person working at laptop

5 Tips to Write The Perfect Job Description

person working at laptop

When it comes to writing a job description for the FM sector, where do you start? And does it really matter?

Well, yes, is the simple answer.  Not only should each employee have a clear job description as part of the HR process. Crafting the perfect job description can actually help you to secure the best talent.  But be careful a poor job description, or none at all could be preventing you from hiring the best.

Here are our top tips to make your new Job Description a breeze!

Job title – keep it simple

Facilities Management may be one of the few industries that have mainly dodged the trend of including words like 'superstar' 'ninja'.  And if you don't believe that this happens, take a look at some of the IT jobs out there at the moment! Ensure that you keep yours simple by using keywords that accurately describe the role. You should also steer away from using complicated jargon. For example, stick to using standard experience levels such as ‘senior’ rather than ‘VI’ so that there is no room for confusion. A job title is the start of the process and will be used to advertise your role.  According to research conducted by Indeed, job titles with 80 characters or less are likely to receive more clicks.

Job Summary – This is where you shine!

Begin by capturing their attention with a short and snappy summary. This should include the expectations of the role and a brief overview of your company. Show off why you’re unique and why working for you would be a fantastic opportunity for them. In the current market, we are hearing more and more that candidates are looking to give something back.  Or to secure a role that contributes to the local community.  So don't miss the opportunity in the job summary to shine. Ask yourself 'How does this role contribute to making people’s lives better, or solve existing problems?' the fill in the blank - 'come and join a team dedicated to...'  You may be surprised how effective this can be.

wooden people figuresA job description should include clear responsibilities and duties?

Try an avoid death by bullet points!  Whilst you want to clearly define the main responsibilities of the position, make them detailed yet concise.  Grouping the responsibilities into categories will make it much easier to read and absorb.  But you may want to try something a little different here too.  Think about how this position will contribute to the goals and business objectives of the company. And don't forget the potential for advancement for candidates.  Get this in here and it will help you to attract the best candidates.

Refresh your job description often

When you look to hire, do you go to HR and dust off that old job description again?  Has the experience needed for the role changed?  Is the culture different now?  It's important to make sure that you do review your job descriptions for each time you hire.  Make sure that it is still fit for purpose!  There's a really simple way to do this - get your employees involved!  No one knows the job better than those that already do it.

Things to avoid…

  • Discrimination – Be aware of unconscious bias’
  • Asking too much – Unrealistic expectations could prevent star candidates from applying
  • Negativity – Be sure to write the description in a positive tone
  • Forgetting about structure – Make the job description easy to read. Bullet points are always a good idea!
  • Being mysterious – Be intriguing without holding back crucial information
  • Mistakes - Check and check again for mistakes.  Candidates will be quick to judge if there are spelling mistakes!

Following these 5 steps to writing a fabulous job description could help you attract and secure your ideal candidate.


Interview

4 Top Tips for Acing Your Second Interview

The second interview – congratulations, you've impressed the hiring managers and made it through the first stage. You are now one step closer to securing your dream Facilities Management job.

But what makes the second interview, different from the first? And, more importantly, how should you prepare to make sure you get it right? It’s often a mistake made even by senior candidates that the research and preparation are all about the first interview. But the second interview is even more important. Don't think that just because you've been invited back that you don't have to prepare as well as you fit for the first.

Whilst the first interview usually just covers the important basics, the second interview will really get under the skin. The interviewer is trying to determine if you are the right person not only to do the job but to add value to the company too. Will you be there in 3-5 years time? What will your role be and what skills can you bring with you along the way.

So here’s everything you need to know...

The Second Interview – Use what you learnt in the first interview

“So, since our last meeting, what thoughts have you had about the job and the company?”. It's such an important question to make sure you are prepared for!  It isn’t designed to trip you up, but being underprepared will leave you waffling. Be confident in your response. It’s OK to take in notes. Things to include are your main reasons you want this job, why the company is the right fit for you, their vision etc.  This not only proves you have thought about it seriously but that you have listened and retained information - a good skill to have! But, and this is where you can really stand out. Think about why the company should want you!  Perfect your elevator pitch!

Refer back to things that were discussed in the first interview.  What were the key things you noticed that were important to the company? Bring them up in conversation and then use examples to show you share the same values. Do they have a certain culture?  Have you worked in that culture before? Can you demonstrate your success? Just remember to keep showing that you are the right person for the job.

successful interview

Address anything you missed in the first interview

The second interview is also an opportunity to say things you forgot to say in the first interview.  Or, ask things you forgot to ask.  Make the most of this chance to shine!  Become the front runner!  Was there something that you feel you didn’t answer right the first time?  Or, maybe not to your best ability.  We know that interviews can make some people flustered, or nervous.  Especially if it's your first one for a while.  Don't be afraid to discuss this in the interview.  It could make all the difference to the outcome rather than not wanting to reminder the hiring managers.  This time around, you should be more confident than the first time.  But, remember not to be overly confident – you haven’t got the job yet!  But at least you know that you are a potential hire.  Now it's down to you.

