5 Vital Workplace Leader Interview Questions You Must Ask

by Glenn Hicks on September 19, 2017

Hiring a workplace leader used to be a lot simpler. Not long ago, a workplace leader was focused primarily on things like desktop computers, cubicles and carpeting.

But to quote Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin’.”

More and more offices are starting to look like George Jetson’s living room, complete with huge windows, snazzy furniture and TV screens on the wall. We’re living in the future, which means simply maintaining the status quo isn’t going to cut it.

If you want your company to be able to declare itself a beacon of innovation, collaboration and engagement, you need a smart digital workspace that fits your employees’ needs. And in order to build this workspace, you need an innovative, collaborative, and engaging workplace leader.

If you’re looking for an expert to head up this initiative, here are five critical workplace leader interview questions your hiring manager must ask.

1. How Would You Build a Digital Workplace for our Company?

Before you dive into more specific questions, ask the candidate outright how he or she defines “digital workplace.” The candidate’s answer should show he or she understands a digital workplace supports three things in particular: connectivity, mobility and flexibility.

From there, ask the applicant how he or she would build an environment where employees can collaborate and communicate with one another, regardless of their physical location. Find out what kind of technology the candidate would use to ensure every employee has access to the information and tools they need to be productive. See how the potential workplace manager plans to build a space that accommodates different personality types and work styles. Asking this question helps you gain insight into the candidate’s unique vision and strategy.

2. How Would You Communicate With the Workforce? GettyImages-680411308-1.jpg

The ability to communicate well doesn’t start and end with in-person and/or one-on-one conversations. An experienced workplace leader knows how to connect with every employee, whether the employee is on-site or remote. He or she can be direct and clear in all correspondence—be it an email, an instant message or text conversation.

If your applicant doesn’t demonstrate he or she can connect with employees and engage and inspire his or her team specifically and the workforce in general, it may not be a good fit.

3. How Have You Used Data to Make Decisions?

The ability to make smart, data-driven decisions is one of the most important parts of the workplace manager’s role. If the candidate is planning to make decisions without data, that’s a big red flag.

Ask the candidate to give specific examples of times in the past where he or she leveraged data to improve the efficiency of the workforce and/or the workplace. What kinds of information did the applicant use? How did he or she gather this information—in other words, did the candidate take advantage of technology or utilize a manual process? What kind of reporting dashboards and analytics guided his or her decision? You want the candidate to show he or she won’t act on his or her gut but instead make objective decisions about key metrics such as space utilization and asset tracking

This is also a good opportunity to find out what kinds of workplace technology the applicant utilizes in general. After all, big data can’t exist without technology. Ask how he or she stays up to date on the latest technology trends.

5_questions_to_ask_body_2.jpg4. How Would You Improve the Employee Experience at Our Company?

There are two factors in particular that impact the employee experience: the physical environment in which an employee works, and the tools and technologies the employer provides. The workplace leader has a major role in both of these.

Ask the candidate how he or she feels about employee feedback. Does the candidate value the input of the workforce, or do they make workplace decisions solely based on what he or she thinks is best? How does the applicant find out what is important to employees? What role does he or she believe technology plays in the employee experience? Most importantly, does he or she know what the employee experience actually is? It goes well beyond simply employee satisfaction or employee engagement. And the best candidates will prove they know this.

5. How Would You Break Down Silos Between the Facilities Management, IT and HR Departments?

Silos are great for ranchers and construction companies, but in an enterprise, silos inevitably result in poor communication, frustration and unnecessary repeat work.

In many businesses, the facilities management (FM) team and the IT and HR team are often at odds with each other. Every department has their own way of doing things, which can be a huge hassle considering each team is an important part of the onboarding and offboarding of employees as well as the management of the workplace.

How does the candidate plan on ensuring proper interdepartmental communication? What roles does he or she feel FM, IT and HR play in the employee experience? How will the applicant overcome the common obstacles workplace managers encounter when working with IT and HR?

The interviewing process for workplace managers can be exhausting at times. And it’s frustrating when the hiring team just can’t seem the find the right person for the job. But if they ask the five workplace leader interview questions above, it can help make the process go more quickly and even make it a little less painful.

Understanding your workspace requirements can make finding the right workplace leader easier. Download our free eBook The Great Workplace Space Race and discover what your enterprise needs to succeed.


Glenn Hicks

A member of the Business Development team, Glenn has years of experience with business process improvement on the Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management sides.

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