What to consider when hiring a General or Operations Manager
By Teegan Elliott, Consultant – Creative and Design
In recent conversations with clients, everyone’s been chatting about how they’re in desperate need of an operations/studio or general manager.
I joined Creative Natives two months back, and in that time, I’ve dived into three different creative services operations roles for businesses big and small. It turns out, operations is a shape-shifter, different in every organisation and no two roles are the same.
So if you’re thinking about hiring for this role, keep reading – we’ve put together some handy tips and checklists to make sure you nail that hire.
Understand the primary function of the role
First off, when you’re hiring, wrap your head around what this role will do for you personally and your business. Tailor it to your individual needs and the skills missing in your leadership team.
Generally, it boils down to three things:
- People – think people and culture management and/or recruitment
- Process – studio, traffic, and managing resources.
- New business – the name says it all.
Map out your non-negotiables and interview process
We’ve got a pre-briefing checklist and a rundown of what you should be thinking about during this whole shebang.
- Look at what your business needs and narrow down the focus. Don’t go spreading the job thin – it will be counterproductive.
- Know where you fall short in leadership, whether it’s dealing with people or handling processes. Hand that over so you can rock your strengths.
- Set your expectations straight. Make sure your vision vibes with the expectations of the role.
- Figure out how you’ll compose the interviews. I’d say, plan 2-3 sit-downs, get a mix of seniors and juniors to meet the candidate. Have them talk about their first thirty and sixty days in the job to see if your visions align. They might even exceed expectations in this part!
Things to be cautious of:
- The market is full of incredible talent right now. Expect a lot of interest and don’t rush the search.
- Whilst this role is operational, the person’s initiatives and actions need to align with strategy and ultimately feed into increased bottom line/revenue. Make sure you enquire into their commercial mindset.
- Don’t expect miracles overnight. Patience is your new best friend.
- Lay your business flaws on the table and chat it out during the first few conversations. If they’re the right fit, they’ll fix things up and genuinely be excited to do it.
- Decide what you’re cool with letting go of as the boss. Be ready to loosen the reins a bit.
- Realise that change is a wild ride, especially in jobs and industries. Patience, round two.
In my recent stint in hiring for these roles, I’ve noticed candidates often talk a big game, saying they can handle the job, but reality hits differently. So, dig deep, ask the real questions and dive into how they tackle problems. Get a feel for their personality and how they talk – imagine them fitting right into your team. This hire will be a culture shaper for your business.
It’s not just about ticking skill boxes; you need someone whose values and vibe align with yours. Check if they’re the kind of person who’ll challenge you and push you to be a better leader. You’re looking for more than just a yes-person; you want someone who can steer your business in the right direction and have fun while doing it.
So, if you’re looking to make this hire, keep this handy checklist up your sleeve before you begin the process. If you’re then ready and would like to partner with us to help find this person we’re here to help! We believe those with resource/traffic/client service and studio management are best fit to transition into operations.