It may be a little disheartening to realize that job interviews are stacked. The interviewer has trained to make you fail the interview. Simple, straightforward questions that you believe you aced cost you the job. It isn’t like we need to fear the job interview more than we do. The objective of this tutorial is to help level the playing field.

“What is the first thing you will do”

How secure are you as a person, a manager, and a professional? How you answer this question can tell the job interviewer a lot about you.

A bad manager needs to establish themselves as better than the previous guy. In many cases they will clean up the mess of the previous manager even if there was no mess. They will work to get everything in order, wasting resources and time. Why? Because they don’t know how to launch a project. They don’t know how to run a business.

These people are always busy. All those extra jobs you do, hobbies, volunteering, tasks, may show that you are highly motivated to your career development path, and building career capital. Or, they may show someone that is so busy ‘doing’ that they have no time left in the day to get down to the task  of managing the business.

They are focused on projects. When one is done they start another one. Tasks do not get done because they are focused on projects. Anyone experienced as a career coach, recruiter, or job interviewer will know right away that they are talking to a procrastinator, or someone who doesn’t have the skill, or confidence, to do the job.

“What was your biggest accomplishment?”

Be careful here. The person sitting across from you in the job interview is looking for more than what your biggest project or success was. They are trying to trick you into revealing that you are a bad manager. To prepare for this then learn everything you can about ‘what is a bad manager’ and then comb your resume, and practice your job interview, so that you avoid making a mistake in the job interview.

Bad mangers are ‘hands off’. You’ll answer this question by talking about goals, performance indicators, and targets. They have a ‘hands off’ approach to management. Delegation isn’t’ a strength when your sole purpose of delegating is so that you don’t need to do the work, or take the responsibility.

Be careful when you answer questions that you don’t sound like you manage from a distance.

“What is your management strategy.’

A six figure mange will not blink when the job interview switches whether you follow a chaotic or democratic management style. But is that what the interviewer really wants to know?

Bad managers make lengthy, impressive plans. Their plans are expansive, wordy, and complex. They are designed to impress and give the illusion that they are at the top of their game. Unfortunately, this type of manger believes they are ‘on track’ in their management development.  This is unfortunate because their beliefs keep them blind to the job interviewers true intentions.

This is also important when you are creating a portfolio. Make sure your ‘cleaned up’ versions of your work are simple, effective, and easy to understand. If they are not, clean them up.

The problem with lengthy and impressive plans is that there are a lot of contingencies in there. The manager adds safeguards so that when goals are not met they can cover their mistakes.

The main problem with these plans is that they are hard to understand, and waste a lot of employee resources. Months can be wasted figuring out how to execute the plan. In this time the manger has been the center of attention and appearing very busy, but nothing productive has been done.

“Have you managed a team?”

This is a good place to smile and take a breath, because the right answer isn’t going to be the right answer. Of course you have managed a team – you are a manager. Unless you were a cyber-risk manager then you worked with people.

The information needed is whether you listened. Any manager will state that they worked with employees and held forums. They will talk about what they did, and how ‘employee focused’ they were. That all sounds great, but isn’t the right answer.

Did you actually act on any of your team’s suggestions? Did you let employees tell you when you were wrong? Did you make changes based on that information?

Bad mangers stick to their own plan. If people complain they will sabotage their own department in an effort to claim incompetency and lay the blame on someone else.

These managers also have phrases like ‘hire slow, fire fast.’ ‘If you need to be hard on someone, do it.’ ‘the manager is always right.’

Bad Mangers Take No Responsibility – Have An Exit Plan

Managers need to constantly be working at their career. They need to improve their skills. They need to keep their skills up to date. But be very careful that you don’t appear to have been building an escape plan. Make sure that it doesn’t look like you were padding your resume.

Bad mangers focus on those at the top. They want to satisfy and ‘court’ these individuals even to the detriment of the organizations long-term interests. They are negotiators. They are manipulative. They are more concerned with guarding their backs instead of building the company.  All of this can be revealed in a matter of minutes if a good coach or experienced HR representative is hosting the job interview.

When they have finally burned the last bridge, or are caught, the manger moves on – before being fired. They cite reasons that make sense. There was no room for growth. They hit the ceiling. They were ready for the next step of their career.

Are You Acting or Reacting?

A good manager will have the communication skills, the coaching experience, and the leadership education to avoid making emotional mistakes. The job interview is designed to test your emotional stability. It is very easy to see who stresses. Do you act or react? These are things you cannot rehearse or practice. You either work on them in your day to day life, or you do not have them.

We all have a history, and this history bleeds into our job place. The question is, whether you manage yourself well. Do you grow as a person? Are you in control of your beliefs and emotions? If so, then you are the manager that most companies are looking for.


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