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Evaluating a potential manager

The interview process for a new role does not always afford the candidate a lot of opportunities to evaluate their potential manager.


I'd be grateful to hear some successful techniques that people have used to evaluate the hiring manager and determine if they'd actually be a good fit for you.

🧒 Sales Management
πŸ‘₯ Hiring
10
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
Think back to a time when you had a manager do something REALLY great or REALLY shitty.Β 

Then formulate a question for the manager about how they would handle that situation.Β 

It will give you a feel for how a manager would react and if it aligns with how you would like them to.
Da
DaveFromCollege
Notorious Answer
+7
Account Executive
I like it. Thanks, Nerd
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
What’d you just call me?!
grrr
Contributor
+2
Sr. Account Executive
Interesting perspective - I like this a lot. Thanks for your input.
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
You got it! Good luck.Β 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Good advice @salesnerdΒ 
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
Glad I can help!Β 
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Very interesting perspective
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I always ask to talk to reps from the team. If people are unhappy, you can usually tell. If that's not provided, I'd recommend walking away.
If you're able to figure out who the current reps are and how long they've been there, that's another move that can work depending on the manager's tenure.

Ask straight up what he or she cares about from their reps. It's also worth saying "this is how I best operate. Does this gel with your style or not?"
grrr
Contributor
+2
Sr. Account Executive
Yeah I'm with this. I've done this before and been burned by some optimistic sales reps but I think I just needed to dive a little deeper in that scenario. I like the idea of being upfront with the manager about how I operate - I received this advice from a friend this week as well. Thanks!
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Being upfront works best and thanks for this advice
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+11
King of the Coors Knights
I actually was in a position where I HIRED my current manager. I have a list of questions somewhere I asked all the candidates during the interview process, will dig up and send over, you can probably tweak them a bit for your situation lol.Β 
grrr
Contributor
+2
Sr. Account Executive
Oh that's really interesting! Always great when you're in the opportunity to hire your manager - you definitely retain a bit more control of the conversation and questions. I'd be grateful for that list of questions!
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+11
King of the Coors Knights
Can't find the full list but here are a few I remember:

1) Describe your ideal rep. What are some of their characteristics?
2) How do you interact with your team? (micro-manager, hands off, etc)
3) Aside from exceeding quota, how else would you measure the success of your team?
4) How would you go about training a new rep on your team?
5) One of your reps has missed their sales goals for a few months. What do you do?
6)Β Can you describe a time when you had to let a rep go?

#6 was typically the most interesting. You can tell a lot about the person by how they answer - if they bad mouth the rep and/or overshare details about why the rep missed you can make the assumption that they will not go to bat for you down the line. But if their answer is about all the options they exhausted before it got to that point, probably a better manager to work for.Β 
Show 2 more replies
fodysseus
WR Officer
+6
Growth Manager
I like trying to figure out how a manager operates when things AREN'T going well. Easier said than done, but you can try to formulate questions around that.

What do they do? Where do they focus their time? And would you consider that helpful?

Also, if you can get a sense of their top priorities quickly, try to figure out if you can manage up efficiently. Personally, thats the most important thing for me.
grrr
Contributor
+2
Sr. Account Executive
Really appreciate your feedback. I'm reflecting on my past experiences, when things weren't going well, and what I liked/disliked about my managers approach during those times.
ViktorfromSales
Opinionated
+1
Enterprise Account Executive
I was in this situation twice in the last 2 years. The first VP Sales didn’t work out and had a micromanager vibe to him. The red flags with him for me were only focusing on problems and pain points, not asking about how you feel and what you want to develop into. He also simply wanted to apply what worked for him in the past instead of figuring out what would be a viable solution for a company like us.Β 

In general the biggest telltale signs about them will be the questions they ask in the Q&A in the end. Good or bad.Β 

The second VP we hired has been with us for almost a year now and he’s a rockstar 🀘🏻Here’s what was different:
1. His strengths were our weaknesses.
2. He had already been in our industry and stage and was successful
3. More than a third of his questions were about understanding what we cared about.Β 

A good approach to interviewing your future manager is using the STAR framework to questioning and finding out:
1. Would you enjoy working for them?
2. Can you learn from them? Do they complement your weaknesses?
3. Have they had success at that specific stage and industry before?

any missing pieces would be red flags. Not necessarily deal breakers, but would need heavy consideration.Β 
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