I am looking for advice on handling a potential job interview topic. I am currently in a Senior Analyst role and looking to move in a more managerial direction. My technical skills, industry experience and track record of delivery are very strong. I expect hiring managers will be more concerned about my lack of management experience, which could be a chicken/egg scenario if I can’t be trusted with my own team without proven experience of leading one.
I have managed one apprentice for the past 2 years. I think this has been a good introduction for 2 reasons:
- Their inexperience gives our relationship a kind of student/teacher dynamic. I know I can give feedback and advice without causing offense, and it’s often necessary as the person lacks the skills & experience to be simply left to do their work.
- My employer has a formal apprentice/graduate development program, so I am forced to have regular meetings to discuss development and ensure they obtain sufficiently wide experience. I think when managing someone more seasoned, there’s a risk of thinking that since their work is being done, everything must be in order and skipping these tasks.
Outside of work, I am a keen long-distance runner and also coach other runners competing at a good amateur level – a major success was one of my runners qualifying for a national championship race. My query is whether this could be framed as relevant experience for a more senior role. In my mind, there are similarities:
- A task/project with clear objective vs a race with a goal time/position.
- I’m overseeing the delivery of both by someone else (this part of coaching is arguably harder since I have absolutely no authority over the person).
- Running has its own KPIs for performance and training-load, that must be used intelligently along with more subjective considerations.
- I need to understand my runners and tailor my approach to get the best out of them. For example, I coach one who is reassured by a long & detailed training plan; another finds this kind of structure stifling and becomes anxious when they see very challenging workouts written down. I consciously think about whether a situation calls for my parent/teacher/drill-sergeant hat.
Part of me thinks that this is just as valid as leadership experience from a more professional setting. But I also fear that some hiring managers will think it’s ridiculous from a supposedly experienced professional, and the sort of weak example a new graduate might give.
What is everyone's take on this? Has anyone been in a similar situation on either side of the table?