Interview Questions To Ask Building Services Candidates
Building services candidates need great problem solving skills, a mathematical and analytical mind, CAD skills, and must also be highly organised and methodical: all qualities and attributes that can be difficult to assess in a conventional interview.
Fortunately the candidate’s CV will provide most of the information you require to see whether they have the right attributes and skills. Instead the interview provides an opportunity to assess cultural fit and also double-check that what they claim in their CV is true. For example, by discussing their involvement on specific projects and finding out how they have approached challenges and problems in their current and previous roles.
Below are interview questions designed to help you uncover more about the candidate, and decide whether they are a good fit for your building services role:
Building Services Interview Questions
Learning about the candidate
The following questions will help you find out more about the candidate and their current and previous roles. Do the skills and qualities they’ve outlined in their CV match up with what they say in interview?
Q: Tell me a little about yourself
This open ended question can result in a candidate telling you their entire life story, but actually what you want is a candidate that sticks to the point and explains how their background, experience, and interests are relevant to your job.
Q: What do you know about the company?
If the candidate is serious about working for you, they should already have an excellent knowledge of your company and the work you do. This question should provide them with the opportunity to explain how moving to your building services role will enable them to progress their career, pursue a specific area of interest etc.
Q: What are your main responsibilities in your current role?
You will already know what they do from their CV, but this question should reveal more about how they fit into the team at their current workplace, and how they contribute value to their employer.
Q: What are your key strengths and weaknesses in the workplace?
With this question the candidate should back up their strengths with evidence, for example if they have stated they have extensive experience designing sustainable buildings how have they done this? Weaknesses can also be insightful. While you wouldn’t expect a candidate to say, “I’m rubbish at CAD design”; candidates that can turn perceived weaknesses into positives demonstrate self-awareness – a great attribute to have.
Q: Has your role changed since you took it on?
This is a good opportunity for the candidate to discuss how they’ve progressed in their current role, and how they may have taken on additional responsibilities or new projects. If a candidate has been in a role for some time and says that it hasn’t changed, it could be because they’re not interested in professional development, and this may ring alarm bells. However give them the benefit of the doubt – it may be their employer that’s stagnating, not them.
Q: How do you think [a building services development] will impact on your role?
Qualifications and the blow-by-blow account of their experience to date will be on the candidate’s CV, but how knowledgeable and confident are they really? Candidates who can answer this question fluently will demonstrate good industry knowledge and awareness; as well as showing they are commercially aware too.
Assessing a candidates’ fit
While we all want the most qualified and talented candidates for our roles, not everyone is a good fit for your company and team. A poor fit, however qualified the candidate, can result in problems further down the line such as retention issues, morale, performance and productivity issues.
Q: What additional skills and ideas will you bring to this company?
No doubt you will have outlined the essential skills you require for the role, but what other value can the candidate offer? Will they complement your existing team by bringing skills that you currently lack, or will they disrupt the status quo by creating imbalance within your team? For example, if you’re looking for a team player who will work happily under your senior building services engineer, a candidate who highlights their ‘strong leadership’ skills may either not understand where the vacant role fits in your company, or be preparing for a takeover!
Q: How do you prefer to work?
Candidates should already have a good idea of your company’s workplace and whether their role is part of a larger team, or if they’ll be working independently for much of the time. Therefore if they say they like to work alone when you expect them to work collaboratively, they’re probably not a great fit.
Q: What have been your biggest achievements in the workplace?
With this question you’ll be interested to find out how they’ve added value in terms of the work that takes place, such as meeting deadlines, driving efficiencies etc., and also how they add value to the team overall. How do they help their colleagues do their roles, have they improved productivity, morale or any other factor in their current or previous workplaces?
Q: How do you hit deadlines and meet targets?
Working on complex and large projects requires teams and individuals who know how to work to deadlines and ensure that projects are delivered as promised. No more so than in building services. Expect candidates to be able to talk confidently about their time management and organisational skills and provide evidence from previous experience and relevant projects.
Assessing candidates’ motivations
Depending on your role and company you will want candidates that are aligned with your values and objectives. This will help you get candidates with a better fit, and also assess whether candidates have the right motivations.
Q: What attracted you to this role and our firm?
Do they genuinely want to work for your company or is it just about getting a job, any job? If the answer is ‘salary’ or ‘career progression’ this could indicate a candidate that will move on quickly when the next opportunity presents itself.
Q: How can we help you achieve career progression?
Career progression is not a bad thing to want, employees need ambitious candidates who want to gain new skills that will help their companies grow and innovate. However, if you plan to invest time and money on a new employee – funding training and CPD – you will want a reasonable return on investment, not a candidate that leaves before you’ve got value from them.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
On average UK employees change jobs every five years, although this varies between industries. For building services professionals, a job move might correspond with time served at a particular level or qualifications gained, for example attaining chartership. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, it will depend how you’ve pitched the job to the candidate and your company objectives. However, it is reasonable to expect that after five years the candidate may be looking for a promotion, or to get career progression elsewhere if your company cannot provide it.
If you would like any further advice on interviewing candidates, or to discuss a specific building services job opportunity, please contact me. Call +44 (0)1252 413 080 or email [email protected]