How to Interview Candidates for Business Center Manager

By February 3, 2016New Hire

In an earlier post, I talked about the 3 key skill sets that successful center managers in the serviced workspace industry have.   In this post, I will detail how I have conducted interviews to practically evaluate each of those skills sets and others in the context of the serviced office center.

When I interview candidates, I like to break the role down into 5 broad areas: Sales, HR, Accounting, Technology, and Property Management.    These are the five major functions that managers in Office Suite Strategies-managed centers are responsible for.  Our centers are run with a lean staffing model so having a well-rounded skill set is extremely important.     I touched on Sales and Technology   in the post linked earlier, so I will further define the three other categories here.   The HR category includes evaluating leadership experience and abilities, as well as the fundamentals of staff management.  Having a manager that can understand a basic P&L is essential to running a successful  serviced office company.  I evaluate the candidate’s success and experience in this area under the Accounting category.  Lastly, several of the successful center managers we have found come from the property management field.  So, it is important to consider experience related to managing vendors, cleaning crews, and building maintenance as well as a strong attention to detail under the Property Management category.

My interviews begin with asking the candidate to rank these categories from one to five in terms of how much experience they have and/or their confidence in that area.  I look for candidates who rank Sales and Property Management the highest in their self-evaluation. Of course, they must also have a very good understanding of basic business skills.  Successful managers must  have the ability to effectively communicate the value of the serviced office company in order to secure the sale.  And, they must be able to have the organizational skills and an understanding of basic accounting to make sure the business as a whole is functioning optimally.  In truth, these ideal candidates are very difficult to find, but I’ve fine-tuned the Workspace Strategies recruiting process to attract top notch individuals that run our centers today and the centers for many of our clients.

The hiring process that Workspace Strategies conducts consists of a minimum of 4 interviews before an offer is considered.   Before we start the interview process, we thoroughly screen through resumes, ensuring anyone we talk to includes a well written cover letter.  Again, with sales skills being a priority for us, we feel that if an individual doesn’t present a cover letter when they are attempting to sell themselves, this is a major red flag.  From there, we move to a phone interview followed by face to face interview that takes place via Skype.  Next, the candidate has an in person interview with a member of the Workspace Strategies management team.  If the candidate has been successful in all prior steps, the last interview assesses their decision making skills through a series of conflict resolution questions.   Finally,we make the selection of the best candidate for the position and move to the reference checking step.  We do not make a job offer until at least three prior work references have been checked.  Upon hire, I work with each new employee in a regimented training program that acclimates them to the serviced workspace industry, teaches them Workspace Strategies’ proven-effective processes and procedures, and tests their understanding and effectiveness once trained.  And, training does not end at orientation.   In order to keep our managers motivated and strong, Workspace Strategies conducts regular training sessions on a monthly basis.  They are then responsible for the same type of training (with my guidance) with their team.

I hope this post has shed some light on the interview process that Workspace Strategies carries out in order to find the best candidates for the integral Center Manager role.  If you are considering entering the serviced workspace industry and would like assistance with staffing, please contact us for a consultation.  You can also hear more about this process at the Global Coworking Unconference in Los Angles, CA in April of this year.  I will be speaking on Day one of the conference!