I am about to go into an interview in a few days for a job in the IT field. My current employer is a micromanager and I am wanting to make sure this new employer is not. What kind of subtle questions could I ask that would give me the answer without flat out asking?
I would just ask about the methodology for managing the projects - how is work assigned, how are deadlines determined, where do requirements come from, how much freedom to choose tools and problem solutions do individual devs get etc.
Here are a couple questions:
"Can you describe a project where someone reporting to you did particularly well on a project? How did you help them be successful?"
If the manager responds that he guided them very closely and gave them a lot of feedback and direction, then be careful. The manager is defining success by how much they listened to them, rather than how much initiative the person took.
"Which of the projects your team is working on now are you personally most involved with? What have you been doing on the project?"
Here, look for answers like 'I try not to get to into the details of their projects -- I hire good people and let them work!'. Answers that go into minute detail could mean they can't let go of things at that level.
"What do you think my first project might be? Who would I be working with? Would you be involved?"
They should respond by saying you'll be part of a team and that the people you'll be primarily working with are your teammates!
Best of luck!
If you take the route of interviewing your future employer which I have done then it is really simple. You ask during the interview, "Do you have team members that I could talk to about the team dynamics and office culture?"
It is much easier to ask members of the team how projects are managed and how things go. As a hiring manager I wouldn't care if one of my senior people talked to a candidate. (wait unless I am a true micro-manager and then I would have a set script for that employee)
My current employer is a micromanager and I am wanting to make sure this new employer is not. What kind of subtle questions could I ask that would give me the answer without flat out asking?
You could say something like "You know, the one thing I'm looking to avoid this time around is a micro-manager!" That might work, although many folks don't recognize that trait in themselves.
Better would be to get to chat with some of your potential peers (other folks who work for this manager). Ask "What's it like to work for X? What do you like? What do you not like?"
Before this, be very clear in your own mind what constitutes "micro-managing" and what does not. Different shops have different views on this.