Good Management – How to Recognize it During Job Search?

How to recognize whether a company has good management during job search?  What a great question from a reader and a very relevant one to ask for any job seekers.  Working for good management is essential to your job success and happiness at work.  It is however hard to decipher whether a company has good management from the outside, during your job search.

While you can never know for sure before you start work at a company, here are 5 ways to try to figure it out during your interview process.  Before you start, you must know what good management means to you – what’s the most important – clear management structure, no micro-manager, you having authority and responsibility, etc…  Once you have a clear prioritized list, the following tips will help you uncover information to make a good judgement during job search.

  1. Do a Linkedin search on the Management Team – Look at their profile, experience, educational background, and especially recommendations.  It’s good news when your direct boss has at least one of two recommendations from team members about her great management style.   Also see if you are indirectly connected to any of them.  If any of them are on your secondary network, you can ask a trusted direct connection about that person’s management style.  Do this only if you have a good relationship with your direct connection who knows that person.
  2. Assess management style and structure during your interviews – Did you feel rapport with the manager and the senior people that interviewed you?  Did you respect what they asked of you?  You can ask questions regarding how the organization is structured and what success in your position looks like to indirectly analyze what it may feel like to work there.  Red flags are if you need to report directly to one boss but have dotted lines to at least one other person.  That makes management complicated and you de-facto have at least two bosses.   It may still work out but chances for one of them to not be a good manager is much higher.  You can also ask your potential manager about his or her management style.
  3. Ask scenario questions after you receive an offer – While you cannot be too probing during the interviews, once you get an offer, you can tactfully ask more detailed questions.  If you have a particular situation in mind where your last company handled it badly, set up a follow up call with your potential boss or a senior management person and pose the scenario as an hypothetical situation and ask how it would be handled in this company.  Be diplomat – don’t bad mouth your last company.
  4. Ask future peers about their experience there – Sometime your future peers also interview you.  In this case, during the interview or after getting an offer, get their perspective about what they do or don’t like about working there.   Ask for their viewpoint around the management style and company culture
  5. Get 3rd party assessment and former employee opinions – If the company is large enough, then may have a review of it (although you may have to pay to access it).  Also see if they are listed by Fortune as the top 100 companies to work for.  Lastly, do a Linkedin search of people who used to work for the company and see if you can ask for the inside scoop there.  You should definitely be able to get the good, bad, and the ugly that way.

At the end of the day, whatever your assessment is based on the above tips is still an interpretation.  You won’t actually know whether the company really have good management the way you hoped until you work there.    The good news is every time you do job search, you will get better at assessing this.  Good luck with your job search.

Want to learn more?  click here to listen to my podcast where I go in-depth on this topic during a coaching session with a job seeker.

Your comments: Can you think of any other ways to assess the management team from the outside?

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