- How does this guide fit into the larger hiring process
- How to interview Biz Ops candidates
- How to use a modeling test to assess analytical skills of Biz Ops candidates
- What to look for in Biz Ops candidates
- How to interview Biz Ops candidates for relevant experience
- How to interview Biz Ops candidates for relevant skills
OUR RESEARCH PROCESS
We developed this guide together with a Biz Ops veteran from LinkedIn and HBS.
IF YOU REMEMBER NOTHING ELSE
- Ask every Biz Ops hire our set of questions to understand their past experience and how they solve problems.
- Be consistent: ask the same questions to all candidates.
- Be objective: use the same criteria for all candidates.
- These questions are not as useful for evaluating people and organizational management skills of people in executive positions such as COO or VP.
Our template assignment:
Guidelines for candidate responses
- Aim to test key Biz Ops skills. The goal of this case is to test the candidate's ability to forecast a business or product based on its underlying drivers, seasonality, and past product changes.
- Calculate key drivers. The should calculate the key drivers of the underlying data - conversion rate, and $ per conversion.
- Analyze monthly growth. The candidate should determine what growth rate they'll use. They should choose month over month growth in order to preserve seasonal fluctuations throughout the year.
- Define base case. The candidate should clarify the base year that they're using for growth rate assumptions. Ideally this will be an average of all prior periods, but an acceptable answer is also the most recent period for recency.
- Correct for exceptional events. The candidate should look for one-time events in the past and normalize in their forecast. The periods where this is required are highlighted in the forecast below.
- Forecast drivers individually and estimate revenue. Once growth has been normalized and drivers have been calculated, the candidate should forecast each individual driver and end with a revenue curve similar to the chart below.
- Intuit analysis with graphs. While not necessary, charting can help visualize the data and identify large one-time events. If the candidate does not chart the data automatically, you can suggest that they do so.
What you’re looking for:
- Intuition: they should calculate the underlying drivers without having been told to so or without asking. Same goes for preserving seasonality.
- Structured approach: they should clearly outline why they chose these drivers and why they chose certain growth rates
- Sense checking: they should take a high level look at their final forecast to make sure it's not significantly higher / lower than prior periods. This demonstrates an ability to not only get in the weeds, but also look top down.
- Attention to detail: there should be no mistakes in the model from a technical / mathematical perspective. They should check their work without being asked to.
- Body language: are they enjoying this process? what happens when they get stuck and how do they react?
- Ability to take feedback: as you guide them along the way, how do they react to feedback? are they defensive or do they work together with you as a team?
We’re trying to understand whether candidates will succeed as a Biz Ops employee in our business, using the questions below. The specific traits we want to uncover, those that make a Biz Ops hire successful, include:
- Brevity and clarity: Biz Ops leaders need to be able to take large amounts of data, distill key insights, and deliver those insights in a way that is easy to understand by a wide range of people.
- Structured thinking: A structured approach to problem solving is core to success on the job. Candidates should clearly articulate the how and the why of an experience or their approach to a case, in addition to the what.
- Leadership ability: Biz Ops requires cross-functional leadership, including the ability to adapt communication to fit many teams and situations . You want to hire employees who have proven their ability to earn respect in their prior experience .
- Technical acumen (and enjoyment): Your team will need to learn new technical skills, and to communicate with highly technical teams. They must also want to learn new skills and enjoy digging into business data.
- Grit and resilience: Leading cross functional teams and rapid experimentation can be challenging. You want to hire employees who show an ability to push through challenging problems. How they respond when pushed and prodded, especially in the context of case questions where you question their assumptions, will be key. They’ll need to remain cool under pressure, and be willing to visit, then revisit their assumptions while keeping the primary goal in mind.
The questions below aim to assess:
- Overall fit with your organization
- Ability to learn new skills
- Ability to lead in an unstructured, cross-functional environment
- How the Biz Ops role aligns with the candidate’s expectations and personal / professional goals
Each of these factors will be critical in the success of a Biz Ops employee.
Structured thinking is just as important as nailing the “right” answer. The questions below are representative of what Biz Ops employees do every single day. Without a structured, calm approach, will fail at the job. Note that we have not included more typical consulting or investment banking type questions that focus on some arbitrary problem or how many ping pong balls fit inside a 747. The goal of these case questions is highly practical - does the candidate give a strong indication that they can succeed under pressure by performing the exact same tasks that they will on the job.