Going for a job interview is as much about you being interviewed as you interviewing the interviewer. Remember that the reason you are in an interview is that the employer has a need that you can hopefully be the solution to.
Before you agree to join a company, you want to be sure that the people you will be working with will be helping you out, transferring knowledge and making sure you progress in your role. The most important person will obviously be your new manager. Picking your new boss is similar to choosing long term friends or even your partner – the difference being that you are likely to spend more waking time with your new boss.
Make sure you get the selection right by going through this checklist before you decide if your potential new boss is right for you:
You will know straight away if you have the right chemistry with your manager-to-be. Sense of humor, body language, common interest and rapport in general will determine how you get along. Once you have left the interview, you’ll have that gut feeling. Be honest with yourself; can you see yourself working with this person for the next three to five years? If the answer is no, run to the hills.
Make sure you ask your future manager how they ended up in their role. Was it by choice or necessity? How long have they been with the company? Has it turned out the way they expected? What would they change if they could? This will help you draw up a picture of what things will be like for you.
3. Style of management
Is your potential new boss a sugar coater or more of a boot camp drill instructor? Ask them to describe themselves as a manger and what their priorities are. Watch out for David Brent style corporate buzzwords and clichés. Another vital clue is how much they like to get involved in their subordinates’ day to day work. Some people hate being micro managed, others thrive on it. Whatever you prefer, it’s important you are both on the same wavelength.
4. Can you learn from them
Just like they say you should work to learn, your boss should be your teacher. If you can see yourself learning from this person right now and for the next years, you are probably on to a winner. The question to ask yourself here is whether they possess skills that you want to acquire and do they seem happy to share these with you?
5. Whom do they report to
Insist on meeting the boss of the boss. You need to understand what type of manager they report to as this will trickle down to your situation as well. If possible, ask to see the top dog separately so that you can ask a few probing questions around your potential new manager.
6. Problem handling
There is nothing better than a bit of pressure to see someone’s real character come out. Whether it’s a conflict in their team or an IT crash, how did they handle it? Ask for a specific example. This will give you an idea of how they would deal with you in case you lock horns in the future. They say a clever employee knows how to manage their manager, and the only way to do this is knowing how they are likely to react in a particular situation.
7. Company outlook
Ask the manager what major obstacles they foresee for the company, what their plan is to overcome these. This will show you how clued up they are on matters outside their department and what preparations they have in store.
8. Where are they heading
Try to understand what the goals are for the boss. Is he or she going places or staying put for the foreseeable future? You need to know this as you might want to move up the ladder one day. The flipside would be that you could end up being managed by a complete stranger overnight.
Your ability to get along well with your future manager will mean everything to your job satisfaction and career progression. After you have interviewed your potential future boss, take your time to digest the information. Always go with what your instinct tells you about the person. Never chase only money or glory as it will come back and bit you where it hurts.