How to Hire a Facilities Management Executive
Facilities management (FM) executives work at large buildings or organizations with significant infrastructure. These organizations range from medium-sized retirement communities and hospitals, to hotel chains, to large companies like Gap or Coca Cola who employ FM executives in distribution centers all over the world. It can be tough to find people with good management skills, impressive credentials, and years of hands-on facilities experience. In the 10th year of an economic expansion, the United States has seen lots of new building construction and business formation. As a result, there are lots of opportunities for FM executives and the top talent mostly have good jobs already.
But, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to hire a good facilities management executive. You just need to get creative in your search. The good news is that rising salaries and opportunities for advancement are pulling people into facilities management from other fields. As a result, you can often find good candidates with non-traditional backgrounds. In this post, we look at the qualities you should look for and where to find good candidates.
Search in the Right Places
Post your job on the major job boards including Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, SimplyHired, ZipRecruiter, etc. You need to have the job out there where any prospective candidates might see it. But, don’t be surprised if you receive lots of resumes from unqualified candidates. That’s part of the problem with job boards. When posting their resume to a public job board, people sometimes fall into the habit of what we call “mindless submissions”. This happens, unfortunately, when candidates become disheartened in their search and think that casting a wider net will help them get a foot in the door. They may start submitting to every open position, sometimes without even reading the requirements. Other times, candidates are simply lazy and don’t bother reading a full description before applying. They read one or two lines and hit submit, cluttering your inbox and make it harder to identify the genuinely qualified candidates who have applied. This is one of the many reasons why writing a detailed and succinct job description is so important when looking for qualified talent.
In addition to the major job board, make sure you also list your job on the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) JOBNet site. Founded in 1980, IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for facility management professionals.
Another great source, and sometimes the most effective, is asking your employees to refer candidates they think would be a good fit for the role. This can be a super effective way to source qualified candidates. When a current employee refers someone for a role, they are aware that that the person’s performance will reflect on them. Most employees aren’t willing to put their reputation on the line for someone they think will perform poorly. So, by asking your employees to refer someone for the role you’re hiring, you may find that you get a higher level of candidate. Another reason to ask for referrals, is because, as I’m sure anyone who has hired someone before knows, it’s a very time-consuming task. Any time you can save by getting this referral helps streamline the process and cut down on hassle.
You can also consider starting a program for employee referrals in your organization to offer an incentive to find top talent. In other words, when a current employee refers a candidate who interviews with the firm and is ultimately hired, they receive a reward for their efforts. We’ve seen some companies offer this reward as a cash bonus, whereas others choose to provide employee-perks like extra vacation days or a work-from-home day. Either way, offering an incentive for referrals is a great way to motivate your employees to bring aboard other talented and like-minded people.
Use the Right Title in the Job Description
No matter how you get the word out about your open position, you need to have a good job description. And the most important part to get right is the title. Titles signal to candidates whether they are going to be a good fit and have a big impact on who applies. Titles can tell them the level, the type of organization that you are, and the type of work that they will be doing. Let’s say you are hiring a Facilities Management executive who will oversee other members of the team along with the day-to-day operations at a higher-level. You wouldn’t want to list your job title as something like “Facilities Coordinator” or “Facilities Manager” because you’ll want to choose a title that signifies the level in which he or she will be working. For something like this, we suggest using a title like “Director of Facilities”, to make it clear that this is an executive role. At the Director level, you’re typically looking for a candidate who has a decent amount of experience under their belt, and who also managed a team. With Coordinator’ or Manager’ in the title, there’s often a gray area when it comes to experience level, and you may find applicants who are much too junior level responding to your ad.
Consider Using a Recruiter
As we’ve discussed, when hiring for a highly technical role, where the candidate is required to hold certifications and have extensive knowledge of specific equipment, it can be helpful to work with an expert. A recruiter can help ease the burden of sifting through tons of resumes and can quickly spot qualified candidates, screen them, and hand over only those applicants who are worthy of an interview. Oftentimes a recruiter will have developed a network of professional contacts and fostered relationships with many qualified candidates over the years — especially so if the recruiter specializes in placing candidates in a niche field like Facilities Management. As we mentioned earlier, when using tools like job boards, you can get flooded with resumes. A recruiter will have other methods of sourcing top talent, including reaching out to potential candidates with personalized emails. They are also very familiar with the traits to look for in a good candidate and can help save you time and money in the long run.
