George V. Reilly

Interviewing your next boss

Interviewing your next boss

Esther Schindler has a post about in­ter­view­ing your next boss: should a candidate dev manager meet everyone who’ll be reporting to them?

Yes. Definitely. If you want a successful, cohesive team, there has to be trust. A manager can make or break a team.

A new manager starts at a dis­ad­van­tage, relative to a new individual con­trib­u­tor. The new dev is expected to ramp up and have time to build re­la­tion­ships with the team. The new manager has to build the re­la­tion­ships as soon as possible.

If the manager gets to interview with the team before being offered the job, both parties benefit. Why would you want to manage a team that you’d never met? Shouldn’t the team have a chance to reject someone who’s a bad fit?

I’ve in­ter­viewed “up” twice, once for a dev manager and once for a CTO, at different jobs. But those were the exceptions. Every other time there was a change of manager at any job, I was not consulted.

The two interviews were successful: I’d work for either of them again.

The dev manager went through several hours of interviews with the team, meeting us two or three at a time. We in­ter­viewed developer candidates similarly. We asked different questions of the manager, of course. I remember asking him if he had ever laid off or fired someone.

The CTO got to meet the entire en­gi­neer­ing team en masse: a dozen or so of us grilled him for an hour and came away impressed.

I think that in either case if the teams had made serious objections, the candidate would not have been hired. Certainly, in both cases, the teams vetoed developer candidates.

It may be tra­di­tion­al, but I think it’s a mistake for companies not to have managers be in­ter­viewed by their future reports.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Safari 4: FAIL! » « Stack Overflow