressive – Seniors don’t like aggressiveness!

6)   Too laid Back – Sorry, this is not sales!

7)   Dresses for a nightclub – One had a very short skirt and when she sat down, it got event shorter!

8)   Boring and/or no energy – If you put me to sleep, then you will put seniors to sleep too!  Next!!!

9)   Being a know it all – Don’t tell me you know my business, when you have never been in senior housing sales in your life!

10)   Last but not least – Never looked at our website or prepared for the interview in anyway!  Really?!!?  Come on, do you really want a job?

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com.  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email diane@marketing2seniors.net.  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/


  1. Thank you for the helpful information of what you are looking for in a sales and marketing professional for a retirement community. It was very helpful for me as I am looking for just such a position. What is your opinion of someone who has 15 years sales experience as a Realtor and a leasing agent, but now has the passion to take that into working with seniors. My educational background is a certification as medical secretary and extensive seminars on sales and marketing while in the real estate business. Will not having a bachelors degree cut me out from these job possibilities?

  2. Group: Senior Assisted Living Sales, Marketing & Operations
    Discussion: 10 Worse Traits of Nightmare Applicants in Senior Housing?

    Diane – in my case, it seems to be easier to determine who I DON’T want to select for a position in senior housing sales than to figure out the traits to look for in a successful candidate. Undoubtedly, I have had plenty of moments in an interview where I wondered why I had chosen a particular resume for a next step (interview) in the first place! Not long ago, I sat down with a candidate who had plenty of experience (I’m never sure if experience is a “good” thing or a “bad” thing) and came HIGHLY recommended. Clearly, I was looking forward to what I figured to be a no-brainer type of interview and hire. Wrong! This candidate came waltzing into the community with quite the “I already have this job in the bag” kind of attitude. The candidate and I sat down in a conference room to get acquainted and begin the interview. I was thinking to myself: “This person comes highly recommended, I must be missing something in my first impression…”. It was at this point, that the candidate sat WAY back in the conference room chair and got extremely comfortable. She reached a level of relaxation and indifference that I could only dream about on a Sunday morning with the morning paper. Needless to say, her body language totally turned me off and she experienced an interview that was one of the quickest on record. When she was not hired (or asked back for a second interview) she let it be known through the grapevine that we (I) had made a big mistake in not hiring her. SO…not only was her body language poor, but she was a “bridge burner” on top of it!

    Posted by William Wexler

  3. Group: Senior Assisted Living Sales, Marketing & Operations
    Discussion:10 Worse Traits of Nightmare Applicants in Senior Housing?

    @Diane Masson — I would have to add one more at #11: Do not come to the job interview drunk. Yes, it is true, I actually experienced this when I was Marketing Director at a senior community and was interviewing for a marketing assistant. A woman came in the the interview with alcohol on her breath — pretty much reeked of it — and, she was all huggy with me. I could not believe it.

    Posted by Diane Castro

  4. My all time favorite was an applicant whose criminal background check came back with a hit for “possession of arms” and had the nerve to get upset because we did not hire him. Really guy. Another who had been terminated for theft yet tries to tell me it was an oversight. Unreal.