Newsletter December 2021
Recruiters for the Copier Channel® for more than 30 years, Copier Careers® has been the only recruiting firm exclusively dedicated to connecting Copier Channel employers with experienced service technicians, copier sales representatives, sales managers, service & operations managers, controllers, support staff, and MPS/MNS experts. Start your month off right with Newsletter December 2021: Copier Channel news and career advice. Search copier jobs now.
The #1 takeaway from our 2021 Mid-Year Update was the resurging job market. Hiring in this industry has never been busier, more competitive or more challenging that it is right now. That makes streamlining the hiring process more important than ever!
Welcome to our Interviewing Prep series, where we share the most important questions employers and candidates need to have answered before the first interview. This month, we’re covering Operations Managers / Vice Presidents of Operations:
Questions for Employers Before Interviewing Operations Managers
- Why are you looking to hire (for growth, replacement, restructuring, succession plan, etc.)?
- What is the base salary range for this position?
- Is there a bonus program in place?
- If so, is it related to metrics or overall revenue?
- How are bonuses broken down? When are they paid out?
- Do you offer benefits?
- Do you provide a car allowance, cell phone, and/or laptop?
- What is the territory range?
- How much technical experience does this role require?
- Does this role require prior industry experience or are you open to other industries?
- Who will the new Operations Manager report to directly?
- How many overall reports and direct reports will this role have?
- Number of Service or Field Service Managers?
- Number of Field Techs?
- Number of Warehouse Roles (Shop Techs, Inventory Personnel, Dispatch/CSR, etc.)?
- Number of Admin/Office Support Staff?
- Are these overall and direct reports meeting required metrics? Why/why not?
- What is the current Service/Operations revenue at right now?
- Where would you like it to be? In what time frame?
- Will the new Operations Manager be responsible for the Service/Operations P&L? If so, does this role require previous P&L experience?
- What operating system(s) do you currently work with? Are you planning to migrate to a new system?
- Do you require previous experience with your operating system? Are you open to experience with other systems?
- Are there satisfactory policies and procedures currently in place or with the new Operations Manager be responsible for creating or refining them?
- What are the greatest strengths of the department, what are the areas that need the most growth?
- How has your company expanded your portfolio to keep up with advancing technology? Has that evolution accelerated during the pandemic?
- Are you open to relocating candidates? Would you offer any assistance?
- What is the typical interview process for this role? What is your hiring timeline?
- Does your company do a formal background check and drug screening?
- What is your company culture like? What are you seeking in a candidate to fit with the rest of your team?
Questions for Operations Managers Before Their Interview
- What would it take for you to consider a new opportunity?
- What are you looking for in your next position?
- How many years of management experience do you have?
- What was your career path to management?
- Did you have P&L responsibility?
- What operating systems have you worked with?
- For your most recent management position, what was your department’s size when you started?
- How many overall and direct reports did you have?
- How many personnel did you hire? How many did you let go?
- For your most recent management position, was your department meeting your company’s required metrics?
- If so, what skills helped you and your department achieve this success?
- If not, why not?
- What sets you apart from other candidates?
- Do you have any honors or achievement awards from your past roles?
- What are your most successful leadership strategies?
- What was the most noteworthy problem you solved in your last role?
- Do you have a non-compete? If so, how will it affect your ability to move to a new company?
- How quickly would you be able to switch to a new position?
- Are you open to relocation? If so, is your household on the same page?
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In mid-November, Toshiba announced its intention to separate into three standalone companies. Infrastructure Service Co. will consist of Toshiba’s energy, infrastructure, building, digital and battery businesses. Device Co. will contain Toshiba’s electronics and storage businesses, including its semiconductor products. Toshiba will maintain its name and will hold its ownership stake in Koxia Holdings Corp and Toshiba Tec Corp. This reorganization is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The move is the most recent domino effect stemming from their 2015 accounting scandal in which Toshiba was caught overstating profit by over $1.3B. According to Reuters, “Two years later, it secured a $5.4 billion cash injection from more than 30 overseas investors that helped avoid a delisting but brought in activist shareholders including Elliott Management, Third Point and Farallon.”
Toshiba’s board has been fighting with investors ever since. This culminated in 2021 in a brawl over the board’s rejection of a proposed $20B buyout by a British equity firm. The activist investors attempted to replace the board members but Toshiba’s nominees won in a clean sweep. However, as Bloomberg reports, “an independent investigation later found management had tapped government allies and worked hand in hand with public officials to sway the outcome of the voting.”
