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Handbook

Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.

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Contents

Operations Roles

How to recruit a graduate for a role in Operations

Candidate profile:

A committed and proactive individual with strong organisational and analytical skills. Working with both clients and customers demands good communication and people skills – interpersonal relationships and the ability to communicate and work effectively as part of a team and vital to employees in Operational roles.

The role also demands strong organisational and analytical skills; often entailing the delivery of a product, an ideal candidate should be dynamic and have good attention to detail.  

As such, a Bachelor’s degree in a subject area of maths or science is beneficial as it shows the candidate has a good grasp of analysing data. If the candidate has experience in logistics or a startup business, a degree is not always necessary.

Top skills:

  1. Problem-solving: thinking of creative solutions for problems
  2. Organisation: being able to use your time and energy effectively in order to meet deadlines
  3. Interpersonal: the ability to get along with others in order to complete tasks
  4. Logistics: understanding the elements of the supply-chain and how operations work
  5. Analytical: being able to evaluate solutions

Non-office experience:

  • Extra-curricular activities such as sports, volunteering or music are a good sign as they show organisational skills through the candidate’s ability to juggle work and social commitments. Skills like these are also a great indicator that an individual is self-disciplined and dedicated.
  • Experience holding some degree of responsibility would also be beneficial. 

Office experience:

  • Professional work experience, whether it be an internship or placement, is beneficial as it is an indication that the candidate has the necessary business skills required for an operational role.
  • Someone who has set up their own business or who has experience in a startup will have an excellent knowledge of the logistics and operations behind a company and how it works.
  • Work experience in a client-oriented field is also a good sign that a candidate has the skills necessary for a role in this sector- particularly if they’ve been promoted to a role of increased responsibility.

Green flag

  • A candidate with previous experience in Operations and Logistics, particularly in a startup environment.
  • Strong numerical skills and experience in analysing and dealing with data.
  • A candidate who is confident and is willing to lead a team and delegate tasks to individuals to improve efficiency within a team.

Red flag

  • A quiet and reserved candidate who lacks the communication skills needed to work in an operational role.
  • A quiet and reserved candidate who lacks the communication skills needed to work in an operational role.
  • Someone who is particularly poor or lacks skills in time-management and organisation.

Pre-interview:

  • Depending on the exact specifications of the role, it might be a good idea to set a test before the face-to-face interview to assess the candidate’s maths and Excel skills. This can be sent via a link after initial phone interview, consisting of questions relating to data on a spreadsheet in an allocated time frame.

At interview:

  • Really emphasise the challenges of the role and see how the candidate reacts. If it enthuses them then that’s a great sign, if they seem unsure and intimidated by this, this probably isn’t the candidate you’re looking for.
  • Test the candidate’s ability to respond to new information and data – allowing a deeper assessment of how they think and their ability to be proactive and think originally, responding to a potential issue they may come across in their capacity in the role.
  • It can be a good idea to ask the candidate to give an example of when they have worked towards and met multiple tight deadlines and ask how they managed their time to succeed.

Employee Expectations

As a graduate the expected starting salary in operations can be around £18,000-£25,000.  A graduate might expect to start off as an associate or trainee but can look to move up to an operations manager in time. The skills gained might provide opportunity to move to other areas within the business.

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