Last updated on March 24th, 2020 at 07:55 am

Everything we do, we do for people. Building are here to serve us, and in order to meet their purpose they need to be kept clean, safe, operational, and in good condition.

As a facilities manager you’ll respond for it. Said more precisely, you’ll respond for managing people who take care of these things, to ensure that the buildings meet the needs of the people who work in them.

To be able do this job well, you need basically two things (a degree isn’t one of them):

  • Excellent communication and management skills.
  • Understanding of a “life” of a building, and what needs to be done on a daily, weekly, yearly, and irregular basis to maintain it in an excellent condition.

With their questions, the hiring managers will try to find out whether you meet the two criteria. Now we will look at some of these questions, and I will show you how to answer them. Let’s go!

 

Why did you apply for a job of a Facilities Manager?

You should say two things:

  • What you expect to get from this job (in terms of experience, daily life enjoyment, and career growth).
  • What you want to give back for the compensation (experience with similar work, excellent management and communication skills, your motivation to turn the building to something better, etc).

The key is to show them that you have also their goals on your mind, that you did not apply only becasue this job pays well, and you will enjoy doing it.

For example, you can say that you know the problems their buildings experience right now, and that you can envision yourself addressing these problems, and making the place better for everyone.

 

Tell us something about your previous working experience

You should talk about relevant roles, or, if you have done nothing relevant, try to find connection with something that seems irrelevant.

In fact, every job in which communication was involved (which is true for 95% of all jobs man can have), is a sort of preparation for the job of a Facilities Manager. You talked to people, you tried to understand them, or lead them, and you will do the same in your new job–just the setting will be different, and the things you will discuss with them.

If this is your first job application, ensure the hiring managers that you read job description carefully, understand the scope of your duties, and feel ready to do the job well, though having no previous experience.

Three people meet in an interview in a building under construction

How do you imagine your typical day in work as a facilities manager?

While a typical day varies from one location to another, you should show them that you have some idea, and most importantly that you want to proactively look for things to improve.

You can say that you plan to make a daily inspection of each building under your supervision, to ensure everything is in place, talking to staff and supervising their work, addressing any problems that may arise (with water, heating, etc).

You can also say that you plan to work on feasible plans of continuous renovation of each building in your “portfolio”, and work on realization of these plans.

Ensure them that you want to be busy in work, that you will actively seek for things to do, in order to improve the facilities…

* Do not forget to read also: Simple guide on how to overcome interview nerves.

 

How would you ensure that facilities meet government regulations and environmental, health and security standards?

Ensure the interviewers that you either have an excellent knowledge of these standards and regulations (you can even list two or three of them, with which buildings in your area struggle the most), or know where to look to learn about them.

You can even say that you plan to devote a small part of your time in work to checking the news and updates to these laws and regulations, to ensure you won’t miss any important changes. Regular inspections (to ensure the facilities meet the regulations) are an obvious thing to do.

Special Tip: Download the list of all questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

interview questions for facility managers

Imagine that you should find a new cleaning company for one of the facilities. How would you proceed?

Just don’t say that you’d call your friend who runs such a company :). Obviously you may do this in your new job (and won’t be neither the first nor the last manager who took advantage of their position to help their friend from business), but it’s not something to refer to in an interview.

The key is to show them that you will approach your task responsibly. You will allocate a budget, and spend some time researching about local cleaning companies, reading reviews and picking three or four best of them. Then you will meet with their representatives, explain them the work and let them make an offer.

Then you will obviously pick the best one–not only in terms of price, but quality. You may even say that you will check their references directly with other managers who cooperate with each cleaning company.

A group of managers discusses a change in a meeting.

Describe a time when you demonstrated your leadership

You will lead people in your new job, and almost certainly you’ll get at least one or two interview questions about your leadership skills.

You can refer to a situation when you helped an employee to regain their motivation, or perhaps when you led a team of diverse personalities in work, while they struggled to cooperate together.

If this is your first job application, you can talk about leading a group of friends in a football team (or any other team), or, if you can’t think of anything better, narrate a situation when you helped someone you love (your relative, good friend) to get over a difficult period they experienced in life.

There are many forms of leadership, and for sure you had an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership more than once. It’s just about remembering the situation…

 

Other questions you may get in your Facilities Manager interview

  • Why do you want to work for us, and not another construction company, property firm, etc?
  • What motivates you the most in work?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
  • What do you consider the biggest security risks with the buildings in our portfolio?
  • What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job?
  • Describe a situation when you were unable to solve the problem on your own.
  • How do you feel about taking up some manual labor when necessary?
  • What would you do to ensure that we save energy, and reduce operational costs in our facility?
  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Why should we hire you?

 

Conclusion and next steps

Facility Manager is quite a popular job title. Typically you will compete with three to five people for the job, and if someone more experienced interviews for it (someone who had the same job in the past), it will be difficult to beat them.

However, you should try your best, that means researching about your future employer and the facilities they run, trying to show motivation and enthusiasm in an interview, and most importantly prepare for the questions they will ask you.

If you do these three things well, you can beat anyone else, regardless of their previous working experience. I wish you good luck!

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Matthew Chulaw

Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.
Matthew Chulaw

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