Whether you’re looking to break into the self storage industry for the first time or advance your career at a new facility, acing the interview is your first step to success. Self storage is an exciting career field for anyone looking to grow professionally in a business that’s thriving and evolving every day. As more storage facilities are built and new industry disruptors arrive to modernize self storage, opportunities are created for professionals like you.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You may have already fleshed out your five year plan for your self storage career, but the first thing you’re going to need to do is sit down for an interview. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a part-time gig at your local storage facility or a full time manager role. Either way, you should take the interview seriously. Here’s a taste of what you can expect when interviewing for a career in self storage.
If your resume doesn’t have the words “storage facility” listed anywhere in the work history section, you might be wondering if you have a chance at this job. And while it’s true that some storage facilities may prefer candidates with industry experience (especially for supervisory roles), not having any doesn’t count you out.
Prior to the interview, spend some time looking at the job description for the role you’re applying for. Look at the list of preferred skills and then look at your own resume. You’re sure to see some skills that transfer over. Did you work as a server at a restaurant? Then you’ve probably got stellar customer service skills and are a pro at multi-tasking. Emphasize those strengths during the interview.
The person interviewing you will expect you to know at least the basics about self storage, the facility you’re applying to work at and the job you’re applying for. That means that you should expect one or all of the following questions: What are you interested in a career in self storage? What drew you to this company? What do you know about this storage facility?Before the interview, familiarize yourself with the storage facility’s website, making note of the types of storage and different features they offer. Read as many articles as you can about the industry and talk to anyone you know who has worked in self storage. The interviewer will be impressed when you casually mention that you like their expanded RV storage or that you’re interested in hearing their thoughts on valet storage.
Part two of doing your homework before interviewing at a storage facility requires some diligent note-taking. When reading about the job you’re applying for, the facility itself and the self storage industry as a whole, take the time to jot down a few questions (three to five is ideal).
Inevitably, at some point in the interview, you’ll be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”
This is not the time to clam up; this is the time to speak up. You can use one of your questions to reiterate why you’re a good fit for the job (“What skills do you picture the ideal candidate having?”), but you should use the bulk of your questions to get the answers to things you’re genuinely curious about. This will not only show the interviewer that you’re interested in self storage, but it’ll help you figure out whether or not the job is right for you. After all, you’re not just interviewing for a role at the storage facility. In a way, you’re interviewing the facility to see if it’s a good workplace for you.
We all know the old trick. The interviewer asks you what your weaknesses are and you say something about how you work too hard or care too much. At this point, the whole using your weaknesses as strengths thing is played out.
So what should you do when asked about your strengths and weaknesses at an interview for a job in self storage? Tailor your answers to the role. Obviously, your strengths should be whatever the desired skills in the job description are (things like sales experience, customer service and the ability to work independently). Your weaknesses should be whatever the job isn’t. Is the role you’re applying for one in which you’ll be on your feet, roaming the property and fixing problems in a hands-on way? Then maybe your weakness is that you don’t like being stuck in a cubicle and tied to a desk. Are you applying for a job as a resident self storage manager? Maybe your weakness is that you don’t like long commutes.
To many people, a job is just a job. If your feelings about a career in self storage are just lukewarm, the person interviewing you will be able to tell. The job interview is an opportunity to demonstrate to your enthusiasm for the work that the facility you’re applying at is doing and the role that self storage can play in people’s lives.
What is it that interests you most about self storage? Is it the ability to help people who are using self storage to make major life changes easier? Are you fascinated by the latest industry trends? Do you have an amazing marketing strategy that you haven’t seen implemented before? Focus on the aspect of self storage that’s most interesting to you and you’ll shine in the interview.