If you have a job interview as an operations manager (sometimes referred to as an operation executive), you want to make sure that you are prepared for the questions that you are going to get. Even though it is impossible to predict the flow of any particular job interview with any real accuracy, there are a number of questions that you should expect.
By familiarizing yourself with these five frequent operations manager interview questions and having a decent understanding of the type of answers that potential employers are looking for, you will be able to distinguish yourself from the competition for upcoming job interviews that you might have coming up.
Question 1 Can you tell us about the daily tasks you have handled (as an operation manager)?
Answer: As you know from experience, an operation manager has a number of different tasks to deal with on a daily basis. Rather than give generic statements, it is a good idea to provide specific examples. A few suggestions might include conducting job interviews, being an employees’ supervisor, handling inventory control and logistics, ensuring coordinated movement from site to site, arranging facilities, and preparing budgets for programs.
Rather than provide a broad overview of tasks, try to give a basic overview with some specific details. This is going to provide your interviewer with a better understanding of what your job entailed.
Question 2 What are some skills that you bring to the table (as an operations manager)? What are your strengths?
Answer: A few of the needed skills in operations management include excellent communication skills, leadership skills, problem solving ability, and quick learning/thinking. Rather than spew out key phrases that you think people want to hear, make these relevant to your experience. One example might be that you managed changes and communicated said changes to all levels of personnel using your communication skills and leadership abilities.
You might also be able to highlight the fact that you are able to communicate messages across all levels of the organization and external parties, whether these include members of senior management or sub-contractors.
Question 3 How might the operations manager (you) be involved with individual employees morale?
Answer: Oftentimes this question gauges whether someone understands the position of operations manager and has a decent understanding of what scope the job entails. An operations manager has to deal with small scale conflicts, discipline, and office regulations.
Oftentimes this means effectively communicating with/being attentive to, individual employees to ensure that personal conflicts or grievances are allayed. Be prepared to be asked about specific examples where a decision that you made influenced a situation either positively or negatively.
Question 4 What experience do you have with presentations?
Answer: As an operations manager, it is important that you are able to communicate effectively. Not just to people inside of the company, but also outside of the organization. An operations manager may be asked to represent the company in meetings and conferences. Because these operations managers are qualified to speak about the details of possible prospects, plans, expansion and growth, and any current projects, it is important that they are able to speak to a diverse audience.
Question 5 Do you have any knowledge about managing a budget?
Answer: Keep in mind that budget planning is something that operations managers are typically involved in. The goal here is to learn how much money has been spent already, how much money is going to be spent in the future, and how the remaining budget should be spent. This allows them to acquire necessary resources within budget limits. Even drastic choices, such as loans for the company, might be financial issues that operations managers are involved in.
To learn more about a career in operations management and what really happens in that field, see “Interviews with Masters of Operations Management”