 

Get to know who you're meeting

Researching people before an interview is now fairly simple. A quick LinkedIn search will tell you about the career history of who you are meeting. Whilst this is great as first interview preparation, you can take it a step further on the second interview. Take a look at what pages they follow on LinkedIn, their education or skills. This can tell you a lot about a person and also if you have anything in common. Maybe it’s a sport, a good cause, or simply an approach to business. People like to hire people that share their values. Any chance you get to demonstrate this - take it! There are other things you can do to find common interests too. Do the company sponsor a charity? Maybe you have raised money for a charity before. Or, maybe the charity is of particular interest to you. If a hiring manager really can’t decide between two excellent candidates, a shared value could really tip the balance in your favour.

 

Saying thank you after the second interview

It's not over after you have finished the second interview. Sending a short message of thanks to the hiring manager will go a long way - don't forget to thank your recruiter too!  Sending a thank-you email may seem so obvious to so many people, but we are always surprised by how few people actually do. It doesn’t have to be a long message. Just express your thanks and your genuine interest in the role. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you again.

If you are looking for work within Facilities Management, get in touch with our expert team today.


candidates

5 Tips For Choosing The Best Candidate

Choosing the best candidate isn't always easy and with as many as a third of UK professionals looking for work right now, it may get even harder!

Making the right choice when it comes to hiring your next member of staff is vital to the success of your business. It's important to choose someone who can really add value. Someone who fits with your culture. And of course, their future potential in the business.

So what do you do when you have two candidates who are both exceptional? How should you choose which to offer the job to?

Here are our top tips for choosing the best candidate

Set a task

Sometimes it’s hard to get a really good idea of how someone will perform in a job just from a standard interview. It can be easy to make the mistake of hiring someone based on their ability to interview well. But what about the hard and soft skills to actually be successful at the job? Setting tasks is a great way to help you choose between two candidates.

Take the 'Beer Test'

Before the pandemic made socialising slightly more challenging, a 'social interview' was a great way to choose the best candidate. Culture fit is really important when it comes to making a hire.  How will that person fit in your current team? Do they have similar personality traits to others in the team? Will they complement what you already have? There is a lot to consider. When introducing a new person to an established team, it’s important to remember team dynamic. You can still take the 'beer test' in the office or even online. Get each candidate to have a 'socially-distanced social interview' with the team for half an hour. That way the team can give you their feedback too.

best candidate

Look at the future of your company

It’s important to not just hire for now, but for the future too. As hopefully, your chosen candidate will be with you for a number of years. Does one of the candidates have skills that may be of use in the future? Do you have plans to grow the team over the next few years? It's always important to think about how your candidate could grow with your company.

Get references

Finally, if you really are stuck and despite all of the above, the candidates are still on a par with each other a reference can help make the final decision. Whilst lots of companies will only provide confirmation of dates and job title, it is still possible to gain a more informal reference. Working with an agency means that we can help you when it comes to references. We can speak to the candidate and ask them to make an introduction to the referee on our behalf.

Can you even get the best candidate?

Getting the best candidate takes two people to make a decision. You need to want to hire them and they want to join you. This is where working with a recruiter really comes into helping you make a decision. It's possible that a candidate is interviewing with a few companies. Working with a recruiter means that you will get to know if your role is their top choice and even if they are not actively looking for a role, can you match their current benefits and salary expectations. Again this is something that a recruiter will help you with. By knowing exactly what the expectations of the candidate are from the start, you'll know if they are indeed 'the best candidate' for you.


World Facilities Management Day

World Facilities Management Day

Today is World Facilities Management Day: the day of the year when we recognise the vital work that FMs and the FM industry contribute to business worldwide. It aims to raise the profile of the FM profession anywhere that FMs influence the health, safety, productivity and well-being of people who utilise the built environment.

And what a fitting time to acknowledge an industry and workforce on the frontline against COVID-19 together with the teams wrestling with the challenges of devising and implementing return to the workplace plans.

Many of our clients in the critical sectors have continued to operate effectively in extremely difficult circumstances and, here at Catch 22, I am pleased with the way that our team has collaborated with those customers and adapted quickly to meet their needs. It's been a tough couple of months: new ways of working, extending homeworking, introducing online registrations, video interviewing and compliance - all the time ensuring the wellbeing of employees, workers and clients is paramount.

