This Operations Manager interview question list brings together an overview of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions. Feel free to tailor it to suit your company and the vacancy you need to fill.
Operations Managers are found in all types of industries. This is usually an experienced managerial position with wide-ranging duties. The best operations managers are organised, meticulous, detail and outcome focussed, with good communication skills.
Some tasks, such as quality systems management, software systems, purchasing, supply chain management, engineering process management or lean manufacturing require specific skills or qualifications. Use these interviews as an opportunity to evaluate these skills. Some employers may even include a skills test in the interview process or as part of the recruitment and selection procedure. If there is a specific skill that you need, be sure to add questions about that to this list.
The following open-ended and situational interview questions will encourage your candidates to speak at length about their relevant experience. Use them to guide the interview, and ask follow up questions. You won’t need every single question. They will help you get a sense of their interpersonal skills, such as how well they manage, how well they can work on a team, and what motivates them as employees. The best candidates will be able to articulate what interests them about your company, and will contribute several prepared and spontaneous questions of their own to the conversation.
- Why did you decide to apply for this position?
- What aspects of the job appeal to you?
- Tell us more about your experience in the following: (insert specific skills areas, technology or knowledge requirements necessary for this role in your company)
- What strengths will you bring to the position?
- Describe how you have communicated changes involved to staff at all levels of the business relating to operations management.
- What has been the most difficult situation you have had to deal with?
- How would you describe your leadership style.
- Which of your previous jobs have you enjoyed the most? Why?
- What area of experience/skill will you need to develop if you get the job? How will you get it?
- What type of person do you find the most challenging to work with?
- Describe a time you led by example.
- What’s your approach to delegating to employees? How do you ensure that tasks are carried out to completion?
- Describe someone you coached or mentored. What were they doing initially, and what are they doing now?
- How would you tell a colleague that he/she was underperforming?
- Talk about the time you led an important meeting that dealt with a key business challenge.
- Talk about a successful work project involving multiple teams. What was your role in facilitating the project? What was the result?
- Have you ever had to execute a project with a small budget, or a lack of resources? How did you address these issues?
- Tell me about a time when your team was struggling to meet business goals. What happened? What did you do about it?
- Quantify the impact you had on the bottom line or other key business goals in your last position.
- How do you go about organizing your day?
- What are some of your techniques for handling personal stress?
- Its Friday afternoon, everyone else has gone home, a customer phones up, they have a problem with our product. You are the only person on the premises. Tell me what you would do? (look for evidence of the following)
- root cause analysis (why did this problem occur)
- Containment (how to stop it spreading or affecting more customers)
- Prevention of recurrence (how to stop this happening again in future)
- Corrective action (what short and long term corrective actions must be taken to solve the problem)
(Good candidates must be able to explain the difference between corrective and preventive action)
- What self development activities have you undertaken?
- What support would you require from the Directors?
- Who has been your best manager? Why?
- Which company that you have had contact with is the most innovative? Why?
- How does the culture of the company you work in affect the success or otherwise of continuous improvement and quality initiatives? Why? How will you contribute towards this?
- What are some industry trends that have an impact on your role as a manager?
- Why are you interested in our company? What is the relationship between this job and your career goals?
- Have you any questions?
Click here for a Operations Manager job description that you can customise to your company and use to post on job boards.