Operations manager also called as Operation Executive has functions that are involved in all aspects of the company operations with having an overall goal to provide and support the operations effectively.
Their main role is to monitor the work of different departments within a company or it could be a group of companies and organizations.
Their daily tasks mainly involve to plan human and technical resource usage, manage day to day tasks and design policies to keep all in place.
For this they need to be highly trained and highly qualified professionals as it includes complex responsibilities.
Before the start of interview, you will need to determine what is that you are looking for.
To recruit such a person for your company or group of companies, you will need to frame questions that will help to make the correct choice or selection.
The interview questions need to be structured in such a way that it will be consistent for all the candidates. It has to lead to more accurate information of desired experiences and behaviors. Of course it should not be biased in any way.
1) As an Operations Head, what sort of tasks were your handling daily?
How do you make decisions when it comes to staffing, warehousing, accounting, operations, sales?
If you were to answer, you would be listing out the various tasks. But try to say examples with each task that you were involved in. This will help the employer to know to what level your functions were.
For example, if you were involved in arranging resources, then you could say preparing budgets for various programs and ensuring that it was put to complete use.
If you are part of logistics then you could say taking control of inventory and logistics. If you got involved in human resources especially hiring then say as conducting job interviews till final stage.
Mostly as Operations head, then you could say handling process controls and being employee’s supervisor.
2) How was your involvement with each employee in the organization?,
Have you personally hired, trained and coached staff?,
Have you fired staff for erratic behavior? What steps did you follow to do that?
How do you motivate your employees?
Having to deal with people is quite tough job and being an Operations head you would have used various methods to bring in discipline, frame office regulations, deal with small conflicts within teams.
It’s always implied that conflicts or grievances are mostly taken up to the level of Operations head. You could describe the way you had to handle erratic behaviors and ways that you had to impose discipline to bring in culture, that team work does not fail.
Detail out the way you had been attentive and had closed the communication gaps.
3) What do you think is the skill set you need to possess to be successful?
Describe your management style or philosophy.
Operation Manager needs to be quick in thinking and also implementing the aspects that needs solution.
In fact, it is having ability to solve problems quickly and use your communication effectively to lead the team. These important aspects need to be explained with examples.
For instance, you would have managed changes and dealt with all levels of people using your leadership quality and communications skill. You could emphasize your job skills wherein you would have been involved in communicating the instructions to sub- contractors and conveying messages to other levels within organization.
4) What methods do you employ to communicate your message? How do you do it?
What is your experience in making presentations?
Operations Head need to be equipped with making presentations as it is the best method to display to the inside and outside part of the organization.
As they are constantly posed with displaying the progress of the company or any new projects and/or future expansions that are envisaged, this part of communication skill is best utilized in this aspect.
You will need to have some sample work projects that you had developed to give as examples. Indicate the methodology that you have employed to make the message clear.
5) How do you manage budgets? At your previous employer what steps did you take to cut costs?
Head of Operations carries out tasks bearing in mind the budget restraints. He/she will be involved in budgeting for all the departments and also review to see how much is utilized and how much is remaining. From that they will decide for making the purchase based on the restraint.
Their aim is to know where to cut costs and where it is needed. Future resource planning is also in their job scope.
Hence, you will need to revive all the work executed with examples to show case your skill in managing within budget. Sometimes Operations Manager are involved in procuring loans for the company. In case you had been involved make it clear about the type of loan depicting the examples.
6) Have you participated in negotiating contracts from small or large vendors? How do go about it and have you succeeded?
As Operations head, your job also involves in getting a job or project executed within budget. For this you would have to get help from outside source for which you would have to be good at negotiation.
This skill is aptly executed when you are sound in that field or subject or else take advice from other department heads. You could give examples of what contracts have you successfully negotiated.
7) How do you solve a problem that arises? How do you act on it? Do you pause and think or act immediately?
Many problems would arise in daily work environment whether it is manufacturing unit or service sector. Being in charge for it, you would be involved in handling problems on daily basis.
Take out some good examples on how you acted on it. Most of the time employers would be interested to know if you involved the team members to discuss the issue and get solutions.
Usually Operations in charge gets to the core of the issue by using their six sigma skill and other management styles. For this it requires brain storming session with the team who would bring out the solutions and does not decide by himself.
8) Have you handled Management Information Systems or Cost Analysis or variance Analysis?
From this question it is obvious, that it is posed to know whether you are familiar with the technical aspects required for your job.
Sometimes you might not have complete knowledge about it, as you would have some expert handling it. In such cases you could indicate how you handled them. But you could show your eagerness to harness that field as well. On the other side, if you had opportunity to explore that section, do indicate the details.
9) What in your terms is ideal operations management team?
Mostly Operations head would like to have a, that is like minded. But you could indicate what kind of people you would like to work with.
You could say that you intend to work with result driven people and surround yourself with self-motivated people who work in a team towards a common goal.
Most of all you like to be surrounded by positive thinking people. You could cite examples where how one of your best projects went well with the team members details.
10) How big was the team you had last worked with? What were the difficulties you had to face? How did you manage them?
Operations Managers are always working with teams. Team members are to be motivated and appraised on the situations around them.
Here the operations head handles his /her team with ease using their management skill. You could explain the details of team that you had handled wherein how you moved within the team by walking the talk showing them the details. Also you could tell what the most difficult situation was where you had to take the call and smoothen out.
Here you display your method of planning, leadership skills, communications skill, ability to address a group, know how to resolve problems. Take care when you answer this particular section of the interview question.
Competency based interviews are conducted to find out a lot about the candidates. The interviews then needs to be based on bringing out the nature and attitudes of the candidates. If the interview is to select Operations Manager then questions needs to be based on the context given above.
As management positions require core competencies that will bring success, the interview is conducted explore the competencies and their behaviours. But the basic knowledge requirements for manager are business and management principles, operating systems, information processing applications, planning tools, human resource management principles, relevant software applications and administrating procedures.
Operations Manager are key pivots in organization as they need to be effective in using resources at the same time taking care of customer, organizational, and staff needs. It’s a balancing act that is most needed.