By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
Looking for a new facilities manager? Quizzing candidates is your prime opportunity to gauge whether they’re qualified, competent, invested, and motivated—provided you’re asking the right facilities manager interview questions.
Beyond the usual queries about a person’s character and work experience, hiring the right facilities manager requires a few more targeted questions. Here are eight to consider when interviewing candidates:
1. What’s your experience with facilities metrics and data?
Facilities managers need to know their way around workplace data. This includes collecting, aggregating, managing, analyzing, and reporting it. Insights about cost, space utilization, and productivity will highlight how a candidate will fuel decision-making about workplace development and growth.
2. Do you have experience with workplace IoT products?
Smart offices are the way of the future. Whether you have a growing Internet of Things (IoT) or are planning a foray into smart office technologies, your new facility manager should be knowledgeable of the IoT.
Ask about the types of devices they’ve worked with and the depth of their experience. Inquire about the IoT devices or ecosystem that intrigue them and what practical utilization they see for these technologies. The more familiar they are with the office IoT, the higher on your hiring board they’ll climb.
3. What’s your familiarity with crisis management?
Facility managers should be natural leaders—individuals who can plan, delegate, and problem solve in critical situations. Ask candidates what experience they have with crisis management planning for incidents like fires, power outages, inclement weather, and active shooter situations. How do they handle plan creation and dissemination? Have they ever had to execute a plan beyond drills and, if so, what did they learn?
4. What is your approach to facility maintenance, both proactive and reactive?
This question is your opportunity to see how a candidate confronts adversity. What’s their solution to preventing common problems and staying on top of routine facility demands? How do they deal with emergent situations that require multi-step solutions?
Pay attention to answers about automation or process creation. This shows how adept candidates are at controlling problems. Put a star next to any candidate that talks about past experiences with facility issues, such as collecting bids from contractors, developing maintenance budgets, or overseeing a temporary displacement of workers.
Ideally, you’re looking for a candidate who understands the ebb and flow of facilities maintenance. Smart facilities managers know they’re charged with managing an ecosystem that needs constant oversight, not just a building.
5. Are you familiar with any FM technologies?
Having some exposure to FM technologies is increasingly important. Are candidates familiar with any of the following:
- Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)
- Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM)
- Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
- Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
Go even deeper. Ask how they’ve previously managed facilities data and resources like floor plans or employee directories. Gauge their willingness to learn a new system, especially if they’ll be pioneering it in your workplace. Your search should land on someone who’s familiar with FM software (learn more on selecting the best facility management software), open to learning, and adept at using tech on a growing scale.
6. What’s a facilities manager’s most important role?
This subjective question is another that’ll clue you into the mindset of a potential new FM hire. It’ll also give you some indication about how they’ll approach their work.
For example, a candidate might say “minimizing expenditures,” showing a fiscal approach to facilities management. Another might say “reducing friction among employees,” indicating an emphasis on the human element of the workplace.
There’s no wrong answer to this question, just ones that help you learn more about your candidate and their approach to the job.
7. What’s your five-year vision for this job?
If your interest is piqued by a candidate’s candor, consider this question. It’s a gateway into their logical process for the future and what they plan to contribute to your company long-term. A candidate that’s invested in the position (not just a job) will shed light on how they hope to improve your business or add value.
8. How do you believe facility management impacts company goals?
This is a great closing question. It prompts a big-picture answer about the role of facilities management in the overall success of a company. Look for answers that describe the workplace’s ability to empower employees or its relationship to company finances, both in costs and how it generates revenue. Single out candidates who recognize connections to all aspects of business and who can explain those connections clearly.
These questions are a good cross-section of purposeful inquiries designed to help you find a well-qualified candidate who’s invested in your company and the position—not just the paycheck and the title.
Keep reading: the four most important facility costs to track and manage.