We have compiled top 20 Operations Manager interview questions that might be asked in an interview to test various aspects of skills, with tips and a sample answer for each of them. These operation management interview questions will help employers to assess whether each candidate has the required knowledge and experience in operations management.
1. Tell Us Briefly About Yourself And What Inspires You To Become An Operations Manager
Tip 1: Provide information about yourself that indicate you have the required skills and experience
Tip 2: Briefly describe what motivates you to be an operations manager
“I graduated with a degree in operations management three years ago and later joined a construction company as an operations manager. I am professional, meticulous, and very organized with regard to the duties and tasks I perform at work. I pursue the role of an operation manager because I am most comfortable performing it. Both my qualities and skills are geared up towards becoming a very productive and competent operations manager. I have experience in managing operations and I understand the importance of having an operational perspective in my work. Besides, I have a strong determination of excelling in this role.”
2. Are You An Easy-Going Manager Or You Adopt A Firm Approach Towards Managing Operations And People?
Tip 1: Briefly describe your style of management
Tip 2: Give weight to your answer by demonstrating your approach
“I employ both the easy-going and firm styles of management. I apply them on different setting and depending on the situation and persons involved. An easy going style offers disciplined employees with the freedom to thrive in their work. Besides, this approach can result in employees’ satisfaction and high productivity for individuals who enjoy the independence it offers. On the other hand, I employ a firm approach to difficult employees as well as those who require constant supervision. In addition, I utilize a firm approach in situations that demand high level of accuracy so as to compel team members to be extra careful.”
3. What Was Most Displeasing About The Management In Your Previous Job?
Here, the interviewer wants to know the aspect of management that you didn’t like during your previous role.
Tip 1: Ensure not to share a negative aspect that may later on work against you
Tip 2: Be honest and describe a real experience
“During my last assignment, I discovered there wasn’t any more scope for career development in the organization after rising to a particular level of management. There was a ‘stagnant point’ where the top management would just retain employees. They did not consider career growth at that level as a way of moving the company forward. To avoid such a scenario, I would propose a training plan that would help to equip the staff with appropriate skills and develop their skills.”
4. What Ways Can You Use To Measure The Success Of Your Team?
Operations managers are involved in assessing the success of their teams and that of projects and processes. Here, the interviewer wants to determine if you can accomplish that.
Tip 1: Provide two or three ways operations managers can use to asses success
Tip 2: Briefly describe each method
I would utilize the following:
- Set a clear baseline
I will begin by setting a level that my team will operate at. That will form a baseline against which I will assess whether the target for every phases are met. The success attained at each level will help me to assess whether a project will be successful.
- Quantify the meaning of success to my team
This concerns determining the level of accomplishment that is regarded successful. So I will set a measurable and quantifiable goal that will enable me to make precise analysis.
- Set metrics for each project
Before the beginning of every project, I will establish metrics that will enable team members to know what is expected at the end of a project. In the end, I will compare the set metrics versus what has been to determine the level of success attained.
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5. If We Hire You As Our Operations Manager, What Will You Do First As A Newly Appointed Manager?
Here, the interviewer is interested in knowing how you will get started as an operations manager.
Tip 1: Describe one action you would undertake after assuming your job
Tip 2: Be brief and precise with your answers
“I will quickly familiarize myself with the mission and vision of the company. This will help me understand why the company exists and how I can contribute towards the achievement of its goals. Besides, that understanding will enable me to align the work plans of my role with the strategic objectives of the company. In doing so, my team and I will contribute positively toward the attainment of the company’s strategic objective.”
6. Tell Us About A Time You Failed As A Manager And What You Learned From That Experience
Here, the interviewer wants to assess if you learned anything from your past mistakes and whether you can avoid the same in future.
Tip 1: Describe an operation or project that didn’t go as planned
Tip 2: Provide the lesson learned
“During my last assignment, I was overseeing the operations of a team that was undertaking a project for one our big clients. Since I was eager to have the work done and please the client, I gave a deadline of two weeks. While I thought the work would be done within that period, it ended up taking three weeks and consequently the client was unhappy. Later on, I learned that I should have been more realistic with my estimates. I realized that a client would not be upset if the right timelines are provided at the beginning. Otherwise, any client would be disappointed when something is not delivered on time yet a promise had been made.”
7. How Can An Operations Manager Monitor Team Performance?
Here, the interviewer seeks to assess if you are capable of monitoring the performance of a team.
