Thorough interview preparation in today’s competitive facilities management job market is essential. With the number of applicants for each vacancy in the UK showing no signs of abating, securing an interview is often an achievement in itself. The next step is to demonstrate to the employer why you are the ideal candidate for this role.
Understand your Unique Selling Point (USP)
The term ‘USP’ is used in marketing to identify what separates a facilities management company from its competitors. By understanding your own USP, you will be able to focus on your strengths during your interview preparation. It might be your ability to deliver results ahead of target or strong negotiating skills. Examine your career achievements to understand where your personal USP lies.
Analyse the facilities management position
Review the facilities managers job description and carefully note down the key responsibilities of the post. For each point you will need to provide relevant examples from your own career history. For example, in a previous facilities management role you may have implemented new procedures that improved your department’s productivity by 20%. Try and identify at least two achievements relevant to each key responsibility that will illustrate your suitability for the vacancy.
Research the company
Researching the company reflects a genuine interest in the job and is often cited by employers as one of the main areas in which candidates fail. Gather as much information on the company as possible, for example; do they have an international presence? What makes them successful in their field? Are they financially stable? Who are their main competitors? Have they featured in the press recently? The company website is the first source of information, together with social media sites. Where possible, learn as much as you can about the interviewer’s background and tenure with the company. If there are elements of information you can’t determine, ask the question during the interview – the interviewer will be impressed with your tenacity.
Plan your route
Always know exactly where the interview will take place and plan to arrive well ahead of the agreed interview time. If the route is unfamiliar, try a practice run if feasible and always build in ample time for delays, especially if you are travelling during the rush hour. This will allow you time to compose yourself and review your notes beforehand. A late arrival will result in you starting the interview in a flustered state and it may prove difficult to regain your composure.
Dress the part
As a general guideline, always wear formal business attire in neutral colours, ensuring your clothes are comfortable. Demonstrate your ambition and confidence by dressing for the position above the one you are applying for. If in doubt, always err on the side of conservatism with minimal jewellery and a pristine appearance.
Prepare your answers
An interview will normally cover competency and non-competency based questions. Non-competency based questions are fairly general such as ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ and ‘Why do you want to work here?’ Competency based questions are more specific and normally begin with ‘Give me an example of…’ or ‘Tell me about a time when…’ Your analysis of the job description should enable you to prepare specific responses to probing questions. Always rehearse your answers and if possible participate in role play with a trusted friend or colleague.
Prepare your questions
At the end of every interview, you will normally be given the chance to pose your own questions to the hiring manager which is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your interview preparation. Questions such as ‘Why is the job vacant?’, ‘What do you expect from the successful candidate in the first 90 days?’ and ‘What do you like about working here?’ will also give you vital insights into the company culture and staff turnover. Typically, you should prepare half a dozen questions as some may naturally be answered during the course of the interview.
Project a confident air by adopting a good posture, maintaining eye contact and smiling throughout your interview. Listen carefully to questions and pause before answering; this suggests a considered response and will allow you time to quell any nerves. Above all, be positive, knowing that you have done everything possible to maximise your chances of success.