Interview Prep: Recruiting Operations Manager

A guide to interviewing for a Recruiting Operations Manager role.

BY: Jeremy Lyons

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


About Recruiting Operations

Recruiting Operations is the backbone of any Recruiting organization. While responsibilities for the group can vary depending on the company and overall recruiting team structure, the areas that Recruiting Operations are typically responsible for cover; Data, Programs, Operations, & Strategy.

For more about Recruiting Operations read our intro guide.

One of the key goals of a Recruiting Operations Manager is to design an interview process that runs smoothly for candidates.  Therefore it can feel awkward when the tables are turned, and you are now the candidate.  So keep in mind the following

Understanding the Role

As a Recruiting Operations Manager (ROM) you are essentially the architect for how the entire Recruiting Team functions and stays connected across the different areas of the team. Your responsibilities will touch and impact every functional area of the Recruiting Team. A few examples:

  • Data –  Building dashboards, Generating Reports, Analytics
  • Programs – (e.g., interview skills training and referral/internal mobility)
  • Operations – (e.g., interview coordination, candidate experience, systems tools)
  • Strategy – (e.g., capacity/headcount planning)

In addition to the above, depending on company size and role type you will have to consider how you would build/structure your team as a people manager. As an IC, considerations include what your priorities will be given bandwidth and resources for purchasing tools. 


Keys to a Successful Interview

One of the key goals of a Recruiting Operations Manager is to design an interview process that runs smoothly for candidates. Therefore it can feel awkward when the tables are turned, and you are now the candidate.  


Ask Clarifying Questions 

Every company isn’t structured the same and might use words differently.  For example, you might group Recruiting Coordinator career development under Operations but they have it under Programs.  To ensure you and your interviewer are on the same page, make sure you ask clarifying questions. 


Be Succinct 

Because of the breadth of the role, it is very easy to ramble or jump into the tiny details.  If you struggle with this, interview prep and taking a breath before answering will be your best friend.  Before the interview, go through the job description, pulling out bullet points on which you can build stories using the STAR or PAR methods.  If it is during the interview, pause to gather your thoughts, consider how you would group it (Data, Programs, Operations, and Strategy), then respond. 


Be Prepared to Answer the Question Behind the Question

You get the question, “Tell me about a time when you had to work defining KPIs.”  Going back to the Ask Clarifying Questions bullet, if Data is grouped under Programs, you need to address how you structured a program, not just the KPIs you landed on.


This is Not Your Process

The quote “Doctors make the worst patients” can apply to Recruiting Operations Manager interviewing since all RecOps Managers have worked to optimize interviews throughout their careers. You may have strong opinions about how some parts should be done. However, now is not the time to share these suggestions out loud. Instead, keep notes on their process.  If you take the job, you will then have a head start on fixing the problems you identified for early wins. If you don’t, you can always offer to share your recommendations.


Interview Prep is a OneReq content series designed to support community members pursuing opportunities in talent acquisition. 

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