7 Facilities Leader Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

by Elizabeth Dukes on March 30, 2016

Ask any business leader in any industry to list their most frustrating pain points, and we’re willing to bet “hiring” is within the top three. It’s about more than simply locating and vetting candidates with relevant qualifications—to ensure your hires are successful, they must also share company values and fit well within the culture. Even the smartest and most capable employee is bound to fail if they aren’t a “good fit.”

multiple-job-interviews.jpgAnd when it comes to facilities leader hiring, the requirements grow. The best candidate must possess all of the appropriate skills and certifications, and also must be an outstanding communicator, fast learner, flexible worker and unwavering leader.

From helping you create a safe, comfortable and collaborative work environment to saving the business money on energy and enhancing security, the right FM can have an indelible impact on your organization. But hiring the wrong FM can be an expensive mistake.

1. Rushing the Process

We know the feeling: You need a superhuman, highly qualified, expert FM—and you need them yesterday. But taking shortcuts in your hiring process isn’t going to do you any favors in the long run. For example, if you usually put a candidate through four separate interviews, and you slim it down to one or two, you could be eliminating valuable opinions from other senior managers. Also, when your decision is fueled more by your need to fill a hole rather than finding someone who will add real long-term value, you’re bound to make rash decisions.

2. Not Moving Fast Enough

OK—not to contradict myself, but there is another side to the coin. Dragging your feet on making a decision can be just as dangerous as moving too quickly. For example, if you’re struggling between two candidates, waiting until things “slow down,” or there’s a holdup from a financial standpoint, you could risk losing a top candidate. If you’re impressed by an FM candidate, chances are your competitors probably are, too. And if you take too long, your rock star is going to accept another offer.

3. Not Being Transparent

Don’t try to woo a candidate by hiding your skeletons in the closet. If there are challenges or concerns within the department, be upfront. For example, don’t skirt around maintenance issues or building inefficiencies. Explain your goals and objectives, and highlight the issues you’d like to see resolved. The right person will step up to the challenge and be grateful for the opportunity to inspire lasting change.

4. Not Doing Enough Interviews

If the only people interviewing the candidate are you and your hiring manager, you’re not getting enough perspectives. Introduce candidates to other members of senior management, as well as those who will be their peers. While you’re ultimately responsible for making the final call, other team members may bring up relevant interview questions you may not think to ask.

5. Posting a Vague Job Description

The job description is the first impression your FM candidate may have with your company, so it’s important to keep it catchy. Don’t be afraid to use humor and fun language, if this reflects your culture. Outline not only the desired skills and certifications, but be detailed in your expectations. What kinds of things can your FM expect to do on the job every day? What challenges should this person be prepared to manage from Day One? The only way you’ll attract professionals with ambition is if you spell it out. If you’re unsure about the job duties, ask for help from those in similar or related roles.

6. Compromising Culture Fit for Experience

Experience is the first thing you’ll notice about candidates—the number of years they’ve been in the industry, previous leadership experience, projects they’ve managed and technology in which they’re proficient. While all of these things are important, culture fit is just as crucial to candidate success. Just because someone is a prodigy on paper doesn’t mean they’ll be able to mesh with your team or possess the personality qualities you desire.

7. Ignoring Your Gut Instinct

One of the most powerful hiring tools is also one of the most underutilized: your gut instinct. For example, did you interview a FM candidate with all the right certifications, experience and positive attitude, but found it difficult to carry on a conversation? Did they make you feel uncomfortable or did they seem especially nervous? We often pass these things off as interview jitters, but an FM must be able to communicate clearly with employees of all levels. If you’re unsure, the answer is probably “no.”

A facilities manager is an integral part of your business, and hiring for this role is not a duty you should take lightly. By avoiding these seven mistakes, you can ensure your next hire is someone who will help your business fulfill your workspace management objectives and make lasting improvements for the future.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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