Finding an FM to Become an Integral Member of The Charterhouse Community


Recruiting for The Charterhouse was certainly an exciting prospect due to the unique context of this historic organisation. Founded in 1611 with buildings dating all the way back to 1348, The Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery in London and aim to provide a home, a community and lifelong care for older people in need, while sharing their rich heritage with the wider community.

The Challenge

The Charterhouse approached Maxwell Stephens exclusively to support in the recruitment of a Facilities Manager to join their team.

Going into this recruitment project, we were very mindful of just how extraordinary this role and organisation would be. Working at The Charterhouse meant becoming part of a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone else. First and foremost it is home for the residents of the almshouse are known as ‘Brothers’, which is a purely traditional term acknowledging the Charterhouse’s monastic past. In addition there is an on site Care Home, 'the Infirmary'; staff housing; private residents; commercial business tenants, and a chapel which is open to all. For us it was clear that whoever was lucky enough to fill this role would need to be an integral part of this vibrant community, and have a genuine passion for contributing to the aims of The Chaterhouse and maintaining the heritage and historical integrity of the organisation.

In addition to the expansive internal community within The Charterhouse, they also encourage interaction and engagement with the wider community with tours of the buildings, gardens, museum and chapel available to all members of the public. The historic rooms and gardens are also available for event hire for a variety of events such as weddings, social and business gatherings, concerts, lectures and even film productions.

Such a unique opportunity brought with it a number of specific challenges that we needed to address through the entire recruitment process.

  • Experience - there are very few (if any) organisations that are like The Charterhouse, which made applicable experience a rarity.
  • Specific requirements - due the variety within the role and organisation, there were some very specific skills and experience required to perform the role such as working with CAFM systems and GENT Fire Systems.
  • Personality type - this was one of the most important consideration throughout this entire recruitment project. We needed to find someone who would thrive in this unique environment and would very quickly be able to become member of The Charterhouse community.

The Solution

As with many of our recruitment project, this assignment required a completely bespoke recruitment strategy. Through our comprehensive assessment of the requirements of the role and of The Charterhouse as an organisation, a key priority for us when conducting the executive search was personality fit. For this we utilised our combined decades of headhunting experience to assess candidates far beyond their CV. This required extensive direct communication with a huge number of applicable candidates, resulting us carry out in-depth screening interviews with over 30 applicable candidates!

In addition to personality fit, it was imperative that we found candidates who has the specific experience required for the position. This included experience and appreciation of working with historic listed buildings within heritage sites; working with vulnerable people with first aid training and extensive risk assessment experience; and an impeccable Health and Safety track record with appropriate qualifications.

Our tailored recruitment strategy results in 8 ideal candidates being presented to the Charterhouse, of which 5 were invited for face-to-face first stage interviews. Of these, 3 went onto second stage interviews, and finally 1 to a final interview stage resulting in a successful appointment.