Insight Blog

The Value of Hiring Unconventional Facilities Professionals

If you are involved in facilities management [FM], you know the industry is quickly advancing, and at the same time, becoming increasingly challenging. Organizations with significant real estate assets are looking to manage their portfolios in the most efficient and streamlined manner in order to strengthen their competitive advantage and sustain long-term success. Therefore, at the forefront of every FM department is maximizing budgets, reducing operating costs, increasing energy efficiency and implementing sustainability measures.

Inherent to these challenges is securing experienced FM professionals who are knowledgeable and skilled at developing strategies to manage major capital building programs, enhance energy management, upgrade facilities, and develop comprehensive sustainability programs. As organizations look to recruit these types of professionals, they are finding that the talent pool is extremely limited. To address this issue, they are opening their recruitment parameters to include ‘unconventional’ candidates.

While there are many factors that can make candidates unconventional, they are typically professionals’ industries, experiences, corporate culture mentalities, management styles, unique skill sets and personality characteristics. Institutions and other owner entities are finding that professionals with these ‘different’ characteristics can offer fresh perspectives and make valuable contributions in helping their organizations change their ways of thinking, opening themselves up to progress.

Jim Lord, Managing Director with Helbling & Associates, conducts facilities management searches for institutions and other owner organizations that have large real estate portfolios. When representing these clients, he understands the benefits of expanding recruitment parameters to include unconventional candidates and the value that these professionals bring to FM departments.

In a recent article, The Value of Hiring Unconventional Candidates in Facilities Management (link below), he discusses the advantages of securing professionals from the corporate sector for institutional clients. Within the article, Lord explains, “Many of our institutional and owner clients come to us when they realize that they need to significantly enhance the way they are current managing or operating from a facilities operations perspective. Usually, they are looking to be innovators and trail-blazers so it is important to recognize what other industries may have the expertise [talent] they seek. Partly because they have tried to recruit individuals on their own prior to retaining us for an executive search, they understand that the talent pool is extremely limited when only considering their industry peers. They also realize that those institutions usually do not have professionals with the capabilities they desire. Therefore, they come to understand the value of going outside of their sector to obtain the candidates with the strong business experiences and fresh perspectives who will move their organizations forward.”

Lord goes on to explain that for Helbling’s institutional clients, candidates from the corporate sector are attractive because they have the experience, training and mentality that clients are seeking. Due to the fact that the private, for-profit sector is typically more advanced in a variety of areas, candidates from this sector can offer institutions progressive management styles and new perspectives of technologies, systems, and processes. He says, “it is common that, during follow up calls with clients, they express how pleased they are with their decision and make remarks about how the candidate came in and made significant changes and impacted operations in a relatively short time frame, allowing their organizations to accomplish their goals. Similar experiences are had by candidates. The professionals we placed are high-performers who enjoy challenges. When they enter the institutional sector and see the opportunities that await them, they are motivated and excited about the changes and positive impact they could make.”

As FM progresses and roles become more complex and demanding, institutions and other organizations will increasingly see the benefits of expanding recruitment parameters to include unconventional candidates. In doing so, organizations will improve their recruitment processes, ensuring that they identify all potential qualified candidates for FM roles that are critical for long-term success.