60 years of experience have taught me that most managers are not qualified to manage. But most job applicants never check them out before accepting a job. Nor do they check out the managers several layers up. It’s a recipe for disaster and it’s so obvious. What are your thoughts?
Ever ask a hiring manager for their resume before you agree to a job interview? No? Why not?
This is the danger of applying for lots and lots of jobs. The more jobs a person applies for, the less due diligence they do on any of them, including on the managers they’d go to work for. When one of 20 job applications yields an interview, there’s no good way to do your homework in time. In fact, the smartest approach is to do your homework before you apply! (Don’t miss What if there’s no time to prepare for the interview?)
Who’s your boss?
I believe the failure to do such due diligence increases the chances you’ll go to work for a lousy manager, simply because the baseline probability that any particular manager is inept is significant.
“Nor do they check out the managers several layers up.”
A prudent job seeker checks out the hiring manager who owns the job, and the bosses above the manager. Your success at a job depends heavily on the people that run the joint. While the conventional wisdom focuses on winning an offer, that’s not the goal. The goal is a job working for good managers and a good company.
So I agree with you completely. Check out the management stack before you invest time pursuing a job. Because if you don’t, and you invest heavily in interviews, and they make you an offer, you’re very likely to take an offer from the wrong people — and you will rationalize your decision simply because you put so much time into it.
Pick your target companies and managers thoughtfully. This is the time for due diligence.
Before you interview:
- Ask who will interview you.
- Ask who the hiring manager is.
- Ask who is the manager’s boss and who their boss is.
- Use Google and LinkedIn to check them out further. Be thorough.
- Ask around — who knows these managers?
After you interview with the hiring manager, ask to briefly meet their bosses.
Have you seen your boss’s resume?
The alternative is to request what they demand from you — the bosses’ resumes. Does this all seem inappropriate and awkward? Perhaps even blasphemous? Contrary to how we’re programmed to (not) think when we’re job hunting, seeing your new bosses’ resumes would be a prudent, reasonable thing before you decide to throw in with them.
They want to know who you are before they’ll interview you. They want your resume. They want to talk to your former bosses (references). And you can bet they’re going to check you out online.
Maybe you won’t see their resumes, but by job offer time, make sure you know who your bosses are. Judge them all, because your success depends largely on who you’re working with.
Do you know who your bosses will be when you’re considering a job offer? Is it so unreasonable to want to read a new boss’s resume? How do you avoid taking a job with the wrong people? How else can you check out, in advance, who you’ll be working with?