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I have been asked by my current boss if I would like to apply for a managers position working for him but managing 12-15 people.

Although I have had some experience in the past with management I have been working in a individual contributor role for the past 8 years and while having progressed in my career I have not had to sit through a formal interview process for some time.

I am aware that there are certain topics that are up for discussion and would appreciate any feedback on the best way to answer them.

1. Key Initiatives and Programs - What would be your top 2-3 initiatives for the team if success in your application

2. People Issues - How would you deal with the situation if one of your members of staff was under performing due to personal issues at home

3. What do you think would be your development areas if you took on such a role

HMac's picture

Welcome ian - and congratualtions on being invited by your boss to apply for a management position.

[quote]1. Key Initiatives and Programs - What would be your top 2-3 initiatives for the team if success in your application [/quote]

What are your bosses key initiatives?
What are your company's ket initiatives?
Are they quantified goals with milestones/deadlines?

If you answered "Yes" to any or all of these questions, then you're well on your way to framing specific answers about how you think your leadership of the 12-15 people can help your boss and your company achieve those key initiatives.

Next thought - are there some specific and glaring issues that have to be dealt with - like high turnover among the 12-15 positions, errors, low productivity, etc? What's the group's "reputation" in the company? Is it thought to be helpful and productive, or bureacratic and under-performing?

-Hugh

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="ianp"]
1. Key Initiatives and Programs - What would be your top 2-3 initiatives for the team if success in your application

2. People Issues - How would you deal with the situation if one of your members of staff was under performing due to personal issues at home

3. What do you think would be your development areas if you took on such a role[/quote]

(1) Know your boss' and company goals/strategic plans. Find where your team contributes.
(2) You may wish to review the podcast [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/2007/06/managing-through-a-personal-crisis-... Through a Personal Crisis[/url] for managing directs handling personal issues.
(3) Consider this [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/2007/01/how-to-handle-the-interview-weaknes... on handling the interview weakness question.

In short, prepare just like you were interviewing for a new job...because you are.

TomW's picture

[quote="ianp"]I am aware that there are certain topics that are up for discussion and would appreciate any feedback on the best way to answer them.[/quote]

What are your answers to these questions now?

ianp's picture

I am unsure on question 1, I generally live by the rule that too many changes too soon will cause unrest with your direct reports although I don't want to seem like I am dodging the question. The other thought I have hear is that the guy interviewing me has been managing these people for the last 6months while awaiting the HR process for a new hire requisition, I don't want to be seen to question his decisions during the interview.

Q2. Key element for me is that the balance needs to be right. While we have sympathy with the employee and potentially offer advice, it will have a lot to do with the type of personal issue. The main focus still needs to be on the business and geting the required results, if this is a short term problem usually cover can be provided.

Q3. As this will be my first experience of management for a few years I would expect to be able to ask for some management/leadership training.

ChrisG*son's picture

Hey Ian,

Congratulations! At this point, you may well have already had the interview, but if not, here are some suggestions.

[b]First,[/b] Give some real thought to the advice you’ve received by HMac and tlhausmann. Listen to the podcasts on the manager’s first 90 days, managing through a personal crisis, and the M-T Basics casts; you should seriously consider buying the interviewing series as well.

[b]Second,[/b] it’s a shame the interview questions you've listed are theoretical (what [u]would[/u] you do) instead of behavioral (what [u]have[/u] you done). Where possible, you should ground your answers in demonstrated behavior. You’ve been an individual contributor, but have you ever been in a leadership position or a position of influence (church, college, volunteering, parenting—anything that would allow you to describe how you’ve motivated and organized others’ efforts)?

[b]Question 1: [/b]Key Initiatives: Listen to ‘The First Rule for New Managers’ cast. First quarter on the job should be about learning and team-building—1-on-1s, meetings with customers, vendors, and external partners, etc. 2nd quarter, introduce feedback & coaching and consider new initiatives based on your learnings to date.

Understand how the team’s performance is measured and how the team contributes to the organization’s bottom line and org-level initiatives.

[b]Question 2: [/b]Performance Management/Personnel Issues: Listen to the ‘Managing Through a Personal Crisis’ & feedback casts.

[b]Question 3: [/b]Development Areas: [b]This question isn’t about training needs, it’s about self-awareness. Do NOT answer it by asking for training![/b]

Listen to the ‘How to Handle the Weakness Question’ cast. You need to do an actual self-assessment where you look at where your weaknesses lie, choose one, and prepare to describe what you have done to address it so far and what you intend to do about it in the future. (Training may be a part of that, but asking for training suggests that you don’t know what your weaknesses are and that you’re waiting for someone to send you to a class instead of taking the initiative to improve yourself.)

Best of luck! Let us know how it works out.

ianp's picture

Thank you all for your help and advice.

I got the position and the hints and tips in the podcasts helped me focus my preparation.

HMac's picture

Congratulations! Remember: no matter how much advice you got, YOU did the work to earn the promotion.

-Hugh