Facilities Management constitutes up to 80 to 90 per cent of the lifecycle of any Real Estate or infrastructure asset. That is, about 80 to 90 years of a Real Estate or Infrastructure asset that is supposed to have a hundred-year lifecycle, for instance, will be Facilities Management (maintenance) of such asset; while conception, design and construction of the asset is just about 10 years of the asset lifecycle.
With the increasing realization of this fact, the past few years have proven that growing a career in Facilities Management is as lucrative as any other profession; and the coming years, look even brighter for the profession – in the face of increasing investment in Real Estate and infrastructure in Africa.
For example, growing urbanization and sophistication in Nigeria has increased investment into Real Estate assets like office spaces, retail centres, residential apartments, industrial hubs, etc. Also, although largely insufficient, there have also been increasing investment and more Public Private Partnership on infrastructure projects such as road, rail, parks, etc.
All these continue to create huge opportunities for the Facilities Management profession because these assets require maintenance for their entire lifecycle. As career opportunities increase in the Facilities Management industry, the required skills are also becoming more and more specialized; making it more demanding to secure a Facilities Management job.
This article therefore focuses on one of the barriers to entering the Facilities Management profession or scaling up career growth in the sector. So, in our habit of supporting Facilities Management professionals, we spoke to Alpha Mead Group’s Head of Human Resources, Joel Okwuoha; and here are 7 things he told us you need to do to ace your next Facilities Management interview.
- Never Arrive Late
As trite as that sounds, the truth is that people still come late for interviews and most times do not even inform their contact person ahead.
Although it is not acceptable to go for any job interview late, it is even more grievous to go late for a Facilities Management job interview. The Facilities Management job has a lot to do with productivity and adding value to businesses; and time plays are very important role in that mix.
If you are going to be working for a Facilities Management company, you will have to a lot of interfacing with customers and you can’t go late to your customer’s meeting. Imagine being late to work on a day the elevator is not working. That will have serious impact on the productivity on the employees for that day and consequently the business bottom-line.
So, the last thing you want to show your potential employer on your big day is that you will not respect timelines, or you may also come late on critical days.
- Be Charismatic
Facilities Management is about the physical environment and the processes that make them functional for people. Reason some say the profession is about people, process and places.
As a potential Facilities Management professional or one who is seeking a higher role or responsibility in the profession, you must be able to demonstrate to your potential employers that you understand how places and processes contributes to people productivity; and that starts from you on the day of the interview.
- Be Open, But Discrete
Yes, you want to show how much you know to your potential employer and this interview is the opportunity to put your best foot forward. You will need to be open, but very discrete.
The Facilities Management role opens you to a lot of information your organization’s client may not want out there or the ones your company want to keep close to their chest. For example, Facilities Managers who work in luxury estates have a lot of information about high profile occupants who live where they work.
Facilities Managers who work in organization may also have information about operational cost of the company they work for. Most organizations are usually not happy to share these pieces of information.
So, if you come to a Facilities Management interview and in the quest to impress, you’re giving too much confidential information about your past employment, you might just be taking the handshake beyond the elbow. The interview panel might not be able to trust you won’t do the same to their organization when you leave.
- Show you’d be a Culture Fit
Skills can be learnt, but attitude or cultural fitness is a more herculean task. Organizations understand this and are always, from the interview stage, looking for people who will fit into their culture. It therefore means that you might be technically sound for the job, but not culturally fit for the company.
One way to show you’d be a culture fit is to understand the culture of where you’re going. An organization’s culture is usually defined or will be a distillation of the core values. So, when you show up at the interview, remember to give examples relating to the core values of the organization. For example, if innovation is one of the core values of the organization, remember to tell a story of a solution you created in your previous job or life that solved an age-long problem.
- Stay informed about market trends and changes
The Facilities Management profession and market is changing. You can’t go to an interview and be using old solution to solve new problems. You must demonstrate knowledge. For example, technology is going to play a very significant role in the future skill set for Facilities Management, you should know and demonstrate how you’d be of value to your potential employer.
Also, there is a range of software and various software for Facilities Management, such as CAD, BIM and GIS solutions. You should be able to use or talk to how you’re learning to use these tools.
- Demonstrate Leadership Skills
Many people assume that leaders are only found in senior-level positions. But for Facilities Management and most other professions, leadership is your ability influence people. As a Facilities Manager, you’d need a lot of leadership skills as you’d need to influence people above you – such as senior management or clients; work with your peer and stakeholders – such as procurement, finance etc; and people below you – such as technicians, janitors, etc.
So, at your next interview, remember to tell a story of how you interface with these three levels of stakeholders and you got results.
- Show your Communication Skill
Facilities management isn’t as communication oriented as a profession like marketing or sales, but you will need almost the same level of skill to succeed in the career. The profession requires communicating with a lot of stakeholders through reports, announcements, engagements, etc.
As a Facilities manager, you would have to deal with lots of people every day, whether it’s engaging with high profile clients, colleagues or liaising with executives and vendors. You need to be able to communicate effectively and know how to build connections with people, learn what motivates the people in your team and be able to influence your colleagues.
If you can’t be clear in your communication during the interview, you might not be able to convince the panel you’d do a good job in the role.
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