Now, we are ready to help those who are planning a way out of lockdown to do so safely. There is plenty of guidance out there on the reopening and reoccupying of buildings but Catch 22 are very much here to support your labour/skills/talent back to work strategy. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts around the main challenges and equally keen to share with you how we have tackled the last 2 months and are now wrestling with the irreversible trends and developments in [recruitment] technology whilst staying true to our values of collaboration, capability, compliance and community.

Back to World FM Day first though. Facilities Management is fast becoming the New Emergency Service during the coronavirus pandemic and, on this World FM Day, from all of us at Catch 22,

Thank you to the whole FM community for all you do every day.


key workers

Should FM managers be classed as 'key workers'?

Who are the key workers? It’s a question that’s critical where FM is concerned. With the need to keep buildings secure, well maintained and above all clean, facilities management is arguably now more important than ever.

Safe and operational

In these unprecedented times, FM has a critical role to play in keeping essential buildings operational and safe. But that’s not currently reflected in government thinking and facilities managers are not currently listed as key workers along with cleaners and waste management operatives. Fears are that if facilities management and associated roles are not recognised as critical workers now then hygiene standards will drop when FM should have a positive role to play in the response to COVID-19.

Essential buildings, essential workers?

Buildings that are essential in the crisis include hospitals, schools and banks, all of which need to be kept clean and well maintained. Even temporarily unoccupied buildings need to be kept secure and operational to in readiness for business continuity. In addition, waste management and HVAC maintenance are critical to ensure that infestations and the threat of Legionnaires disease are minimised.

So if buildings can be considered essential, why not the facilities managers who undertake this critical work? While tighter social distancing and isolation measures are quite rightly in force, should FM managers maintain the right to work and access their buildings to provide these essential services? That’s the question the IWFM is asking of the government.

Critical to the COVID-19 response

In a letter to the Secretaries of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, IWFM CEO Linda Hausmanis makes two urgent demands:

- That facilities management professionals be considered as key workers under the latest government guidance
- That these professionals and their contractors be able to attend their buildings and continue to ensure they are safe and well maintained even in the event of stricter social distancing measures

The bigger picture is that these professionals play a critical role in keeping buildings clean and well maintained in sectors regarded by the government as key to the Covid-19 response. In some cases, this essential maintenance and repair work fulfils a statutory duty. The industry body is also asking that facilities professionals be allowed to determine the teams and contractors that are critical to achieving safe and healthy outcomes for those key workers using these buildings.

The IWFM is asking professionals to share their experiences of managing the coronavirus crisis by email to policy@iwfm.org.uk. This information can then be used to support and inform other facility managers across the profession.

Professional resources

If you’re a facility management professional looking for the latest guidance and information to stay ahead of the curve, the IWFM has put together a set of Covid-19 resources which can be found at https://www.iwfm.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-resources.html. Alongside the latest advice from government and public health authorities, the industry body has collated a range of valuable resources from across the business and other partner organisations.

To help you keep delivering essential services, you’ll find information on business continuity plans, shutdown, partial occupancy and restarting plus security, stress and wellbeing and best practice guidance. Sound management of the critical infrastructure that business and key workers depend upon demonstrates beyond all doubt that FM professionals deserve to be included as part of the UK’s critical workforce.


hands holding a heart with medical white cross

These healthcare trends are changing FM

In this time of economic uncertainty, the healthcare industry is not alone in facing the dual challenges of change and increasing costs. Taking a strategic approach to the often extensive real estate portfolios owned within the healthcare industry and optimising the efficiency of facilities management is vital in order to stay ahead.

Here, we take a look at some of the current healthcare trends affecting facility management.

1.      A high level of merger and acquisition activity is changing the approach to construction and real estate

In the past few years, the healthcare industry has witnessed unprecedented M&A activity, which has led to several cross-industry collaborations with non-traditional healthcare providers, faith-based organisations and pharmaceutical companies. Such consolidation is creating mega health systems, all of which will require a fresh approach to facilities management.

2.      Operating margins are tightening as costs-per-patient increase

While it is a constant source of political debate, it remains the case that healthcare providers are continuing to face cost pressures and the continuing need to balance patient care with tighter and tighter budget constraints. Improving outcomes for those at the receiving end of healthcare services, of course, remains the key priority across the industry, off-set against the need to find creative ways to reduce costs wherever possible. Facilities management is not immune.

3.      As the healthcare system evolves, traditional hospital networks could become obsolete

The many changes happening across the healthcare sector will undoubtedly mean changes to the approach taken towards real estate and its future management.

