Don’t Take a Job Because You Like Your Future Boss

After a year and a half hiatus, I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing lately.  As of about five/six months ago, the activity in the job market for digital sales people has increased quite a bit.  I’ve seen alot of folks who have been with companies for years take the plunge and try something different.  One of the things I’ve noticed is that quite a few people have told me that they were wooed out of their past positions by someone they admire.  A former boss, mentor or acquaintance who heavily recruited them to come and work for them.

One candidate, who took a job primarily for this reason, found herself in a quandry when, after only five months, her mentor-boss, whom she took the job to work for, decided he was not happy and left the company.  Another candidate who went to a start-up, primarily to work for a particular individual, was not happy when just a few months after he was hired, the company was bought by an established ad network. Boom, just like that, he had a different boss.

Yes, it’s important to like the person you work for.  Yes, it’s important to respect the person you work for.  And, yes, it’s important to feel as though you can learn and grow professionally through the directives of a strong boss.  But, it’s not a good enough reason to make a move.  Always evaluate the opportunity in its entirety before jumping ship.

Some of the things you should consider investigating before you do make a job change…

1) Find out if anyone has held your position before you?  What happened to that person?  Did she leave on her own fruition?  If so, how long was she there before her departure?  If it was only a few months, that could be a red flag.  The best thing to do in this situation is to ask to meet with some of your potential co-workers and see if you can get a feel for their state of mind and morale. You might be able to do a little covert digging and even find out that person’s name, and contact her to politely ask if she has any advice before you make a decision about whether or not to fill her shoes.

2) Make sure you clearly understand what will be expected of you. If you are in sales, find out your quota and client/agency list.  If you’ve got a $3MM annual quota to fill but are given a completely developmental list, perhaps you will be setting yourself up for failure.

3) Without sounding like you don’t want to work hard and you’re not willing to put in some overtime, ask pointed questions about the work/home-life balance? Again, you don’t have to ask the boss – get some face time with your peers in the office.  Find out about the culture. Ask what time the usual day begins and ends.

4) If you are taking a job mostly because you really admire the person you’ll be working for, the next question is a moot point.  But, if you don’t know too much about your future boss, get an idea about his/her management style. If you know you don’t like to be micro-managed, then working for a hands-on manager might not be your best bet.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….interviewing is a two-way process.  They are not only choosing you.  You are choosing them.  Make sure to select wisely.

Carpe diem….

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