Hiring Plan: Recruiting Operations Manager

A framework for recruiting leaders hiring for a Recruiting Operations Manager role and above.

BY: Jeremy Lyons

Jeremy Lyons is a Talent Acquisition/Recruiting Operations Leader. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

This article is a framework that can be used by Talent Leaders to plan and execute the hiring of a RecOps Manager properly.  It will provide a suggested interview structure, sample questions, and tips and tricks for creating an interview process.  The main focus will be on TA/RecOps Manager roles and above.

Understanding the Role

Unlike Recruiting functions such as Technical or G&A Recruiting, the fundamental goal of  Talent Acquisition/Recruiting Operations (TA/RecOps) isn’t just one thing. It is a function that encompasses data, program/project management, systems/tools, processes/change management, enablement/training, operations/coordination, and strategy. In some cases, it might also involve recruiting and sourcing. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is, and it is easy to see how Talent Leaders, Recruiters, and folks in the business can be confused especially since the role looks different at every company.

Plan & Prep


Define Your Recruiting Operations Philosophy

The easiest way to do this is to write a Needs/Wants List.  TA/RecOps leaders each bring a different element to the table, so knowing what you need versus what you want is essential.  Are you looking for a builder, operator, or thinker?  If you define it early and then stick to your list, you won’t get distracted when a shiny object comes by. Understanding what you need will help you determine which area of RecOps you prioritize in your ideal candidate.

Understand the Four Pillars of Recruiting Operations 

TA/RecOps can generally be broken down into four pillars.   

  • Data (e.g. dashboard building, reporting)
  • Programs (e.g. University, Internal Mobility, Interview Training)
  • Operations (e.g. Coordination and Systems)
  • Strategy (e.g. hiring goals, KPIs, budget)

To understand what type of TA/RecOps leader you are looking for, you need to understand each pillar and how it fits into both short and long-term goals.

Candidate Profiles

What is the background of the individual I want to bring in? Former recruiters and former coordinators may approach data, tools, and processes differently.  Not to say one side is more right, but you want to ensure their approach aligns with your current and future priorities.

Internal vs External Hire

An outside TA/RecOps leader can bring in a different set of knowledge; however, it can’t be overlooked that you might have someone available internally on your team.  The benefits are they know the players, likely have internal credibility, understand your company, and show your commitment to providing growth opportunities.  

Talk about Tools

TA/RecOps people are scrappy, optimize for efficiency, and are used to doing more with less.  If you have a budget for tools or are implementing new ones, let the TA/RecOps candidate know because they might be able to offer a perspective that hasn’t been considered internally.  If you have an existing stack, let them know as well.

Borrow from CSM and PM Interviews

There are a ton of parallels between Customer Success Management and Product Management in TA/RecOps.  These roles can provide an excellent blueprint for structuring and conducting interviews for your TA/RecOps opening.

Recruiting Tools

TA/RecOps people are scrappy, optimize for efficiency, and are used to doing more with less.  If you have a budget for tools or are implementing new ones, let the TA/RecOps candidate know because they might be able to offer a perspective that hasn’t been considered internally. If you have an existing stack, let them know as well.

Borrow from CSM and PM Interviews

There are a ton of parallels between Customer Success Management and Product Management in TA/RecOps. These roles can provide an excellent blueprint for structuring and conducting interviews for your TA/RecOps opening.

Interview Plan

Example Interview Structure

  • Intro Call (30-45 minutes) – Cover the four pillars (Data, Programs, Operations and Strategy).
  • Hiring Manager Call (45 minutes) – Cover the current situation the team is in transparently and honestly.
  • Onsite (3-4 Hours Total) – Before people jump at the amount of time suggested, hear me out.  This is an opportunity for the TA/RecOps person to meet the stakeholders they will work closely with daily and see how they work.  Two hours of the interview could be divided into 30-45 minute interviews with individuals from the HRIS, FP&A, Legal, and People Analytics teams.  The rest of the time can be used to whiteboard their approach to a specific situation or project.  For example, “We need to roll out pay transparency on all our JDs.  Walk me through how you would approach this goal” or “You wake up to find the ATS has crashed.  Walk me through how you would triage the situation?”  By doing this, you will see how they would go about delegating, bringing people into the conversation, and likely how everything would get done.


Example Interview Questions

Because TA/RecOps breaks down into four pillars, structuring interview questions and grouping them correctly is straightforward. Here are a few examples:

[Data] Tell me about the reporting and typical metrics you have used in your previous companies.  Have you had to create/define KPIs and if so how did you arrive at those and present them to the teams?

[Programs] Tell about the programs you oversaw.  What sorts of issues did you run into and how did you resolve them?

[Operations] Tell me about a time when you had to implement a new system, whether that is an ATS or other tool.  Tell me about a time when you had to coach and mentor your coordination team.

[Strategy ] Tell me how your approach to enablement and trainings.  How do you choose to keep all your information organized?  What tools do you use to share this information?  Tell me about how you prioritize your roadmap.


Hiring Plan is a series that provides frameworks and templates for use when recruiting specific roles.  

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