Tip 1: Provide ways that can be used to monitor the performance of teams
Tip 2: Describe each of the ways you provide
“Continuous monitoring helps to stay on track and keep delivering high quality services and products. Operations managers can monitor teams by:
- Collecting relevant data
Data can be gathered manually or using software. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) application can help in registering and analysing sales, correspondence, contact calls, online and offline surveys, and follow-ups. Customer feedback and employee surveys are other tools that operations managers can use to collect relevant data. This data is important in monitoring how a company is delivering its services and products.
- Engaging employees
Engaging with your workers is a good way to monitor how operations are going on. This enables the operation manager to see whether employees are doing what is expected. Certain problems that may be hindering optimal performance may be identified by checking how work is being carried out.
- Establishing a robust communication mechanism
Effective communication is very essential when working with a team. It helps to quickly convey what needs to be done to all the team members. One of the ways to ensure information is transmitted effectively is to utilize several channels of communication. Besides, having an established communication mechanism helps managers to inquire about the progress at every phase and also receive feedback. Through that, it is possible to know how employees are performing and whether improvements or changes are needed.”
8. As An Operations Manager, What Will You Do If A Member Of Your Team Is Performing Poorly?
Here, the interviewer wants to assess if you can effectively deal with underperformance issues and in the end have a strong team.
Tip 1: State methods that operations managers can use to improve underperformance
Tip 2: Be brief and precise with your answer
“An employee’s performance has an impact on the organizational performance. Thus I will begin by diagnosing the cause underperformance. I will seek to determine whether the employee is performing poorly due to low motivation or lack of ability. A case of low ability may be associated with engaging in difficult tasks and lack of skills. After identifying the cause of poor performance, I will come up with a way to improve it. With regard to low ability, I will come up with ways to improve it. Clarifying work details and on-job training are ways that an operations manager can use to improve performance of underperforming employees.”
9. How Would You Delegate Tasks And Responsibilities?
Operations managers work with teams and this involves delegating tasks. Here, the interviewer wants to know if you know how to assign work to team members.
Tip 1: Describe how operations managers can delegate duties
Tip 2: Brief describe the steps involved in delegating tasks
“I will use the following steps to delegate tasks:
- Identifying tasks and responsibilities to delegate
This involves identification of the duties and tasks that I want to assign. I will accomplish this by assessing the workload at hand and determining the tasks that can be accomplished by my team members.
- Identifying the best suited person to perform the tasks
A key strength in delegation is to know the abilities of every team member. With a list of tasks that need to be done, I will identify the best person to perform each of them. Checking the skill set of each team member will help me associate them with the tasks they can perform excellently.
- Assign tasks
This step involves the allocation of tasks and responsibilities to team members. In doing this, I will ensure to delegate tasks equitably among team members. I also make sure that everyone understands the assigned work and the timelines for completing the job.”
10. What Roles Do Operations Manager Perform Every Day?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the duties that you are likely to perform if you are hired.
Tip A: Provide and explain a few roles performed by operation managers
Tip B: Be brief and concise with your answer
“The number of tasks an operation manager can perform is mainly determined by the size and industry of the company. In most cases, operation managers oversee the company’s daily operations such as quality assurance, strategic planning, staffing schedules, and professional development. In addition, they manage and resolve issues, and review standard operating procedure (SOP) and operating processes. Their overall duty is to offer support to the company with the best effective operation methods.”
11. What Qualities Should An Operations Manager Possess?
Here, the interviewer wants to know if you are aware of the qualities that a good operations manager should have.
Tip 1: Provide the qualities that operations managers should possess
Tip 2: Be precise with your answers
“Operations managers are mostly predominantly enterprising people. This means that they are generally quite natural leaders thriving at persuading and influencing others. They are conventional, organized and details oriented. The majority of the operation managers prefer working in an organized and controlled environment. Moreover, they have excellent communication skills, leadership qualities, and problem-resolution skills.”
12. Describe The Daily To Day Routine Of Operations Managers?
Here, the interviewer wants to know whether you are well-aware of what operations managers do every day.
Tip 1: Provides the daily activities carried out by an operations manager
Tip 2: Be brief with your answer
“The daily routines of an operation manager include monitoring daily activities in an organization to maximize productivity, profits, and efficiency. Depending on the kind of the business, the operation manager may be required to study business forecast, create budgets, and analyze data regarding finances to control expenses while boosting revenue. Operations managers supervise employees and set objectives and desires, checking their advancement consistently. They also propose and review process improvements and manage operational issues as well.”
13. Differentiate Leadership From Management
Here, the interviewer seek to know your understanding of these two concepts
Tip 1: Define these two concepts
Tip 2: Give weight to your answer by describing each concept
“The key distinction between management and leadership is that leaders have individuals that tail them, while managers have individuals who basically work for them. For any organization to be fruitful, it requires management that can design, organize and arrange its staff, while inspiring and propelling them to perform to their best. A person with both leadership and management skills can be more productive in an organization.”
