The FM Professional

24 Facilities manager interview questions and answers

Darin Herle
April 7th, 2022

Facilities manager interview questions can cover a wide array of topics. This isn’t surprising, since facility management (FM) has become such a complex task. Prospective FMs will need to display a wide variety of skills and abilities. As well, they’ll need to demonstrate they have the leadership and problem-solving skills required for this ever-evolving position. 

In this article, we help you prepare for your interview by covering likely facilities manager interview questions. We also review tips for how to answer them well. 

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What are the qualities of a good facilities manager?

40% of FMs are expected to retire in the next few years. The role of facilities management is becoming increasingly valuable to an organization’s success. This means good facilities managers are in high demand. 

A facilities management professional is someone who is responsible for keeping an office space and/or building running smoothly, by tending to the needs of both the facility and the people who use it.  

The overarching three main tasks of facilities management are to:

  • Keep buildings running smoothly
  • Ensure team members have all the tools they need to do their jobs well
  • Use analytics to inform decision making

A facilities manager job typically combines project management and property management with move and request management. As well, it typically involves coordinating the day-to-day of offices (by establishing desk booking systems, for example) and complete facility planning. That itself is a complex world, involving areas like HVAC monitoring and IoT sensors. This should all be done with an eye towards maximizing efficiencies while keeping operational costs as low as possible. 

Moreover, FMs today aren’t just tasked with physical facilities, but with providing a complete digital workplace solution that supports an increasingly hybrid workforce

FM responsibilities have also been quickly evolving post-pandemic. More and more FMs are finding themselves stepping into change management and leadership positions. 

Facility management skill list

For these reasons, you can expect any new FM position to require the following facility management skills list; keep these skills in mind when answering facilities manager interview questions:

  • Communication skills
  • Emergency preparedness and business continuity
  • Environmental stewardship and sustainability
  • Finance and budgeting skills
  • People skills
  • Operations, maintenance, and accessibility certifications
  • Leadership and strategy, including crisis management
  • Project management
  • Real estate portfolio management
  • Technology skills, including the ability to use and analyze data 

Ultimately, facility management offers a great career path for motivated individuals. Especially those who are passionate about innovation in the workplace and how they can use a dynamic skillset to help improve it. Ace your interview, and you’re setting yourself up for an exciting challenge. 

interview questions

Preparing for an FM job interview

The selection process for a facility manager is fairly straightforward. You want to show that you are a competent and well-trained individual. Also that you’re ready to step into facility planning with the right motivation, attitude, and awareness.  

Essentially, the best way to answer facilities manager interview questions is to be straightforward and direct. Also, display strong interpersonal skills and a commitment to long term growth. 

The organization will want to establish that you can keep building operations up to standard, address emergencies quickly and calmly, oversee asset management and repair, facilitate vendor agreements, and use analytics to forecast future plans. They will also be looking for an individual who is able to collaborate with departments like IT and HR as necessary. 

And like they would for any position, your hiring manager will be trying to suss out whether you’ll be a good match for their company culture and management style overall. 

Carefully read the job description of the advertised facilities manager position. This can give you a better understanding of what your interview will focus on. As with any interview, you should also do your company research ahead of time. 

You may also want to give yourself a refresher on FM terms, technologies, and best practices before your interview. 

interview prep

FM Interview Questions

Like with any job interview, when interviewing for an FM role, you can expect the basic questions around your strengths and weaknesses. Also questions around why you left your last job, how your past experiences and previous jobs helped shape you, and your long term career goals. 

Beyond that, here are 24 role-specific facilities manager interview questions. You can likely expect many of these in your FM interview. We also provide some guidance on how to answer them. 

Experience and background facilities manager interview questions:

These types of questions are typically asked at the beginning of the interview. This should provide a chance for you to communicate your goals and talk about your self in general terms.

1. Tell me about yourself

This is your opportunity to demonstrate you are a reliable problem solver and competent facility manager. Also that you have the relevant work experience and necessary drive to quickly become an invaluable team member. Be sure to speak to the aspects of your personality, skills, education, and ambitions. Focus on what makes you well suited for the position.

2. Why do you want to work on our team?

This is where your company research comes in handy. Speak to the company’s culture and mandate, and how that ties in with your own career goals.  

Also, be honest with yourself: why do you want to work for this team?

Thanks to the Great Resignation, this is an employee’s job market. Like workplace strategist Angie Earlywine, Senior Director in the Total Workplace division of Global Occupier Services at Cushman & Wakefield, insists, “the labor market is too competitive now to not be doing what you love. Or to work for a company that you don’t believe in.”

In other words, be mindful of the fact that in today’s climate, there are many companies with many work environment types to choose from. Think carefully about how important things like flexible working or promoting health and wellness are to you. Adjust your job search accordingly. 

