Interview advice for temporary and permanent Property & Facilities Management jobs.


Before you head off for the interview for your prospective property job or facilities management role It’s essential that you read through all the interview preparation information available to you, and ensure that you’re fully prepared for your interview. In the current marketplace, employers can afford to be increasingly particular about who they employ, so preparation is as important as cultural fit or skill set.

We have split our property & facilities management interview advice into 7 sections:

  1. Important points to remember when going for an interview
  2. Competency questions for facilities management positions
  3. Competency questions for property roles
  4. Generic competency questions
  5. Questions specifically for temporary candidates
  6. Questions about the company
  7. Questions you can ask the interviewer

1. Important points to remember when going for an interview

  • Think of preparing for your interview as preparing for an important presentation. The key to a successful presentation is to know your subject matter inside out. In this case the key subject is you. You could be quizzed in detail on any aspect of your previous work history, education, experience or systems skills. Be prepared to discuss and provide lots of examples to back up this experience.
  • You can never do enough research into your prospective employer. Ensure that you’ve revised all of the key points in section five of this document and refer to them throughout your interview. This will show the interviewer that you’re keen.
  • Aim to get to the venue 10 minutes early. Creating a good first impression is vital. Plan your journey in advance, allowing time for tube delays etc.
  • Obtain a full understanding of the position and its duties from your recruitment consultant so you can prepare and adapt your examples accordingly.
  • During the interview ensure that your answers are clear, concise and sincere and avoid waffling. Don’t give closed “Yes/No” answers.
  • Don’t inquire about salary, bonuses, benefits etc at the initial interview. These can be discussed with your consultant and, if applicable, at a later interview stage. However, you should know your market value and be able to discuss this should your interviewer decide to broach the subject with you. 
  • Never speak negatively about a previous boss/colleague/company, always turn any negatives about your current/previous role into a positive, i.e. “I’d like to move to a bigger company as my previous company was quite small, however, this did mean that I had maximum exposure to all aspects of the business.”
  • Don’t say you’re an expert in something unless you really are, as this could lead to repercussions further on in the interview process.

2. Competency questions you may be asked when interviewing for facilities management positions

  • Describe how you have managed a tender process in the past.
  • What size budgets have you previously been responsible for?
  • Give examples from your previous positions where you have had to manage detailed budgets for multiple external contractors. How did you document the spend against these budgets? What programmes/systems do you find most effective?
  • In past roles have you managed direct/indirect employees? Please discuss.
  • How do you manage difficult internal customers?
  • What current legislation are you aware of that is impacting your day-to-day job?
  • How do you keep informed about what is happening in the FM industry?
  • What innovative ideas did you bring to your current/previous role?
  • What hard and soft services have you been responsible for in past roles?
  • What outsourcing services have you previously managed?
  • In your current role, what size (sq ft) is the building you manage? How many people work there?
  • In previous positions, how responsible have you been for health and safety? Have you been involved in writing H&S policies?
  • How would you resolve an air conditioning complaint of one employee being too hot and another being too cold?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a badly performing service provider/contractor? How did you ensure that they improved their service? Would you do anything differently next time?
  • Give me an example of how you provided a service to a client which was beyond their expectations. How did you know what they expected? How did you respond?

3. Competency questions you may be asked when interviewing for property roles

  • Please describe your experience of setting a service charge budget
  • What services have you been responsible for?
  • Please talk through your experience of managing H&S legalisation?
  • Describe a difficult situation you have encountered with your tenants? How did you resolve this?
  • Have you been involved in offering occupier services to tenants?
  • In your current role, what size (sq ft) is the building you manage? How many people work there?
  • What hard and soft services have you been responsible for in past roles?
  • Give me an example of when you have had to deal with conflict in the workplace? How did you handle this? Is there anything that you would do differently next time?
  • Give me an example of how you would/have motivated a team member to improve morale within the team.  
  • Have you ever had to deal with a badly performing service provider/contractor? How did you ensure that they improved their service? Would you do anything differently next time?

4. Generic competency questions

  • Tell me the last long-term goal you set yourself and how you achieved it.
  • Describe the last time you were under pressure. What did you do to keep the level of stress manageable?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client.
  • Give me an example of a decision that you have made which benefited the client, but not yourself.
  • Tell me about the last problem that you couldn’t solve. (Remember, always turn a negative into a positive.)
  • Give me an example of a client that you have developed an effective win/win relationship with. How did you go about building the relationship?
  • Give me an example of a time where you had to balance getting a job done well and getting it done effectively. How did you balance these two factors?
  • Tell me about a time when you voiced a concern or disagreement with a co-worker.
  • Tell me about a time when someone has been unhappy with you or how you work. (Remember to always turn a negative into a positive).
  • Where do you see yourself in 2 years and how do you plan to achieve this?
  • What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses? (Always back up a weakness with a positive).
  • What are your reasons for leaving your past/present job? (Don’t be negative about previous employers).
  • How would your previous employer describe you?

5. Questions specifically for temporary candidates

If you're interviewing for a temporary position, the pressure is sometimes more intense, as the company is looking for someone who can hit the ground running. Your interviewer will want to make sure that you’re the right personality and cultural fit for the company and team, while determining if you’ll be a valued and productive addition. 

Therefore, you need to sell yourself according to the requirements of your potential employer – and meet what they're looking for in a successful applicant. Concentrate your answers towards their needs, rather than focusing on your own.

It's vital to explain your experience clearly and to quantify the value you have brought to previous employers. 

Due to the nature of temporary work, you may find you're quizzed closely on previous employment dates etc. Typical questions our temporary candidates have faced recently (depending on the role) include

  • Can you clarify the dates you worked?
  • Can you confirm the exams you sat at school and the grades?
  • Why have you moved around so much?
  • What have you learnt from each of your last few assignments?
  • What do you enjoy about contracting? What's the hardest thing about it?
  • What tricks do you use to acclimatise yourself to a new business when you start?
  • How do you quickly prove your self?
  • If this position had the option to go permanent would you accept it?
  • If you received this job offer and another permanent job offer, which would you accept?
  • How do feel your experience matches our requirements?
  • Provide an example of where you have had to prioritise your work
  • What would say are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Which aspects of your previous role challenged you the most?
  • What is your greatest career achievement?
  • Give an overview of your day-to-day duties in your last position
  • Provide an example of a project that has not quite gone to plan
  • What would you be remembered for in your previous role?
  • What is the most challenging situation you have had to deal with during an assignment?
  • What interests you in this temporary position?

6. Questions about the company

Before your interview please ensure that you have fully researched the company with whom you’re interviewing. The key points below are some areas where you should be knowledgeable:

  • Who are they are what do they do?
  • What is their mission statement?
  • Have they won any awards recently?
  • Research any recent press releases
  • What are industry commentators writing about them online?
  • How do they describe their company culture?
  • What do you know about the firm and why does it appeal to you?
  • What interests you about our organisation?
  • Why do you feel that this company can offer you a career, rather than just a job?
  • If you had an offer from one of our top 3 competitors why would you choose our organisation?

7. Questions you can ask the interviewer

Sometimes at the end of an interview, your prospective employer may ask you if you have any questions. Here are a few that might be appropriate:

  • What are the company’s short and long term goals?
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • Do you have any particular reservations about my application for this position?
  • Ask the interviewer what their background is. Remember, people love talking about themselves.

Don't forget to take a copy of your CV with you and of course Good Luck!