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5 Operational Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

Describe the major tasks you have handled daily as an operational manager.

A:

The candidate should enumerate tasks common to the position to show their knowledge of the day-to-day expectations of your company. Since the operational manager position includes a number of tasks, depending on the day, applicants have many options. Top choices include anything from preparing program budgets and facilities reservations to managing inventory control and logistics. You will gain a sense of the applicant's overall experience. What to look for in an answer:

  • Working knowledge of everyday tasks
  • Examples of completing major tasks
  • Experience with employee management and job interviews
Example:

"In my previous position, I supervised five employees, prepared the line-item budgets for three federally funded programs, and handled the planning and logistics for all of the organization's convention booths and meetings. This included representing the organization publicly and presenting on its programs and development."

Q:

What skills do you possess that are crucial to the position of operational manager?

A:

This question provides insight into their critical thinking by asking them to pick apart the core skills necessary to the position. This question provides you with the knowledge of the candidate's priorities on the job and whether they fit with your company's mission. The potential employee should be able to easily talk about their skills and how they use them. What to look for in an answer:

  • Problem-solving and communication skills
  • Ability to lead and motivate a team
  • Confidence in oneself
Example:

"I've developed my leadership and communication skills so that I can effectively manage employees at various levels. I'm a clear communicator who effectively presents expectations and follows up to ensure they are met."

Q:

What is your management procedure with employees in your past positions as operational manager?

A:

This question tells you the extent of the applicant's experience managing employees. While each organization varies, it is generally the operational manager who enforces office regulations, handles employee disciplinary matters and diffuses employee conflicts. They document employee grievances and work with the human resources department to manage employees. They should have at least one year of employee management experience and a comfortable working relationship with human resources. What to look for in an answer:

  • Regulation development and enforcement experience
  • Ability to mentor and discipline employees in a positive manner
  • Examples of managing employee grievances
Example:

"My past experience includes day-to-day management of employees, developing and enforcing office regulations, and working with HR to handle employee conflicts and grievances, including sexual harassment issues. Other tasks included scheduling, authorizing time off and authorizing travel claims."

Q:

What experience do you have representing your past organizations at meetings and conferences?

A:

Since it is often the operational manager who communicates the organizations standing at conferences and meetings, you need to ascertain their experience in this capacity. If they have not previously served as an operational manager, they may have presented to conferences and meetings as a program representative. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to plan sessions and put together PowerPoint presentations
  • Public speaking and public relations experience
  • Knowledge of how to design and present posters
Example:

"Working with our public relations department, I represented my previous employer at three national conferences per year and continuously within our organization. I communicated the growth and expansion of the firm and its current projects."

Q:

Describe your budget making and budget managing experience.

A:

Operational managers may handle the budget planning, or they may work with the finance department to develop them. Their answer should show that they can effectively track expenses and craft fiscal plans and budget forecasts for your company. In non-profit or academic settings, this position deals with grant writing, and with for-profit organizations, it deals with obtaining loans for the firm. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience communicating with liaisons or program directors
  • Ability to track grant expenses and monitor and approve departmental payroll
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Example:

"In my last two positions, I crafted line-item budgets for state and federal grant applications. I managed one state grant and four federal grants, including writing the budget update reports and milestone summaries. Using national databases, I searched for potential grant opportunities for the organizations."

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