Blog - Catch 22

How to succeed at your video interview

If you thought that telephone interviews were your worst nightmare, then consider what it is like to be interviewed over a video call! With so many things to think about, a video interview can feel more pressured than a normal face-to-face meeting. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your facilities management video job interview.

Choose a location where you won't be disturbed

As with a telephone interview, you must choose a time and a place that will give you the opportunity to speak freely. For instance, don't participate in a video interview on your existing work premises, and don’t set yourself up for the discussion in a busy cafe or a shared apartment, as you simply cannot predict noise levels and disturbances. The best place to be during your video interview is in your own space, where you can feel at ease and can be comfortable talking about yourself, facilities management and the role expected of you.

Be aware of your surroundings

Following on from the first point, do a practice run first, to check that you don't have anything on display within the frame that you shouldn't, like dirty cups or laundry, or even offensive posters. If you want the panel to think you are neat and organised, then your surroundings should reflect this. Be sure to position yourself near a light too, so that, if the interview takes place in the afternoon, you can adjust the lighting and won't end up in complete darkness. While you may prefer your face to be blurred by darkness, the panel do actually want to see eye contact and your expressions, just as they would in a face to face situation.

Dress appropriately for an interview

Not only should you prep your surroundings, you should also prep yourself. Just because you are not going to their offices does not mean you shouldn't make the effort to dress smartly. The interviewer does not want to see you dressed in your loungewear, as this gives a negative vibe. Also, don’t be tempted to simply team your joggers with a shirt because you don't think they will notice. What if, for example, you realise that you need something at the other side of the room and must stand up?

Check all your devices works

Although this has been left until last, it is actually one of the most important points to take away. If you've never used the audio function on your laptop or desktop before, make sure that you check it prior to the interview, leaving you enough time to get a technician's advice, if necessary. Similarly, even if you regularly use Skype, make sure that your camera is connected and that your WiFi is on. Ensure that the position of your camera is appropriate, and hasn't slipped to an embarrassing angle for all. Male or female, it isn't really an ideal situation to have a prospective employer forced to look at anything other than your face on your first meeting!


Blog - Catch 22

How to get ahead in your facilities management career

Facilities management (FM) may not be everyone's dream career, but even those who fall into the sector by accident often discover that there are actually many fantastic opportunities for career progression, as well as a great deal of enjoyment to be had from the roles. As such, more and more people are being attracted to the industry, including millennials, and the sector is welcoming them with brand new apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships helping to shape futures

From October, over 50 higher level apprenticeships will be made available in an attempt to attract youngsters to FM as a career, and this is intended to build a younger and fresher workforce (which, at present, is predominantly made up of male workers, aged over 35). More apprenticeships will then be made available in the following March, bringing the total up to over 200 new openings.

The £1m investment will help to create a clear professional path into the industry, instead of the more common approach, which is for individuals to stumble across roles. The apprenticeships themselves will give young professionals an opportunity to gain a degree-level qualification and the skills required to enter the public sector.

Creating a true path into facilities management

As previously touched upon, many facilities managers would admit that they didn't go on the search for that career, but they probably wouldn't change their job for the world. Yet, there wasn't previously a set path to entering the field, or much information about what the career could offer. The hope is that this investment will set out a better professional path for graduates and help students to properly understand the benefits of a career in FM.

Compensating for retirees

Furthermore, the plans have been put in place to create opportunities, and also to fill gaps. Since the workforce is predominantly aged between 40 and 50, the sector needs to prepare for when those employees leave. Without raising the profile of FM as a career and creating these opportunities for the next generation of workers, companies will be left with staff shortages. That is why this investment is such a timely revelation.

The different areas of facilities management

Some may be surprised to hear that the sector is very varied, offering a range of niche specialisms. Among these areas of expertise are building design & planning, building development, contracts/projects & bids, engineering/maintenance, estates/property, events, health & safety, operations, procurement, sustainability, technical services/ICT and general FM.

How to get your career started

To find out more about the apprenticeships and other opportunities for professional study that are available in the FM sector, you can consult the relevant pages on gov.uk, or you can visit the designated area found on the BIFM website (The Professional Body for Facilities Management) at bifm.org.uk. As someone in their twenties, looking for a great career, you should definitely consider setting your sights on becoming an FM professional and benefitting from the apprenticeships on offer. You could gain valuable qualifications, and also learn a great deal about the sector, mastering the skills required to progress through the ranks.


