You’re thinking about taking that first step into management. It’s that time. You’ve worked hard, built your skill-set, increased your responsibilities, enhanced your leadership skills, and you’re ready to move up the corporate ladder.
But wait, you’ve never applied or interviewed for a management position before and, though you may have a perfect CV and are an excellent interviewee, you know that this is a whole different ball park, and you need to prepare before you jump in unwittingly.
So what are the steps you need to take to be completely ready for your new career adventure? Here are a few tips to help you start your journey the right way:
1. Ask yourself the important questions
Do you have what it takes to be a manager? There is nothing more important than knowing yourself and being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself, are you comfortable making important decisions that may affect the success of an organization as a whole? Do you have the time-management and communication skills you will need, as well as the ability to motivate an entire team to do things that need to be done? What if you face an issue with one of your team members? Are you comfortable with confrontation or do you shy away from it? Do you have the ability to give praise where it is due, constructive criticism when you expect improvement, or reprimand when it is necessary? Are you willing to have your success based on the performance of others and ensuring that they do indeed succeed in their roles? If you answered no to any of those questions, you may need to reevaluate this step until you feel more comfortable handling a position like this.
2. Know the company
More than anyone, you need to be extremely well-informed about the company you are applying to. Do your research ahead of time, and make note of all the important functions, services and products of the company. Align yourself with its mission and values. Take a look at their website, their social media pages, and their professional pages such as their Bayt.com Company Profile. You can even connect with existing employees on Bayt.com People and get an insider view on the company, and a clearer idea of what may be expected of you. This step is truly key. Every manager is expected to know the ins and outs of their company.
3. Evaluate your experience
Take a look back at your experience and the skills you’ve built along the way. Look over your CV. Do you have the experience and education that you need to impress an employer? You need to be able to add relevant skills and abilities to your application. If you feel like there are gaps, start working on filling them and gaining the experience which can strengthen your application. Take management courses, build your communications skills, start taking on additional tasks and projects in your current role to widen your scope of learning and competencies. Make note of previous projects that you may have taken lead on in your current position and think about which skills they helped you build, such as time management, organizational and negotiation skills. Does anything need further development?
4. Rearrange your CV
Once you have all those skills and experience, you need to ensure that your CV shows it. The arrangement of your CV may change all together. When you were an entry-level applicant, your education was always the first thing you wanted to highlight. Now, you can scale that back, employers will be more interested in seeing your accumulative experience and achievements. Highlight important tasks and projects that you undertook. Include any qualifications and certifications that you may have under your belt. Include relevant keywords, which you now should know by studying the company inside out. Make sure that you’ve targeted your CV to the organization and to the position itself. If you can use numbers to quantify your past successes, do so, to further demonstrate your abilities.
5. Research and Apply
If you are applying for an internal management position, then you should already know who to contact and the general protocols in your workplace. However, if you are on the lookout for a management position in a new company, then you should definitely start your search on Bayt.com, where you will have access to thousands of jobs on any given day. You can do your research by industry, location, company name, or any other criteria you set. Indeed, you can select the “Management Jobs” category to find your intended career level.
6. Prepare yourself for the interview
An interview for a management position is completely different than that of an entry or mid-level position. First and foremost, you need to demonstrate your excellent communication skills. To excel in a leadership position, with a team counting on you, you have to be able to efficiently communicate to them what is expected of them, explain things when they need help, and give them the recognition they deserve as well criticism in some cases. You need to prove to the employer that you have the ability to do so during the interview by communicating effectively about everything: your goals, your history, your talents, your achievements, etc. Have a conversation with the interviewer rather than just answering questions. Asking questions is also important, to show that you take initiative and are invested in your career path as well as the company’s success. Finally, make sure you are prepared for the tough questions. To help you out, here are a few that you may be asked, and a quick guideline on how to answer them:
What is your management style?
For this question, focus on your team. Set parameters such as: communicates effectively with the team, delegates as necessary, is ready to help when needed, gives continuous feedback, gives recognition. Another good attribute to mention here is adaptability and flexibility. Every situation is different at work and good managers must have the ability to adapt depending on what they are being faced with.
How do you delegate tasks?
Discuss the things you will do to better understand your employees and their skills, such as weekly briefs or monthly one-on-one meetings, in order to understand who is the expert in each area of your department. You can also show off your organization skills by suggesting the tools and technologies that you use to assign and track projects.
How do you manage a problematic employee?
This question reflects on your ability to communicate with your employees, to train them, as well as to take responsibility for the outcomes. Be sure to mention that you will adopt a balanced style of management with your team to help improve their performance and understanding of the tasks assigned, and that you take responsibility for the shortcomings of your team, and will work diligently to correct them. At the same time, you will promote ownership and accountability at all levels.
How do you evaluate success?
For this question, explain how you will ensure that your team works efficiently and productively as a whole unit, meeting deadlines, and achieving set goals. Also reinforce the importance of a content, happy team that is motivated and excited to play their part and put in the effort towards the success of the department and the company.
Be sure to use specific examples and scenarios you’ve encountered and that relate to each of the above questions.
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