For example, the merger of different institutions combined with an increase in service provision from other providers is likely to mean a reduction in large all-encompassing hospital buildings as we see a move towards greater use of ambulatory surgeries, emergency clinics and micro-hospitals based within local communities.

With the aim of reaching local residents easily and addressing their health issues early within their local community, the hope for the future is to reduce the number of people developing acute illnesses which then require expensive treatment in a large, centralised facility. From a healthcare perspective, prevention is better than cure and most patients would prefer to receive treatment near their own homes. As such, the provision of localised facilities is likely to be a welcome progression for the future.

In addition to, most importantly, improving the overall patient experience, smaller outpatient centres are less expensive to build and maintain than traditional, larger hospital buildings. However, the management of such a diverse portfolio of buildings in various locations brings with it new challenges in terms of the ongoing management of each facility.

4.      The risk of hospital-acquired infections is still real

While receiving treatment for other health issues, there remains a risk of patients picking up further infections through simply being in a healthcare environment. As a result, there is a duty on those responsible for the management of buildings to look at what can be done with the physical environment to reduce the risk and spread of infections.

This may include the design and maintenance of buildings, from ventilation systems through to interior design.

Fresh thinking and embracing new technologies will be key to the future of FM in this industry as it supports the health of the population.


Blog - Catch 22

Crown Commercial Service Framework for Non Clinical Staff selects Catch 22

Catch 22 is delighted to confirm that we have been selected for the new Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Framework for non-clinical staff across the NHS and a wide variety of governmental and public sector organisations. The new Framework, which comes into force in August, sees our continued association with the CCS, in its various guises, that began in 2006. Indeed, Catch 22 has been supplying support staff to the NHS since its inception in 1982 and our appointment to the Framework underlines Catch 22’s continuous commitment to delivering excellence. Organisations able to take advantage of the benefits of the Framework include the Emergency Services, the education sector, civil service and government departments, amongst many others. Clients can select their suppliers with confidence, knowing that rigorous compliance criteria have been met and that costs are transparent throughout the process.

Catch 22’s managing director, Vince Parker, said “Being selected for a position on the CCS Framework reflects the high standards we continue to achieve and improve in our service. It is very gratifying to have those efforts acknowledged in this way and we look forward to offering our services to a wider NHS and public sector audience.”


Engineers in the sun

How to protect workers when the temperature rises!

Employers are expected to provide a reasonable working environment for their employees. The recommended temperature should be set at a minimum of 16°C, or 13°C for work requiring heavy lifting. Heating and cooling systems should be provided if a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained, for example, fans should be used and windows should be opened to allow air to circulate if needed.

Employees should never be in a situation where they are too hot. The appropriate shade should be added if any team members are sitting in direct sunlight or in the vicinity of objects that give off heat, for example, machinery or other equipment. engineers working in the sun

In a warm atmosphere, sufficient breaks should be provided to allow staff to cool down. They should also have access to cold drinks, for example, many businesses provide water coolers or vending machines for the comfort of their workforce. Depending on individual circumstances, it may also be appropriate to introduce a system of working in order to limit exposure to extremes of heat. This could include job rotation or moving workstations. It may also include flexible working patterns.

Heat-related illnesses can increase the number of accidents at work. High temperatures in the working environment can cause lethargy and lead to poor concentration, which increases the potential for personal injury in the workplace. Extremes of temperature can also give rise to poor judgement and this is especially risky when employees’ jobs require them to operate machinery or work with tools or harsh chemicals.

Facilities management can oversee conditions in the workplace and can make recommendations for improvement. Some companies may require specific advice, particularly if workers are exposed to extremes of temperature. If employees are experiencing ill effects due to the working environment, then the situation requires urgent review to ensure that the relevant precautions are taken.

Conditions may require close monitoring and any incidents must be recorded as outlined by health and safety legislation. Monitoring or medical screening may be needed for workers who have certain illnesses or disabilities, in addition to any women who are pregnant. This is of particular importance when exposed to extremes of temperature and medical advice may be necessary.

A visible focus on the safety of all employees can only serve to enhance the firm's reputation and employer branding. This, in turn, may enhance applicant volumes for new positions. For those already in-role, there will be a sense that their welfare is regarded as a high priority and retention rates should improve as a result. Overall, a strong focus on working conditions creates a more positive working environment for everyone within the organisation.

It is important to remember that illnesses caused by temperature increases can affect office workers too, in addition to drivers and staff who are based on site. It is essential to ensure that all workers, whether exposed to sunlight or extremes of temperatures, benefit from safe and comfortable working conditions and that any risks are managed.