Once you decide how you are going to find candidates, you need to think about how you will evaluate them. Probably the best indication of a qualified candidate is steady career progression to higher levels of responsibility in the facilities management field. For example, if someone’s resume has shown that they’ve developed from a Property Manager to a Facilities Director, this may be someone you can develop into a VP or Regional Manager. It shows longevity, and a desire to stay in the field something that’s very important when evaluating candidates.
But, since there is a scarce supply of well qualified FM executives with traditional career progressions, you may need to look at non-traditional candidates as well. Steady career progression in their previous line of work is important here as well. Sometimes you need to think out of the box when looking for the right candidate, as some traits are universally beneficial when hiring. Leadership, for example, is a trait that translates through a multitude of roles and is something that’s necessary in a FM executive.
Every company is different, but in the Facilities Management field, most managers, directors, etc. are required to hold certain professional certifications. When searching for the right FM, it’s important to review the potential candidate’s certifications for a few reasons:
- Shows Initiative: A facilities manager needs to assess a situation and act quickly, so having initiative is an important trait in a FM. Completing these certifications shows that the candidate is formally recognized in the field and has taken the initiative to complete the course.
- Commitment: Acquiring certifications shows a commitment to their career and to the facilities management field.
- Discipline: Taking and completing the certifications shows a level of discipline by completing an arduous course. Check the candidates resume, because it may demonstrate an even a higher level of discipline if they completed their certification while working full time.
- Education: Certifications show a potential employer that you have broad knowledge of your field. In an ever-changing field like Facilities Management, where there is a push to “go green” having specific certifications and green’ training is very necessary to the growth of your firm.
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) provides the most widely recognized and respected certifications including Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Certified Facility Manager (CFM).
Certifications in energy conservation and environmental design are increasing relevant, especially for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings. Professionals who are committed to conservation can demonstrate that fact with LEED professional credentials. The IFMA provides the Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP) certificate to acknowledge the importance of professionals having a solid understanding of green building design and maintenance.
Some organizations require their Facilities Managers to hold certain certifications and should be clearly stated in the job description when posting an ad. For example, some FM candidates might be required to hold a CFM Certification or Certified Facility Manager’ from the International Facility Management Association or IFMA. This helps to ensure that the candidate you are hiring is well-versed in best practices in the latest in standards in the industry.
Facilities Management executives must be familiar with the types of equipment used in the facility. The types of machinery that need to be cared for, however, may vary by industry. For example, FMs in hospitals need to be familiar with generator equipment because the lives of the patients depend on a reliable electrical supply. Say there is a huge storm that knocks the power out. The FM team must ensure that generators automatically kick in, no equipment failures occur, and smooth operations continue without any interruption of power.
Large office buildings require general understanding of HVAC, elevators, plumbing, etc. The FM executive needs to ensure his team contains several generalists who understand how to maintain a variety of machines. When hiring a Facilities Management executive for a large office building, you need to ensure that they also have a general understanding of how the HVAC in that building operates. When the AC goes out on a hot summer day, you’ll be happy that the person you hired put an FM team in place that knows how to get the machines back up and running and quickly.
Facilities Managers are sometimes considered the unsung heroes of the workplace. Without them, the overall operations of a facility can suffer, and with them, you have someone to depend on to ensure the day-to-day operations run smoothly. Over time, the Facility Management field has evolved. FMs requirements and certifications are constantly changing as they take on more and more responsibility within their organization and as technologies continue to update. With that, comes the need to source talented candidates who have a desire to learn and grow with the ever-expanding needs of the role. Executives need to keep up with changing times as well, so make sure that the person has demonstrated “hands on” skills, continued growth, and the ability to lead people.
At HVACExec.com, we’ve sourced hundreds of candidates over the years and can help you find the right Facilities Management Executives for your firm. We are well-versed in the certifications and other credentials required to demonstrate mastery of today’s FM challenges.