What Does a Director of Operations Do?

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November 10, 2022Recruiting Executive Search

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Many companies use their Director of Operations (DOO) to keep operations running as smoothly as possible — but what does that really mean?

This lucrative role has many business-critical responsibilities, and the right candidate will need extensive significant problem-solving skills and in-depth management experience. As a result, you’ll want to make sure you hire the best person for the job. 

However, when you handle the hiring process yourself, knowing exactly which candidate to choose can be difficult. Before you choose a new DOO, you need a good understanding of the role. Below, we'll highlight everything you need to know before hiring a DOO.

 

What Does a Director of Operations Do?

In a sense, you can think of the DOO as a unifier. Their primary role is to oversee day-to-day operations within an organization — which often means working across departments to make sure that goals are met, team members can collaborate, and everything is running smoothly.

It also means coordinating with senior leadership to develop and improve operational plans. In a nonprofit organization, this can mean working with the executive director or board of directors to convey their vision throughout the organization’s daily activities.

 

Key Roles and Responsibilities of a DOO

A DOO has several key roles and responsibilities. These include:

  • Supervising team members while making sure everyone is following company policies
  • Working with senior management to set goals and make key decisions on operational activities
  • Planning and monitoring day-to-day business operations
  • Monitoring and analyzing key performance metrics (KPIs) to ensure operational efficiency
  • Working with human resources to promote a comfortable work environment.

 

Director of Operations Job Description: Summary

Among all executive and upper management jobs, the DOO is probably the most diverse. That’s because those roles often vary from one company to another — and they can even vary from small companies to large ones.

Often in startups and smaller companies, the DOO’s job is easier. It’s not for lack of complexity but because the scale is smaller. Even so, it’s still a demanding job.

At the most basic level, DOOs are nearly always responsible for overseeing daily operations. The ideal candidate needs an investigative mindset to do this because one of the things a DOO should do is look for areas in which businesses can improve daily processes.

Resource management is another key area in which DOOs are instrumental — which often includes people operations to an extent. This is especially true when major changes are needed to ensure that employees can follow company procedures or when the HR department needs to overhaul its own antiquated processes. DOOs also work with HR to create job descriptions and ensure that your company brings in the right personnel for the right jobs.

 

Director of Operations Job Description: Skills

Because the DOO has such a diverse job, people in this role typically rely on a broad range of skills plus knowledge from relevant fields.

It starts with interpersonal skills. Excellent communication and collaboration are requirements since the DOO manages teams and departments. This means not only the ability to communicate clearly, but also to communicate well via written comms like emails. A DOO who lacks in this area can lead to chaos since errors will happen, and projects will slow down due to miscommunications.

Planning skills are another big plus. Candidates with experience in project management will have an advantage because, in a sense, that’s what the DOO’s role is all about: managing multiple projects on a broad scale, company-wide.

Management skills are a “nice to have” skill. Look for candidates with management experience, but don’t dismiss those who lack in this area — especially if the rest of their skills and areas of expertise lend themselves well to the position you’re offering. In fact, recent data shows that in chief operating officer (COO) and director of operations job descriptions, management skills come in as the least listed keyword, only featuring in 6.91% of job descriptions. Compare this to things like collaboration (listed in 16.15% of job descriptions) or communication skills (listed in 10.58% of job descriptions).

This company hired a Chief Operations Officer in only 28 days. Find out how.

 

Director of Operations Job Description: Education and Experience

The Director of Operations position is typically one of the highest in a company, which means there are certain expectations for education and experience. Most companies will generally require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. At very large corporations, an MBA or another type of advanced degree may be required.

Having experience managing people and teams will also be helpful, especially for companies or projects of a similar size. Ideally, the candidate will also have experience managing large-scale projects from start to finish across the organization. In fact, a candidate's experience can hold more sway in securing this role than education. 

For example, say that a candidate has a couple of decades’ worth of strategic planning and project management experience and relevant experience in your industry. However, they only have an associate degree or a degree in a completely unrelated field. This person may still be a fantastic hire. Twenty years of hands-on experience means this hypothetical candidate has done the work and likely learned everything needed to be your DOO, even if their degree isn't a perfect match.

During the hiring process, make sure that you’re properly vetting the candidates. Check out their education and references and keep an open mind. The best candidates may not always have the exact education you’re looking for, but they should have demonstrable years of experience proving they’re capable of the job.

 

Director of Operations Salary and Compensation Expectations

According to Payscale, the average salary as of 2022 is around $100,000 for a DOO, though that number can go quite a bit higher — up to $170,000 per year or more.

However, salary isn’t the only potential avenue for earnings:

  • Bonuses average between $2,000 and $32,000
  • Profit sharing averages between $1,000 and $25,000
  • Commissions offer between $2,000 and $39,000

Keep in mind that not all companies offer all of the above. It’s often dependent on the industry. For example, a heavily sales-focused industry might give out commissions to high-performing DOOs, whereas DOOs in manufacturing might receive bonuses or profit sharing during high-earning years.

Another thing to consider is company size. Small companies and startups typically pay less overall, whereas DOOs at larger companies will earn more.

Then, of course, there is experience and location to consider. DOOs with more experience typically earn more. In areas with a higher cost of living — for example, New York — DOOs typically earn more than in areas with a lower cost of living.

 

Finding the Best DOO for Your Tech Startup Isn’t Easy, but It’s Possible

You want to bring aboard the best for your tech startup, so you need to take your time and choose the perfect candidate. After all, the director of operations will often work closely with the company's CEO and act as a partner.

The person you choose needs to be not only a strategist but also someone with business administration and supply chain experience. This means that the person can think ahead and anticipate potential problems — then develop solutions to have at the ready in case those problems rear their heads.

A DOO’s job isn’t easy. They need to be well-versed in all avenues of your industry and your business so that they can handle any issues that develop. They’ll also need to understand how to plan projects properly across multiple departments and ensure those projects run smoothly.

It’s not always easy to find the right director of operations for the job. You might not find any candidates you feel would work well for the role — or worse, you might not find anyone at all. Trying to scour job boards and make the hire on your own can be difficult, time consuming, and problematic. That’s why it’s best to work with a professional recruiting agency. Agencies can call upon the skills and experience of hundreds of different candidates, many of whom may be perfect for the job.

 

Ready To Hire an Operations Leader? Hunt Club Can Help.

Hiring a DOO, COO, or other high-level director or executive can be tough — but Hunt Club can help. Rely on our connections, expertise, and staffing industry knowledge to help you find an experienced director of operations or to help you fill other upper-level job titles. We’ll make the process easy, and you’ll enjoy the benefits that come with the best candidates possible. Get in touch with us and fast-track your company to a top-tier DOO.

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Kristin Bachman avatarKristin Bachman