Conducting “Due Diligence” by Interviewing the Hiring Manager

Have you ever had the fleeting thought “Did I make a mistake in accepting this role?” after finding that the work, manager, team, culture, expectations were not “as advertised”?

Julie Jansen

Julie Jansen

If so, next time you interview for a new role, consider Julie Jansen’s suggested questions to evaluate “fit” with the prospective manager, outlined in her book, I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work

Questions to ask any (and every) Prospective Manager 

  •  What deliverables, accomplishments, behaviors do you expect of the person hired for this role during the first three months?
  • First six months?
  • First year?
  • How will you measure success in this role after a year?
  • What challenges the previous incumbent encounter in the role?
  • What do you see as the role’s current challenges?
  • What are the three top priorities for this role in the next year?
  • How do these priorities align with the organization’s strategy?
  • How can the person selected for this role help you manage your highest-concern challenges?
  • How do you mentor, coach, and develop your direct reports?
  • What was the next career move for the role’s previous incumbent?
  • What did the previous incumbent accomplish in the role?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with your direct reports?
  • How do you prefer to receive information from your direct reports?
  • In person, email, telephone, text message, other?
  • How frequently do team members work remotely?
  • How frequently do you want updates from your direct reports?
  • How do you and your team integrate work and life priorities toward “work-life balance”?
  • How would you describe your work style?
  • Your management style?
  • Your leadership style?
  • Your decision style?
  • How do you manage conflict within the team?
  • With other organizations?
  • What are your three most important values?
  • How do your direct reports describe your management style?
  • What are the characteristics of the best manager you’ve worked with?
  • How are you and your team perceived in the organization?

Questions to ask the prospective manager’s direct reports (peers to target role)

  • What are the manager’s job priorities?
  • How does the manager develop, coach, and mentor direct reports?
  • How frequently does the manager provide feedback?
  • What work and person characteristics does the manager value?
  • How would you describe the manager’s work style?
  • What is the manager’s decision process?
  • How does the manager deal with conflict?
  • To what extent does the manager involve you and your peers in decisions?
  • To what extent does the manager support work-life balance?
  • What are the manager’s strengths?
  • What are the manager’s development areas?
  • What are the manager’s “hot buttons” or “pet peeves”?
  • How does the manager prefer to communicate with you and your team?
  • How does the manager prefer to receive information?
  • How is the manager viewed in the organization?
  • With what roles and organizations are manager allied?
  • Who are the manager’s mentors in the organization?
  • What advice would you give to the person selected for this role to ensure a positive working relationship with the manager?

These queries can’t guard against managers who leave the role a few days after you start, or re-organizations and restructurings that leave you reporting to a new manager in a new role in a new group, but they may provide additional guidance to potential “warning signs” of job mismatch or “misemployment.”

-*What questions have you found most effective in assessing work style “fit” and compatibility with a potential manager?

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Twitter: @kathrynwelds
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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

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