What constitues a QA MANAGER? What to look for in recruiting for the position?


David Mullins

What constitues a QA MANAGER?

I was asked by a prospective QA Manager employer in the US what should he look for in recruiting for the position. I supplied the following as a beginning, but am keen to see what my learned peers think - comments?

Qualifications such as Certified Quality Engineer/Manager are fine, as are relevant degrees and associate (college) qualifications. Personally I find qualified engineers are far to blinkered in their thinking to make successful QA Most experienced QA Managers have experience that far outweighs relevant qualifications. Experienced QA Managers are worth more to the company, but if you don't want to pay much, pick by qualification but carefully quiz referees on the skills area.
Applicants should hold quality auditing qualifications.

Obviously you want someone who has experience relevant to your industry, OR, has a proven track record in a diverse range of industries, whereby you could expect a short familiarisation phase. I personally look at what successes candidates have secured for their employers. You must verify experiences with the candidates referees.

If, for example, you want them to implement ISO 9001 and get the company registered, then you need someone who has been the leader of this process in the past.

For the "preferred candidate", I'd take this further and verify that the past employers are achieving the stated successes and that the referee you spoke to was relevant to the preferred candidate's employment and had/has a position of high responsibility.

Basically, you should be speaking to the CEO/President/Vice President/Director.
Verifying references is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to ensure you get what you expected.

QA Managers are change agents and must have excellent communication skills and get along well with people even in stressful situations/environments.
Project management skills are highly desirable for implementing or changing management systems, obtaining support, keeping activities on track, providing regular reports, reporting on quality costs and benefits, etc.. This is of less importance is the role is more maintenance orientated.

Other (desirable/beneficial) Skills include:
Benchmarking & Best Practice;
Training (creation and delivery of training to groups);
Presentations (customers and staff);
Baldrige Award exposure (this process is very useful to aid strategic planning);
Strategic Planning;
Health and Safety/Environmental Management Systems;
Document Control;
Supplier Assessments;
Customer (Satisfaction) Surveys;
Customer Liaison / working closely with customers;
Manual/Policy/Procedure/Instruction Writing;
Business Key Performance Indicator Development and Reporting; and
Handling Customer Complaints.

If the position has personnel working directly for them additional skills could include recruitment, performance appraisal, motivation, dealing with poor performing staff, etc.


Andy Bassett

I think i can go along with everything you say David, i might add that the ideal profile is probably dependant on the company that he is entering. Most of the companies i work with are at entry level on the Quality ladder, and here the ideal candidate could be the Man in the Moon, so long as he has absolute dogged determination to see something through, a thick skin and good communication skills


Andy B


This is an issue that has come up often in a few companies I work with. This is how I feel about it:
A quality manager should be a good manager, highly organized, and have excellent communication skills; the ability to interact with all the various groups/departments in your facility, have some quality background. BUT the single most important qualification is the ability to properly identify the RIGHT people needed to perform the quality tasks needed. As in, the manager would recognize the need for a process engineer and be able to identify the requisites for that position. The manager does not have to be able to perform all the tasks needed, but he/she should be able to assemble a department that can and then lead them to accomplish the companys quality objectives/goals.

Vash Stampede

The quality manager that you're boss wants is probably one in a zillion. It's too perfect that almost he had all the desired qualities of a Quality Manager. Probably, I could consider are the following:
People and Team Oriented
Good Technical and Writing Skills
Had at least 5 years solid experience in quality.
I hope this helps.
Vash Stampede
[email protected]

David Mullins

Sorry Vash, I modelled it on myself.

Your four key points are correct, however they are too general for application by time starved professionals.

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