A business manager is in charge of various parts of a business, from hiring staff to ensuring that performance and productivity goals are being met.
A good business manager will ensure that everyday operations are completed properly, on time, and within budgetary constraints to improve processes and profits.
For a recruitment team, finding the right person to be a business manager means looking for someone that can lead people, manage resources like materials and finances, and can set targets for different departments
A great business manager recognizes opportunities for growth and can encourage other employees to work more effectively and efficiently to meet their objectives.
Looking for someone to lead and oversee operations in a company means finding someone with specific skills and abilities, and in this article, we will explore what those might look like, what the usual tasks of a business manager are, and how you can discover them within your talent pool.
We will focus on the specific pre-employment screening tests that you could use to ensure the candidates you take through the recruitment process have the inherent skills and competencies to be successful in the role.
What should a business manager be able to do?
A business manager needs to be able to wear many hats to be successful, and this will look different for different businesses.
Typically, a business manager has general oversight of the way a company operates, with particular attention paid to things like improving process, ensuring performance levels are high, and increasing profits.
The business manager needs to direct and coordinate all the activities of the business in relation to production, including pricing, sales and distribution. They also need to ensure that all administrative activities are completed in relation to the products and services that are provided.
The business manager will be responsible for staffing, from interviewing applicants to setting up staff working schedules and rotas, assigning the duties that each employee will need to complete on a daily basis.
The business manager will work with staff to set objectives and goals, monitoring performance and ensuring that all employees are productive.
Working with board members and staff members, the business manager will establish overall goals for the business as well as at a departmental level.
In some cases, the business manager will work directly on financial activities, such as setting budgets to fund operations. They will need to review financial statements and activity reports to ensure that goals are being achieved and that all departments are working productively, and they may need to use this information to identify areas where costs should be reduced.
In businesses where physical products are manufactured and sold, the business manager will have to effectively manage the goods in and goods out process to ensure that all costs are reduced without affecting productivity.
Business managers might also be responsible for environmental awareness programs, instigating programs for sustainability, such as effective waste management, recycling, and conservation.
Skills to look for in a business manager
Finding a good business manager applicant often means looking beyond their qualifications and into the skills that they have acquired through previous experience.
These skills are important for a business manager because a candidate with these skills is more likely to be successful and can bring their skills to the role.
CRM/ Marketing/ Accounting/ Stock management software: whether your business uses bespoke software packages or more widely available programs, a business manager should be able to work with different programs and software related to the work that they need to complete.
Monitoring and system analysis: to understand how to improve productivity and performance, the business manager needs to be skilled at both monitoring staff and processes as well as analyzing the current systems that are in place.
Critical Thinking, judgment, and decision making: these are key skills for a business manager, as they will often need to deal with problems and issues quickly and resolutely. A candidate with critical thinking skills is able to use their judgment to make the most effective decisions.
Negotiation and persuasion: working with other people and leading them to make necessary changes, supporting them to become more productive, and helping them to improve, get promoted, or just be efficient is something that requires particular leadership skills - namely persuasion and negotiation. This is also important when dealing with customers and suppliers as well.
Management of personnel, material, and financial resources: as previously mentioned, a business manager has a lot to think about - and they need to be skilled at managing different areas of the business as resources to make the most efficient and practical decisions.
Useful abilities for a business manager
There are certain skills that it is difficult to assess using typical methods, and these include the soft skills that are really important for success in a role. These abilities are not something that a candidate can get a qualification in, but they are important to find in a candidate nonetheless.
Oral comprehension and expression: a business manager needs to understand what other people are saying to them, and be able to speak to others to be understood.
Written comprehension and expression: monitoring and evaluating performance means lots of reading, and creating reports - so a business manager must have the ability to read and understand written information as well as create their own written reports when needed.
Deductive and inductive reasoning: both of these abilities come under the 'logical thinking' umbrella, and the ability to reason using logic to make good decisions helps a business manager solve problems more efficiently.
Selective attention: with so much happening that a business manager has to be responsible for, it is important that they have the ability to focus on the current situation rather than get distracted by other things that are happening.
Problem sensitivity: a business manager needs to have the ability to be sensitive to problems that could occur.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a business manager?
Soft skills are the inherent abilities that a candidate might have, which are important for many different types of roles. For a business manager, the soft skills that are most important are things like interpersonal skills, communication, and leadership.
Leadership: leaders need a specific set of skills that ensure that they are able to get things done, support their direct reports, and encourage more productivity. The leadership skills test hones in on these abilities in work-based situations.
Decision making: it is often up to the business manager to make important decisions, and as a soft skill decision making is something that is really important when you are looking for the best candidate for the role.
Interpersonal: interpersonal skills demonstrate how a candidate works with other people, how they communicate, and how they work through problems in a team situation. Interpersonal skills dictate how well a candidate can 'get on' with other staff members.
Time management: with so many tasks at hand, effective task management is essential for a business manager. In this assessment, the candidate can demonstrate how they handle multiple deadlines and different projects that need to be completed.
Accountability: the best business managers and leaders are able to make decisions and hold themselves accountable for the consequences of those decisions - both positive and negative.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a business manager?
Technical skills, like specific software or programs, can depend entirely on what systems are already in place in the business - but in many cases, the skills a candidate has in one program can be transferred to another that is similar.
Aptitudes are also transferable skills, and you will want to test candidates in their aptitudes to ensure that they have the required level of competency to be successful in the role.
Salesforce: salesforce is a well-known and widely used software suite that can effectively manage the sales activity of a business, so a business manager that can use this software will be comfortable navigating it (and others that are similar).
Verbal reasoning: reading, understanding, and analyzing written information is essential to a business manager role. A candidate needs to be able to demonstrate that they are comfortable parsing details and information in complicated business documents.
Logical reasoning: a business manager candidate needs to be able to make decisions using logical reasoning; taking unfamiliar information and applying logical rules to get to a simple and reasoned conclusion.
Numerical reasoning: when dealing with financial information, a business manager needs to feel comfortable and confident in completing different calculations and handling numbers in various formats, from accounting reports to tables and graphs.
Error checking: in the business manager role, a lot of detail is often needed in reports that are created to support decisions. The error checking test is a great way to assess whether a candidate has the right eye for detail.
Our recommended test battery for a business manager
Of course, in the application process for a business manager role, using all the tests mentioned above would be unwieldy for the recruitment team and rather off-putting for the applicant, so below is the test battery we would suggest using instead.
Leadership: in the leadership assessment, the candidate is provided with different work-based scenarios that are fictional yet realistic. Each scenario presents a problem that needs to be solved, and the candidate must choose the best course of action to take to solve the problem effectively using their leadership skills.
Verbal reasoning: in the verbal reasoning assessment, the candidate is presented with questions based on a passage of text. The answers are presented in multiple-choice format, and the candidate must quickly read, understand, and analyze the written information to find the correct answer.
Logical reasoning: in the logical reasoning assessment, each question is based on a series of shapes or images, with an item missing. The shapes or images are in a sequence. To find the correct missing item from the multiple choice options available, the candidate must find the logical pattern or rule that governs the sequence.
For a more in-depth pre-employment assessment, the operations manager job knowledge test asks questions that are based on specific job-related areas of knowledge and skills.