Business Continuity Interview Questions for Future Managers


Everyone knows the standard questions that are likely to be asked in a job interview: What is your management style? What is a difficult situation that you have overcome? What attracted you to this company/role? Preparing for these applications can be predictable, but when interviewing for a role in business continuity, candidates will need to go above and beyond to show that they are ready for anything.

The right manager is critical to the success of an organization’s business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy, so the stakes of an interview will be high for both parties. The candidate must have the experience, knowledge, foresight and adaptability required in a crisis situation, and the organization must ask the right questions.

BCDR domain managers need a combination of interpersonal, IT, and business skills to successfully manage a team and execute enterprise-wide plans. They must be able to acquire and analyze concrete data on the state of readiness of their organization and be ready to face many unpredictable and theoretical disasters. Business Continuity Managers must be able to advocate for their department to senior management in order to obtain funding and support for BCDR initiatives.

Long story short, there’s a lot of ground to cover – and it goes beyond the fact that they see themselves as ‘a team player’. Future managers can prepare for the big day with these business continuity interview questions.

How much do you plan to spend on business continuity and disaster recovery?

Budgets vary by organization and industry for a business continuity strategy, and not all companies will want to invest in just one. The focus of a budget-based question may be less the search for a specific number and more the opportunity to advocate for a business continuity team and funding for the department.

There are many ways to emphasize the importance of business continuity today. Increase in ransomware attacks, increase in natural disasters due to global climate change, and zero tolerance for investor/partner/customer downtime are just three reasons why a business continuity plan is essential . The COVID-19 pandemic has tested businesses around the world, and many have had to maintain business continuity remotely and with a reduced workforce due to illness or of a threat of infection.

A business continuity manager must be prepared to justify funding a BCDR program that matches the needs of the organization. Give examples of how this money would be spent, such as offsite storage, consultants, employee training programs, hardware or software.

It is also an opportunity for managers to demonstrate how they will work and communicate with senior management to make important BCDR decisions.

What business continuity systems, activities and assessments have you managed? How will you monitor business continuity readiness?

A big part of business continuity planning is the scans, tests, and drills an organization performs before a crisis. Managers must not only be able to create a BCDR plan, but also modify and update existing plans. Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are not “set and forget” activities. Managers should be prepared to conduct annual tests and audits, as well as post-crisis assessments. This will reveal the vulnerabilities they need to address.

While they may not have hands-on experience with all of these, business continuity managers should at least be familiar with the following:

Managers should also have knowledge of supply chain management and developing business continuity policies.

What issues could derail a business continuity strategy?

It’s akin to the standard question about a challenge a candidate has faced, but with a BCDR twist. A business continuity strategy can go wrong in many ways, and most of them aren’t clear until a disaster has occurred. Vulnerabilities can include new ransomware technology, unlikely natural disasters, or unprecedented pandemics. Risk assessments and disaster recovery test plans can mitigate these issues.

Another way to prevent a business continuity strategy from going awry is to ensure that all staff are properly trained, beyond BCDR staff. If there is potential for enterprise-wide risk, a business continuity manager should ensure that employees are aware of BCDR’s initiatives and the roles they may have to play in case of crisis.

Business continuity requires managers to be adaptable and flexible. Candidates who demonstrate these abilities with a willingness to deal with a variety of scenarios will stand out.

What are the consequences of a loss of business continuity?

The reality of business continuity is that the BCDR team and the organization as a whole cannot prevent all interruptions and downtime. Candidates should be familiar with the common consequences of downtime, as well as organization-specific consequences. Will downtime violate service level agreements? Will it disrupt a critical service or function? Is that ok damage the reputation organisation ?

Knowledge of downtime challenges may not preclude this, but it will show that the candidate is knowledgeable, realistic, and able to adapt a specific damage control action plan to certain scenarios.

What are your certifications?

Candidates are likely to include BCDR certifications on their resume, but they should be prepared to discuss them in an interview. Certifications are earned by business continuity managers from organizations such as the Business Continuity Management Institute, Business Continuity Institute, and Business Resilience Certification Consortium International. Relevant certifications include the following:

  • BCI Business Continuity Institute Certificate
  • Certified Business Continuity Manager
  • Certified Business Resilience Manager
  • Certified IT Professional in Business Resilience
  • Certified Business Continuity Expert
  • Certified Business Continuity Planner

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