online business manager interview questions

Online Business Manager Interview Questions You Need to Ask

Are you ready to hire an OBM? These online business manager interview questions will ensure you get the right fit.

So much to do, so little time.

Entrepreneurship is your passion but trying to handle everything alone has become overwhelming. You need help!

The pressure chamber that you’ve enclosed yourself in is crushing you, forcing you to gasp for air. Can you find someone who can save you?

Here’s a thought. The right online business manager acts as your right-hand; the Alfred to your Batman. He or she saves you from being crushed by this pressure chamber. It takes great skill to be an effective online business manager. This is in part because managing teams is a critical component of the role. Hire the wrong person and you can end up in a nightmare instead of a fairytale.  Focus on the importance of online business manager interview questions when interviewing potential online business manager candidates. 

You need an online business manager who doesn’t only view the position as a job. You'll want to look for someone with qualities focused on passion, hard work, innovation, and a commitment to achieving the company’s vision. It’s less about having an MBA and more about working with you to help business growth.

Thus, you don't want to ask just any questions in the interview. You'll want to know the right online business manager interview questions. It may be tempting to simply look at a resume and some portfolio work and say, “This is awesome! You’re hired!” In fact, this is often the technique used by entrepreneurs who hire remote workers. The real danger is that you could spend a lot of money on someone you shouldn’t have hired in the first place.

Interview questions help you learn more about who the person is and whether he or she is the right fit for your team.

We can group interview questions for online business managers into three categories:

  • Get to Know You Questions
  • Operational Questions
  • Situational Questions

The right online business manager interview questions

It’s important to get to know each candidate without diving too deep into personal details. Your goal is to learn more about this person’s motivation and experience level. You can also find out the value he or she can bring to the organization.

What inspired you to become an online business manager? What do you like about the job?

It’s good to start the interview with this question. It helps you identify the candidate’s motivation for pursuing this career path. A candidate who has a passion for this type of work is more likely to push through challenges that come with the job.  On the flip side, a candidate who is motivated by a paycheck will give the bare minimum required to get the job done.

How long have you been an online business manager? What is the greatest lesson that you have learned through your experience?

Experience is only beneficial if the person has learned from it. Sometimes, someone with no experience can be better than someone who has experience. That's because the former is more trainable than the latter. Identifying if the candidate has experience is helpful. but the real benefit is pinpointing how much this person has learned from experience.

Do you consider yourself to be a leader? What would you say is your strongest leadership quality?

Your online business manager will be leading teams. When you allow your online business manager to make decisions on your behalf, you no longer serve as the bottleneck in the process. For this reason, trust is crucial.  If you understand someone's strongest leadership quality, you will better understand their strengths. It can even help identify a preferred leadership style.

What is the greatest challenge that you have faced leading teams? How did you overcome this challenge?

This question shines a spotlight on how this candidate leads. You don’t want someone whose leadership style is completely different from yours. But, you also need someone whose strengths complement your weaknesses. This question helps you determine whether this candidate can strike that delicate balance.

How have you helped another organization achieve its vision?

This question also relates to assessing the candidate’s level of experience. It helps you know whether someone has taken the time to truly understand the goals of a business.  You may also learn a little about someone's problem-solving abilities. Or discover some of their willingness to take initiative.

What tasks or areas of business are you most equipped to handle?

People work best in their areas of strength. You want your online business manager to have a good knowledge of all areas of your business. She should be able to adapt quickly and help you with anything at a moment’s notice. But, this approach can become draining and demotivating. 

Pro Tip

A good OBM will focus on a specific area while project managing areas outside of their zone of genius.

Operational Questions

These questions look closely at the candidate’s work style and constraints. This section gives you insight into if someone's preferences or constraints will fit in with your business structure.

Tell me about a recent experience learning a new online tool or system?

Your company may use specific programs unique to your business. Some online business managers will prefer to working with their own programs. How they answer this question will help you find out if they are willing and able to learn your systems.

Remember, someone doesn't need to be a certified expert in your systems or tools to do their job. Unless that job requires high levels of customization. Then you might be looking for a specialist rather than an online business manager.

Download our Ultimate Guide to Delegating for More Tips & Tools on How to Delegate as a Solopreneur

What do you understand about the company’s vision, mission, and goals?

All team members should understand what the company stands for and where it’s going. Someone who hasn’t taken the time to do some basic research into your business may not care about more than just a job. You want someone who is deeply interested in your business and wants to help it grow.

This question may also help you find out how willing a person is to go above and beyond the expected. If they've taken the time, before an interview, they will put in that same amount of time AFTER the interview.

What timezone are you in and what hours are you available?

Time zones are tricky when hiring remote workers. It isn't crucial that all your freelancers be in the same time zone. But having your online business manager 14 hours ahead can make it impossible to manage the daily details of your business.

Do you only accept calls or emails at specific times?

It’s important to be respectful of the communication preferences of team members. For instance, some people may be okay with random calls to talk business throughout the day. But others may prefer a text message to find out if now is a good time to talk. It’s important to know these things and make sure it works with your style.

What communication channels do you use?

There are a lot of communication methods these days.

  • What’s App
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Slack
  • Email
  • etc...

Pro Tip

It's important that how you prefer to communicate works for the person you hire and vice versa.

online business managerSituational Questions

These questions suggest scenarios and ask the individual to offer solutions on the spot. They assess the candidate’s problem-solving skills.

  • You are managing a team of writers for a content marketing project. One of the writers is constantly missing deadlines but produces a good quality piece. How would you motivate the writer to meet her deadlines so that the project’s progress isn’t hampered?

This question will help you determine the person's interpersonal skills. You'll also learn a little more about how he or she would think as a leader. You can change the question to reflect a specific situation in your business. The goal is to determine how this person would deal with a situation that affects the team’s workflow.

  • You manage a project that has a tight deadline using a limited budget. How would you ensure that the project is effectively executed despite these constraints?

The candidate’s problem-solving skills are on full display here. You’ll quickly identify if the candidate has experienced this challenge before. You'll also get a sense of his or her quick thinking abilities.

  • The business’s website crashes for several hours. I am on a long-distance flight and, therefore, unreachable. The customer service manager calls you to address the issue but it’s 1 am in your local time. How would you handle this situation?

Your online business manager should always be available should the need arise. You don’t want someone who closes off from the rest of the world and is unavailable during crisis moments. This fact highlights the importance of ensuring that the candidate is in the right time zone. A major time difference decreases availability.

  • You disagree with something I’ve said. How would you express your opinion?

You don’t want someone who’s a “Yes” man. But, you also don’t want someone who is abrasive and challenges everything you say. A good online business manager will be strong enough to respectfully challenge your opinion when he or he is confident that there is a better way. Hiding in a corner or talking behind your back doesn’t solve any issues and only causes more harm than good.

The Virtual A Team Can Help You Find an Online Business Manager

Virtual A Team has extensive experience working with teams for our clients. We provide online business managers who have the knowledge and expertise you need. Contact us today so that we can get you started today.

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