Blog - Catch 22

Three essential skills that all facilities managers need

Facilities management is a diverse sector covering a broad range of roles, yet there are certain skills that any successful professional within the field must possess.

With the sector changing drastically thanks to new technology and a stream of environmental regulations, those who were once well-suited to the industry may now struggle to keep up with the ever-changing environment, while others may now begin to thrive in their positions.

Here are the key skills required by those entering the field of facilities management.

Analytical skills

By nature, facilities management is quite a complex and unpredictable discipline, with new challenges being thrown at staff all the time. As such, individuals must be prepared to think quickly and to make decisions in line with business needs and budget. Facilities managers, in particular, are tasked with dealing with a variety of important and somewhat detailed information. They must use this to inform decisions, amend procedures where necessary and find new ways to improve the overall efficiency of the team and the building (or buildings) being managed.

Communication skills

As facilities management can require team members to oversee a range of situations including project planning and managing, communication is not only useful, it is key. Managers must be comfortable giving orders to their team yet they must possess the skills to communicate with colleagues in an appropriate manner. In addition to being able to speak effectively with a team, managers must also possess excellent written communication skills so that they can write up reports from meetings, staff reviews, and other important discussions in a professional manner.

Leadership skills

As we have seen above, managers in the facilities industry must be able to encourage and motivate a team, which means that strong leadership skills will determine whether or not you are ultimately promoted. That said, not everyone is a natural leader and the confidence needed can be built up over time, as can the knowledge that is required to support career progression. Being honest, being passionate, being able to communicate and being able to delegate are just a few signs that you could be a great manager in the future. It is good to note that leaders come in all ages; youthfulness should not deter you from chasing your dream of becoming a manager.

As you can see, the three principles are not difficult to achieve but it is your attitude and drive that will determine just how well you meet these requirements. One of the main things to remember is not to underestimate the responsibility that is placed in your hands, yet to not let the pressure of getting things to work harmoniously overwhelm you. If you are just considering a job in this sector and are doubting your suitability to work your way to the top, bear in mind that these are skills that you can develop along the way. You might even have developed elements of these skills during your education or previous work experience but have yet to realise it.


How social media can make or break your job hunt

How social media can make or break your job hunt

In this day and age, most people will have experimented with social media, with many having one or more accounts that they update regularly. While posting pictures of a night out with friends may seem perfectly innocent, if prospective employers catch sight of something they don't like, then it could cost you the job. This is why social media can inadvertently make or break your job hunt in the facilities management industry.

Why do employers look up candidates online?

While you may expect an establishment in the facilities management sector to base their decision whether to hire you on your CV, covering letter, a test completed or on how you display yourself at an interview, you might be shocked to find out that many facilities management teams look up their preferred candidates online, to get a glimpse of who they are outside of the professional environment. With many of us hearing about or finding job advertisements through social networks nowadays, who are we to complain if a company takes a look at us, just like we have probably inspected their information and statuses on sites like LinkedIn or Twitter?

Though some would argue that LinkedIn is specifically designed for making business connections and finding out about companies and the staff who work for them, are recruiters crossing a line when they start to venture onto predominantly 'social' sites like Facebook or Instagram?

Keeping your private life private

Regardless of how you feel about this situation, if you have a public Facebook profile, or even have mutual friends at the company you intend to work for, offering visibility into your private life, then you are inviting anyone to take a look at what you have been up to. Remember also that this applies to everything on your account, from old posts that were once funny to photographs that you might now feel ashamed of. The key message here is not to remove your social media presence altogether, but to assess your accounts and censor anything that you personally would not want a prospective employer to see.

If your social media accounts regularly display behaviour that is very different to what the panel of interviewers saw, or that puts you across in a negative light, then that might cause them to worry about your sincerity and your suitability for their post.

It's not all bad though...

On the contrary, not everyone's profiles will be filled with controversial content and not all employers will be easily offended by someone having fun in their personal time, but it is useful to note that professionals might be interested to know about your true character including your interests, hobbies and groups that you are actively involved in. As such, your open profile might even work in your favour when it comes to finding work.

Many people hiring for the facilities management sector will be influenced by seeing a social media account that displays a likeable personality and one that will fit in nicely into their team.