Sample operations manager job description and interview questions

Operations Managers can do a lot for your company. They can oversee a variety of functions for your company including hiring and motivating team members, product and service quality assurance, operations budgeting, and more.

The primary goal of the Operations Manager position is to ensure that your company’s products or services are provided to customers in a satisfactory and efficient manner while keeping costs low.

If you’re planning to hire an Operations Manager soon or just want to learn more about the role, take a look at this sample Operations Manager job description to learn about the key job duties and required qualifications. You can also explore some useful questions to ask Operations Manager candidates during job interviews.

What is an Operations Manager?

The Operations Manager is an employee responsible for overseeing the operations of the company. Operations Manager duties and focus areas can vary somewhat by industry and organization. However, they often oversee areas such as staffing, production, quality control, administrative functions, customer support, and marketing.

They generally report to the company’s Chief Operating Officer. (COO) and collaborate with several other department leads or executives.

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Operations Manager job description template

Overview

The Operations Manager will supervise and coordinate the activities of the office, customer service, shipping and receiving, and maintenance teams. They will also work with vendors to negotiate contracts.

The ideal candidate will have sharp business acumen and proven success in managing multiple departments to maximize productivity and efficiency. The Operations Manager should have knowledge and experience in the fields of human resources, finance, and information technology

Job Responsibilities

  • Create and maintain organizational processes and operational policies.

  • Supervise all staff in the operations department.

  • Assist in the hiring and training of new employees

  • Engaging in strategic planning to meet organizational goals.

  • Responsible for systems analysis and programming support, updates, modifications, and enhancements.

  • Supports inventory management.

  • Purchases supplies, equipment, and other necessary company assets.

  • Overseeing the operations budget and relevant project budgets.

  • Perform quality assurance checks and monitor production KPIs.

  • Work to improve the quality of customer service and product outputs.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field.

  • At least five years of operations work experience.

  • Must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

  • The ability to work well in a fast-paced environment with multiple deadlines.

  • The ability to work in a team environment with strong analytical, research, and organizational skills is essential.

  • Strong project management and problem-solving skills.

Operations Manager Interview Questions

Here are some helpful questions to ask when interviewing candidates for an Operations Manager role.

Tell me about your experience in budget planning and reporting.

A good Operations Manager candidate should have some experience in budget planning and reporting to share with you. Strong financial management skills are essential for Operations Managers as they should be involved in forecasting budgetary needs including staffing and supplies, auditing expenditures, and engaging in strategic planning to learn how to best meet the company’s operational goals with the available budget.

Have you ever introduced a cost-cutting program that improved your operations as well as saved money?

This question gives the candidate an opportunity to showcase one of their past achievements. Operations Managers need to know how to manage a budget and think critically about their expenditures. They may be able to find a cheaper vendor or negotiate the costs down on a supply item that the company frequently purchases. Operations Managers can also sometimes find ways to automate workflows or make certain processes more efficient to save money or reallocate those labor expenses to a more profitable or important task.

How do you promote communication and teamwork between different departments?

One interesting challenge that comes with working in Operations is that you typically need to work with a wide variety of departments and teams. Operations Managers often interact with finance, human resources, marketing, production, customer service, and the office support team. Many of these teams are even listed under the operations umbrella in many companies’ organizational charts. When working with all these teams on shared projects, Operations Managers are often responsible for bringing these teams together to collaborate (along with leading their own operations staff in collaborating with different teams).

There are a ton of right answers here. Some Operations Managers may prefer technical solutions such as using online collaboration and project management tools to help keep everyone in the loop on shared projects (this is particularly relevant for remote teams). Others may set standing meetings to discuss progress on shared tasks or activities. Ideally, an Operations Manager would also encourage cross-department team building with departments that frequently work together.

Some employees accept change with no problem, while others resist the slightest variation in the way that they do things. How do you introduce change to a person who prefers the status quo?

Employees are often resistant to change. However, a good Operations Manager will always be looking for ways to improve workplace operations. This can often include suggesting changes to company policies and operating procedures or introducing new technologies. The Operations Manager should not only be able to suggest and help implement these changes but also know how to help hesitant employees adjust to them.

Listen to how the candidate explains their process for introducing and leading through these changes. One consideration is how they choose to introduce and explain changes. It’s often a good idea to supplement any emails or meeting announcements with a detailed written explanation of the new procedure or policy, including step-by-step instructions detailing the new process if applicable. Providing time to answer any questions or conduct a hands-on training for process or technology changes is also something to listen for as the candidate explains their process.

Each candidate may have their own way of managing this process, but your key takeaway as an interviewer from their answer should be that they will approach the situation with empathy and patience, and work hard to understand their employees’ concerns and support them in adapting to the change.

How do you approach contract negotiations with vendors?

Recently a lot of businesses have been struggling due to increased supply costs, so it’s especially important right now to hire an Operations Manager that can negotiate supply costs and vendor contracts down where possible. A good negotiator does their research on the vendor and their industry or business type so that they go into the negotiation with an idea of what a fair rate would be.

Strong negotiators communicate clearly to try to negotiate a satisfactory outcome for both sides, and work to continuously build their relationships with each vendor to improve future negotiations. They may lean on their logistics and demand planning skills to forecast future supply needs and negotiate volume discounts if they place larger orders with a vendor or set up recurring orders.

Listen to how the candidate communicates throughout the negotiation process and what creative solutions they suggest to improve communications. A particularly strong candidate will also be able to pull in examples of what has worked for them in past vendor negotiations.

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