“We’re all different in how we like to work,” says OfficeSpace CEO David Cocchiara. “And from my perspective, that’s totally ok. I think workplace style is becoming just another qualifier that people consider when they’re searching for jobs.”

3. What qualifications do you have that make you a good fit for the role of a facilities manager?

The job description will outline what type of qualifications the organization is looking for. Most will require a bachelor’s degree (likely in business, facility management, or information management). 

They will likely also require certain licenses and certifications. These are commonly obtained from the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), which offers two certifications:  Facilities Management Professional (FMP) certification and the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) certification.

4. What was a time you had to make a difficult decision?

Like we’ve mentioned, since the pandemic, FMs have had to step into new responsibilities. It’s sometimes necessary for FMs to make hard decisions (or help their organizations make hard decisions). 

Talk about a time in a previous role when you made a decision that was in the best interests of your employer, even if it was unpopular, difficult to implement, or meant short-term pain.

If you have had to work closely with others to solve this issue, all the better—interviewers are always looking for examples of good collaboration in the workplace.   

Remember, too, that facilities management brings in many skills from many walks of life. 

So if you are an aspiring FM without any specific FM job experience yet, talk about a communication issue you’ve overcome. For example, or how you helped with a budgeting or pricing issue in another position. 

In other words, demonstrate how you’re up for the challenges of this new position, every time you answer a question.  

5. Tell us about your experience in crisis management

Some degree of crisis management is inevitable for an FM. When giving your answer, focus on how well you resolved the given crisis. Be sure to also discuss how you prepare crisis management plans. 

6. Tell us about your leadership experience

FMs often have to manage personnel, as well as provide direction across departments and teams. Talk about your leadership style, focusing on any examples where you’ve led a team (even if you need to draw on personal experience or non-FM related jobs). 

7. In what ways would you help improve workplace experience?

Perhaps no one in an organization is more critical to improving workplace experience than the FM. Demonstrate your understanding of and commitment to improving workplace experience. As well, talk about your awareness that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every organization. 

Specifically, you should speak about the desk booking and room booking systems you are familiar with and/or would like to implement to make it easier for employees to use the office. 

You may always want to demonstrate your familiarity with a variety of work environment types, along with talking about how you’d improve wayfinding (perhaps using wayfinding signage). It may also be a good idea to speak to the importance of offering staff a robust visual directory to provide more visibility in the office, along with any layout or conference room ideas you’d like to share. 

You may also want to discuss the idea of making a workplace that is what Earlywine calls ‘fit for purpose.’ This means ensuring your office space is tailor-made, based on data and employee feedback, to better suit the needs of those who use it. 

“One of the most important things we have to do as workplace strategists is figure out what is fit for purpose, down to the team and down to the individual and how does it align to the short and long term goals of the business,” she says.

8. How can a facilities manager improve their work-life balance?

This is a wonderful question to be asked. It means your potential employer is concerned with employee well being and creating the most successful workplace teams possible.  

They are likely also trying to ascertain how you can support your whole team in achieving a better work-life balance. 

According to Cushman and Wakefield’s industry-leading Experience per Square Foot™ survey, we know that employee experience jumps from just 45% to 74% when employees are given complete choice and freedom over when and where they work. To this end, you may want to discuss how you can bring in workplace management solutions to better support a hybrid office and an agile working environment

Create an Engaging Hybrid Workplace

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Technology facilities manager interview questions

Technology knowledge and experience is essential in facilities management. These questions will help showcase these skills.

9. What FM technologies are you familiar with?

This is your opportunity to display your knowledge of and familiarity with the major Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) currently available.  You should be comfortable talking about CAFM (Computer-Aided Facility Management) CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System), EAM (Enterprise Asset Management), and IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System)

You should also be comfortable talking about the organization’s existing setup, along with any recommendations you would make. This may include exploring how you would use the IWMS magic quadrant to make software decisions. 

Speak to how facility management software success is heavily reliant on having the right tools that provide the right services and collect the right data. 

Finally, the organization is likely looking to ascertain your experience using and implementing IoT sensors along with free addressing, so be sure to mention any experience or ideas here.  

10. How would you approach security assessments and securing our networks?

Whether or not FMs are directly responsible for security in building automation systems or IT networks, they are responsible for the overall security of their office space. That means they need to work closely with both IT and with any outside contracts to ensure these systems are safe and secure. 

It would also be wise to discuss how you’ll ensure the hybrid workforce is as secure as in-office workers, which of course includes creating a secure digital workspace.  

11. What experience do you have using data to drive facility decisions?

Being able to analyze and use data to your organization’s benefit is one of the main duties of an FM.  Ultimately, you want to demonstrate a solid grasp of workplace analytics and how they intersect with workplace experience. 

