Why this matters:

Whether it’s to track inventory, oversee business activity, manage multiple projects, or more, software can help operations managers improve efficiency and productivity in many ways. Ideal candidates will be familiar with a variety of technologies, so they can select the right one for your particular industry and role.

What to listen for:

  • Firsthand knowledge of the benefits of logistics or project management software
  • Examples of how management software can help improve workflows
  • A willingness to learn new software if necessary

Why this matters:

To meet their goals, operations managers must be able to incorporate tactics that ensure consistency of quality and output. With the help of data, they should also implement effective but manageable ways to keep their staff members accountable to measurable goals.

What to listen for:

  • A strong understanding of effective operational strategies
  • An ability to identify when new hires are needed for a team to fulfill an objective
  • A willingness to learn more methods that can help improve overall productivity

Why this matters:

In order for operations managers to effectively streamline workflows, they must be able to compile budget reports that attribute line items to their appropriate expense categories. Budget planning doesn’t have to include every detail, but it should give financial leadership the ability to forecast cash flow, along with any debt or fundraising needs.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of the principles of good budget planning and reporting
  • Familiarity with most major budget line items and customary expense categories
  • The ability to clearly articulate and explain relevant concepts

Why this matters:

Every company hits a few bumps on the way to realizing its vision. Operations managers should be able to troubleshoot these, whether that involves tweaking processes, rearranging priorities, modifying expectations, motivating teams, etc. A good candidate will be able to relay a past example, as well as their specific contribution to turning things around.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated experience in restrategizing when objectives are not being met
  • An ability to boost and maintain team morale when faced with disappointments
  • An ability to shift priorities when needed and still ensure seamless operations

Why this matters:

To maximize productivity and optimize growth, companies should continually update their standard operating procedures (SOPs). Operations managers may be responsible for ensuring that team members are aligned with necessary changes, assisting and educating whenever further support and clarification are needed.

What to listen for:

  • Smooth internal communication skills
  • The ability to adapt quickly to new processes and communicate changes to staff members
  • The ability to measure the success rate of implementations and changes

 

Why this matters:

Operations managers may be responsible for guiding new hires through orientation; if so, their success might be measured by effective onboarding and a smooth integration into team workflow. This question gives your candidate the ability to speak to past successes.

 

What to listen for:

  • Past successes onboarding new employees
  • Demonstration of an effective new hire orientation approach
  • Strong communication skills

Why this matters:

Because an operation manager’s job is to oversee others, it’s important for them to have a thoughtful, tried-and-true approach, or a blend of approaches. This question gives you the ability to find out what their style is, why they’ve adopted it, and what it looks like day-to-day.

What to listen for:

  • A sense of consistency and fairness
  • The willingness to give clear and actionable feedback, even if constructive, over being liked or popular
  • A philosophy for management that aligns with your company’s

Why this matters:

On a day-to-day basis, operations managers will need to communicate across employees about adherence to procedures, work performance, and other workplace behavior. As they assess company systems, they must be able to quickly develop, test, and implement solutions that continue to boost employee productivity — whether that’s in IT, HR, or finances.

What to listen for:

  • An ability to communicate with other departments clearly and effectively
  • Expertise in analyzing current systems and identifying ways to improve productivity
  • A willingness to partner with different team members to implement any necessary changes 

Why this matters:

Operations managers are often responsible for making sure employees follow policies and procedures — no matter how unpopular they might be. This question explores the candidate’s approach to implementation, which may include tactics such as repeated reminders, leadership spotlights, extended training sessions, and rewards and other incentives.

What to listen for:

  • A sense of what works well and what doesn’t, for certain workforces
  • A track record of success
  • The willingness to be effective over being popular
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