The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask When Interviewing Self Storage Job Candidates

Krista Diamond |

Building an all-star self storage team at your facility starts with the interview process. When you have a vacant position to fill at your storage facility, you might feel torn between the need to hire someone quickly and the desire to spend a lifetime finding the perfect employee. You can find the middle ground by streamlining the interview process.

An interview should feel like a natural conversation between two like-minded industry professionals. During this conversation, you want to develop a feel for the candidate’s skills, experience and personality. You should always assess all of these attributes by asking yourself how they mesh with your storage facility and the self storage industry in general.

Be sure to set aside at least an hour for each interview (including preparation time and post-interview analysis) and always ask these five important questions:

1. How is your past work experience relevant to a role at this storage facility?

For candidates who already have experience working in self storage, this question should present them with an opportunity to really shine. Sit back and let them discuss their work experience in the industry. When they’re finished speaking, you may want to ask follow up questions about what their specific responsibilities were at that storage facility, why they left and what they’d like their professional goals at your facility to be. For candidates who are new to the self storage industry, this question gives them an opportunity to be creative and think on their feet. Ideally, they will present obvious ways in which their work history translates to a role at your facility. Look for answers that fit the language of the job description you posted.

2. What was the most challenging customer interaction you’ve ever had and how did you handle it?

Because self storage is an increasingly service oriented field, it’s important to get a feel for how the candidate interacts with customers—especially difficult ones. The correct answer to this is one that doesn’t pass judgement on the customer. Of course, it’s also an answer that involves the candidate identifying a problem, taking ownership over it and solving it to the best of their ability.

3. What interests you about the self storage industry?

As a self storage professional, you’re passionate about the industry. It feels great to work alongside people who love self storage or at least have a willingness to learn about it.

It’s very likely that you’ll be interviewing candidates who have not worked in the self storage industry before. This isn’t a deal breaker, so long as those candidates are ready to go through training and work hard to understand the in’s and out’s of self storage.

By asking this question you can weed out the type of candidates who are looking for any job that they can get and focus on the type of potential employees who are interested in the self storage industry specifically.

Remember, you’re not necessarily looking for people who are already self storage experts; you’re looking for candidates who are willing to become self storage experts.

4. What would you do in X scenario?

Think of the most common challenges that your facility faces. Is it difficult customers? Issues with gate access? Abandoned storage units? Whatever that issue might be, insert it into this question.

You want a team of employees who know what to do when challenges arise. You want employees who won’t need to call you every time something goes wrong because they’ll already know how to handle it. While it will ultimately be your responsibility to instill knowledge in your employees through great training, the first step is finding a candidate with problem solving abilities.

5. Do you have any questions for me?

This one is a no-brainer. Every strong candidate should be prepared with questions about the job and about your self storage facility. The more questions, the better.

The incorrect answer to this question is, of course, a simple “no.” Even the highly qualified candidate with years of experience in the self storage industry should have a few questions. Unwillingness to ask questions means unwillingness to learn.

Many questions are not only a great sign but a great opportunity for you and the potential hire to have an open dialogue. This will give the candidate a chance to learn about your storage facility and it’ll help you determine whether or not you have a place for them on your team.