According to Reuters, Toshiba commissioned a separate report “that found executives, including its former chief executive, had behaved unethically but not illegally.” It went on to say “Toshiba was overly dependent on the trade ministry and problems had also been caused by its “excessive cautiousness” towards foreign funds and an unwillingness to develop a sound relationship with them.”
All of this led to the five-month strategic review which recommended this drastic corporate breakup. Reuters reports that this plan “is partly designed to encourage activist shareholders to sell their stake.”
Chief Executive, Satoshi Tsunakawa, maintains Toshiba ” would have chosen to split up regardless of the presence of activist shareholders and that Japan’s powerful trade ministry had not voiced objections to the plan.”
The question now is whether the unhappy activist investors will be able to block the plan in the “extraordinary general meeting the company plans to hold by March.” An anonymous portfolio manager for one of these activist funds laid it out: “The activists have two options now: you can sell and go away and come back in two years time or you can buy more shares and fight this thing at the EGM. I’m going to go and think about what to do.”
Last month, we discussed important questions for candidates and employers to prepare before an interview for a service manager. This is part of our ongoing Interviewing Prep series to help you get the most out of your next interview (whether in front of the desk or behind it). So we were curious to hear what you thought was the most important service manager quality. We had a solid turnout of 10,910 votes this month!
Many comments pointed out that any one trait in the poll isn’t enough to make a great manager. Yes, this is clearly true. But it’s still useful to see what qualities people value or prioritize more than others. The comments add nuance as to why those qualities matter to each voter and under what circumstances.
Obviously, all of the traits in the poll would be great for a manager to have. But managers are people with strengths and limitations. So we wanted to know which quality you think is the dealbreaker – what trait would be the hardest to succeed in this role without?
Folks were a bit more torn on this poll than they were for sales managers. The winning service manager quality was strong communication, taking 26% of the vote. Reliability came in second with 18% while we had a three-way-tie with integrity, decisiveness and coaching focus taking 16% each. Last place went to technical competency with the remaining 8%.
Service managers have to keep a lot of plates spinning between their techs, sales, clients and their own superiors. It can be an impossible task to keep everyone satisfied and working at their best. Strong communication might just be the key strength service managers can used to keep things in balance.
- Strong communication (26%, 2,828 Votes)
- Reliability (18%, 1,955 Votes)
- Integrity (16%, 1,728 Votes)
- Decisiveness/good goal setting (16%, 1,705 Votes)
- Coaching focus (16%, 1,692 Votes)
- Technical competency (9%, 1,002 Votes)
Total Voters: 10,910 (November 3, 2021 @ 9:21 pm – December 2, 2021 @ 9:13 pm)
Some comments from y’all:
- “I have never been a service manager but have worked for many – both good and bad. The best, from a technician’s perspective, have been those who kept an eye on their team, but also trusted their team and gave us the autonomy to do our jobs most of the time. I recall one manager who I was sure was protecting us from what came down from above his head. I am also sure it is what cost him that manager’s position in a merger, because he had our backs instead of playing company politics. We busted our butts to take care of him because we knew he was doing the same for us. The worst managers were those that were of the infamous micromanager variety that couldn’t trust people, often more interested in achieving the numerical goals set out in front of them. To be fair, that is a tough position to be in and a balancing act that few can achieve.”
- “A good service manager knows how to bring out the best in their team without being overbearing. They also know how to counsel negative behaviors without demeaning their employees.”
- “While Integrity is the keystone, coaching and technical competency are vital. He or she cannot lead well if they haven’t already trodden the paths their techs are walking in. Always beware when confidence overshadows competence.”
- “Must be rookies voting… Technical competency?? My service manager for last 10 years hadn’t been in field for 20 years – he was the best manager of any employer I ever had. He knew how to manage team & allowed his techs to manage their territories. He didn’t need to provide technical support – that’s for your teammates & tech support team. My manager was a great advocate for his techs & visited / phoned customers frequently. Integrity, boys!”
- Delegation skills (26%, 2,079 Votes)
- Decisive leadership (24%, 1,911 Votes)
- Organization skills (21%, 1,680 Votes)
- Strong communication (11%, 878 Votes)
- Reliability/consistency (9%, 670 Votes)
- Integrity (7%, 545 Votes)
- People-focus (1%, 88 Votes)
Total Voters: 7,851 (December 2, 2021 @ 9:01 pm – December 30, 2021 @ 3:39 pm)
Comment on Poll:
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