12. What data is most important for facilities management?

This question is your opportunity to talk about which workplace metrics you think are most important to track, and how you use them to make better decisions.

For most FMs, this will include portfolio reports and occupancy rate data, along with any data that can help improve space utilization  

Building management facilities manager interview questions

These types of questions are around the facility itself and provide an opportunity to tell your interviewer about your unique experience focusing on the buildings themselves.

13. What is your approach to facility maintenance?

A large component of facilities management services is providing predictive and preventative maintenance. In answering facilities manager interview questions, this particular questions provides an opportunity to talk about both proactive and reactive measures you have taken or would take to resolve issues, including how well you can work with outside contractors as needed.  

14. What experience do you have working contractors and suppliers? How would you navigate these relationships?

Speaking of contractors, demonstrate that you have good interpersonal skills, and the ability to properly assess vendors. Be sure to stress that your goal will be to create mutually-beneficial relationships, but that ultimately you always put the needs of your employer first. 

15. What is your approach to risk assessment?

Your potential employer wants to know if you will be a safe, competent and proactive manager.  

You may want to talk about the facility checklist for preventative maintenance you would create and follow to keep everything running safely and smoothly. 

Note that in today’s environment, risk assessment can also look like how you approach health and safety issues. For this reason, you may want to be prepared to talk about how you’d help employees maintain social distancing and make it easier to comply with ever-changing local health regulations. 

16. How do you keep yourself organized?

While there’s technically no right or wrong answer here, your interviewer will surely be looking for someone who is well organized. 

Space planning facilities manager interview questions

Space planning is often an essential part of facilities. These questions provide an opportunity to speak about expertise in specific related areas.

17. What is your approach to space planning?

Any good FM will be passionate about space planning and how they can use it to make life better for their teams. When discussing space planning in you FM interview, be sure to cover your familiarity with both stack plans and scenario planning.  

18. How would you improve space utilization?

Similarly, FMs should be a bit wonky about space utilization. Talk about how you would use analytics, sensors, flexible working models, and good communication to improve how your organization uses its space.

This is also a good place to discuss how you would use space management best practices—i.e.. making space that is easy to navigate, easy to improve, and easy to move—to make a better workplace overall.  

19. Why is headcount planning important in facility planning?

Headcount planning is a critical step that organizations use to anticipate and prepare for future needs. Talk about how you’d employ a systematic approach to headcount planning that includes accounting for hybrid work

20. What is your experience with/recommendations for move management?

Finally, FMs are typically at the helm of office moves both big and small. The FM team at Harry’s offers a wonderful example of move management done right. Follow their lead and discuss how you would simplify moves and also easily find desks for new hires. 

Hybrid facilities manager interview questions

The hybrid workplace is top of mind for many companies. Being able to speak about current workplace issues related to hybrid space planning could give you an edge on the competition.

21. What role do FMs play in employee engagement and experience, especially as it relates to hybrid work?

While there are many benefits of working remotely, we also know that most employees want a flexible return to the office—mostly because they want more space for meetings, social events, and collaboration. 

“These are the things we’ve all been craving in the past year or two,” says Earlywine. 

OfficeSpace internal data also shows that employees are actively looking to see when other colleagues are in the office, so that they can set their own schedules accordingly. 

This means that one of the best ways FMs can support employee engagement and experience is simply by offering the tools that employees need to use the office in a flexible and hybrid manner. This will likely include offering good communication and collaboration tools, as well as user-friendly office management software. 

22. How would you support and improve our digital workspace?

Digital workspaces work best when they are cloud-based, single sign-on (SSO), and available via mobile app. It’s also best when all applications easily integrate with whatever software teams are already using. 

Beyond this, speak to what you would do to ensure that everyone always has the hybrid working tools they need to do their jobs well, whether that’s in the office, from home, or on the road. This may include championing a program similar to Shopify’s, in which remote employees are given a stipend to get their home office and tech up to par. 

23. What work environment types are you able to facilitate?

Ideally, you should be well versed in all four hybrid workplace models, as well as in the spectrum of work environments ranging from traditional to activity-based working and everything in between. 

24. Do you have experience working with a flexible workspace?

While speaking about your experience, be sure to stress why you’re passionate about supporting flexible working, and how you’d go about doing so. 

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How do you ace your facilities manager interview questions? 

In any interview, the company is trying to figure out why they should hire you. In other words, they’re asking: what makes you a good fit for the role of a facility manager?

Don’t get too hung up on saying the right or wrong answer to any of the facilities manager interview questions. And don’t worry about answering every question perfectly. 

Instead, focus on clearly demonstrating that you’ll be a dedicated and agile FM committed to making life better for everyone on your team. 

OfficeSpace offers a variety of resources to help you better prepare better answers for common facility manager interview questions. Check out our free Hybrid Workplace Best Practices Webinar to get started. 

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