How To Hire A Great Operations Manager

How To Hire A Great Operations Manager

So far, you have done a decent job running your business. But now that it's growing, you're struggling to balance daily administrative tasks with more important decision-making processes, dashing from monitoring your staff's performance (human resources) to managing payments (accounting) and maintaining your facilities (logistics) while a dozen other things suffer.

Stop, please.

It's time to hire an operations manager.

And as you screen candidates for this important role, look out for:

1. A combination of academic qualification and relevant work experience.

Regardless of the size of your business, the best person for the role should have managed business operations in some form or the other for at least a year. Experience with managing budgets, logistics and human resources are particularly important. If you're distracted by certificates, you may end up hiring a qualified trainee who will add little to your business and a lot to your workload.

Suggested interview question: What were your routine tasks in your previous position?

2. Great people skills.

An operations management role demands interaction with different kinds of people including fellow employees and vendors. It follows then that your ideal candidate is a good listener, patient and willing to collaborate.

Suggested interview question: Describe how you managed vendors and fellow employees in your previous position.

3. Resourcefulness.

Your ideal candidate is self-motivated and deductive enough to take the initiative needed to keep your business running smoothly. Never hire a reactionary person for a role that requires foresight. For example, a great operations manager anticipates that supplies will run out at some point and makes sure that orders are placed well beforehand. And even when there's the occasional snag in operations, that sort of person will react quickly and effectively to put out the 'fire' before it burns your business down.

Suggested interview question: Describe two operational difficulties in your previous position and explain how you handled them.

4. Dedication.

The role of an operations manager is highly tasking, often requiring effort that may not be covered in the terms of an employment contract. Your ideal candidate is a committed person who is willing to do whatever is required (within rational and legal limits) to keep your business afloat. A documented record of dedication and achievement in previous positions is a good sign, but you should call the candidate's previous employers to get a truer picture of past performance.

Suggested interview question: None.

Does your business have a great operations manager? What things did you look out for when making your hiring decision? Send comments and tips to, we may publish them with full credit and a mention of your business.

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