Ultimately, it is vital that any firm is proactive when it comes to temperature management and that the in-house risk assessment systems are fully effective.


24/7

What the 'on-demand' era means for facilities management

New digital platforms mean that changes are afoot for the building industry, especially when it comes to some of the traditional processes that have been used in facilities management for decades. With digital platforms come on-demand requests, which can mean a better (and cheaper) service for the companies that own a building or facility. But how can firms in the facilities management industry adapt to these changes and make on-demand jobs work for them?

What is on-demand?

Businesses have long been able to book certain aspects of their operations 'on-demand'. That includes catering, IT support and even people. On-demand generally refers to booking something online at short notice and not having to book it as part of a longer or larger contract. 24/7

With the rise of digital platforms, specifically built for companies to find facilities and building services, those in charge of booking the work are now able to book actions such as repairs quickly and easily. They can be given full costs, track delivery of the required materials and even make changes to the job where necessary.

What are the benefits?

These platforms certainly make life easier for the company booking the work, as they can take advantage of competitive pricing, guaranteed timeframes and tailored jobs. Buildings themselves are becoming ever more complex with the addition of AI and smart technology being just one example and the use of innovative building materials being another [1].

The result is that many building management jobs are becoming rather more niche. Digital platforms can make it easier to link the right person for the job and ensure the right materials and parts are ordered in time. On-demand services are also preferable for small businesses who can pay per service without the added cost of a subscription.

Some of the more advanced platforms can even be populated with specific information such as staff working hours and skill areas. This means that jobs can be booked by cross-sectioning who is available via an easy to use online booking system, which can find the right team or individual for the job.

What this means for the facilities management industry

These platforms are primarily used for ad-hoc building management and repair jobs, but they can also be used for booking jobs with companies with which you have a contract or ongoing relationship. In fact, bespoke versions of these platforms can even be used by larger businesses and organisations, such as universities, who can book jobs with their own in-house facilities management teams.

These platforms will hold building services companies to account as they'll need to ensure that staff is properly trained and skilled in key areas, so in that way, the platforms can motivate facilities and building firms to stay on top of training and recruitment. It also means that jobs need to be finished on time and can be tracked and priced more easily.

The use of on-demand digital platforms can ultimately be of benefit not just to the companies looking to book facilities management services, but also to those businesses that offer their services too as it forces them to continually strive to improve.

[1] https://www.viatechnik.com/blog/advanced-buildings-construction-industry/


Stress at work

How FM managers can tackle stress levels

In such a fast-paced industry, with ever-evolving demands, pressures and seemingly never enough hours in the day, it is perhaps unsurprising that Facility Managers are reporting increasing stress levels.Stress at work

Of course, many jobs are stressful and stress isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, but recent research has found that for facilities managers at least, stress levels have tended to increase over the course of a career. This could be attributable, in part, to increasing seniority and additional responsibility, but it may equally be symptomatic of the fact that facilities management is a demanding industry, with a variety of challenges and on many occasions, limited budgets and resources with which to work.

Indeed, many Facilities Managers are increasingly being asked to provide better results with less money and support. In such a competitive marketplace, there is always the fear that if you don’t perform optimally, someone will be waiting in the wings to take over.

That is not to say that everything about the industry is negative; quite the contrary. Many Facilities Managers report enjoying and thriving on the challenges inherent in the role. There is also a school of thought that suggests that stress itself is not necessarily a bad thing, it is how we respond to this stress that is key.

If harnessed correctly, stress can be used to your advantage and help you to excel. Stress is a natural reaction left over from ancient times when it allowed us to be on our guard against wild animals or other dangers. The heightened awareness and racing pulse it can trigger prime the body to fight or flight as needed. Of course, if prolonged, neither of those elements are ideal for your longer-term health.

However, recognising when you are stressed and identifying how your body is naturally reacting to it is a vital first step in dealing with stress. Instead of getting carried along on a wave of adrenalin, step back from the situation and recognise that although important, it is not a case of life and death. This can help give some much-needed perspective.

It is also useful to appreciate why you are having a stress response and to potentially capitalise on the focus and clarity it can give you. Long term, chronic stress is not helpful, but short term, it can be harnessed to allow you to focus more closely on the task at hand and solve problems quickly.

Another useful tip is to recognise your personal reaction to stress. Do you fight, flight or freeze up? Try and track your behaviour and then see if you can alter your pattern to have a more beneficial response to stress. Think of a time where you were challenged or stressed but worked through it to solve a problem or overcome a hurdle. Remember ways in which you made a stressful response work in your favour and then strive to replicate this every time you feel yourself entering a stressful period.