14. In Five Years’ Time, What Kind Of An Operations Manager Will You Be?
Here, the interviewer seeks to understand your thoughts and ambitions with regard to this role.
Tip 1: Describe where you perceive yourself in five years
Tip 2: Be brief and concise with your answer
“In five years, I want to be regarded as a competent and trustworthy manager who can be entrusted with overseeing the operations of an entire organization. Additionally, I will have the experience to manage many teams and effectively monitor their performance. I will have the ability perform my role effectively in delivering value to the organization.”
15. When Have You Used Your Initiative To Solve A Team Management Issue Or Problem?
Here, the interviewer seeks to assess your capability of initiating thing independently.
Tip 1: Describe an initiative you began to solve a team problem
Tip 2: Be brief and honest with your answer
“During my previous role, I discovered that my team required a better training program to fact tract operations. As a leader for designing training programs, it was my responsibility to come up with the program. So I took designed an effective and easy-to-understand program that incorporated all areas of operation. In the end, the team loved the program and even felt greatly empowered after being trained using the guide.”
16. As An Operations Manager, How Can You Motivate Your Team To Attain The Strategic Objectives?
Here, the interviewer wants to know the strategies that you would use in motivating your team.
Tip 1: Show that you have both interpersonal and leadership styles
Tip 2: Demonstrate your ability to motivate others
“As an operation manager, I will lead by example so that I can demonstrate to my team what they should do. I will put an effort to know and understand every worker while uncovering what each one is passionate about. I will also seek to know how each one of them prefers to be recognized. By offering them the right recognition and tasks that they enjoy doing, they will be motivated and together we will achieve the objectives of the organization.”
17. During Your Previous Assignment, What Frustrating Experience Did You Have During Your Daily Routine And How Did You Address It?
Here, the interviewer wants to know whether you have encountered unpleasing things in management.
Tip 1: Describe an experience that was very frustrating
Tip 2: Be brief and state how you addressed the matter
“During previous role, the management did not give me support and direction. In particular, they provided inadequate money for hiring staff. Working with less staff would have delayed the achievement of departmental targets. But I aggressively engaged the management and persuaded them to change their stand. I came up with a roadmap and detailed proposal through which I managed to convince the management. Thus, they approved the proposal. I got their support and they provided adequate money that allowed me to execute my plan and move things as planned.”
18. Which Extreme Challenge Did You Come Across During Your Last Role And How Did You Solve It?
Here, the interviewer will test your if you have problem-solving skills and whether you can deal with unpredicted events in a professional manner.
Tip 1: Describe a major challenge you have experienced in your work
Tip 2: Provide the solution you applied to overcome the challenge
“During my last assignment, I experienced problems with the operations of the process call center. There were a lot of complains from most of our customers. After probing the matter, I discovered the center had few staff and we couldn’t meet most of our service-level agreements (SLA). I addressed the issue by coaching and training staff, rearranging the staff roster, and assigning roles based on a person’s skillset. This improved productivity and helped to solve the problem completely.”
19. Some Employees Stick To Old Procedures And Become Very Resistant To Change. How Would You Inspire Such People To Adopt Change?
Through this question, the interviewer is seeking to understand whether you have the ability to implement change.
Tip 1: Describe how you can motivate employees to adopt change
Tip 2: Be brief with your answer and include all important details
“The first thing I will do is to understand the reasons why staff opt for their old procedures over the new ones. I will then explain my rationale for the new procedures and provide the basic training that is required for them to adapt and excel in the new way of doing things. Moreover, I will motivate them by developing a key performance indicator (KPI) for identifying those that have changed successfully. I will also provide a reward to the changed employees.”
20. Which Area Of This Role Do You Consider Most Challenging And How Can You Address It?
Here, the interviewer is interested in knowing whether you can handle challenges at work.
Tip 1: Describe a context that operations managers find challenging
Tip 2: Offer a solution that you can apply to overcome the challenge
Sample Answer “I anticipate the challenge of handling dishonest employees. While during the hiring process one does not expect an individual to become dishonest, this is not always the case. Some workers end up becoming deceitful and corrupt with actions such as taking the company’s supplies or cash. To address that, I would ensure that every employee understands the acceptable behavior and acts that are against the company’s policy. I would also ensure that workers understand the consequence of dishonesty.”
These are but a few interview questions for operations manager that you need to prepare yourself before attending an interview. Hopefully these operations management interview questions will help you land your next dream job.