Aspiring Ainsley just passed his 90-day probation at an entry-level job and schedules a meeting with HR to ask where he can apply for a manager position. Ambitious or delusional? Who knows, maybe a bit of both! But it begs the question: How do you know if you are management material? What are employers looking for anyway?
The 70/30 Rule
Having worked with clients both locally and overseas (about a 30 per cent – 70 per cent split), I can tell you there is no clear answer, but there certainly are trends. Some local companies still look for the traditional pre-requisites: education, peer and supervisor references, industry knowledge and experience, and prior management experience. This last requirement is really a catch twenty-two. The result is that many high-potential managers are excluded from consideration due to one or two unchecked boxes. Companies from North America and the UK are more flexible on the education and qualifications side, but sometimes rely too much on ‘personality’ fit, preferring candidates who build rapport with them, at the expense of solid management skills. So what’s an aspiring employee to do?
The best advice I can give is simply this: build your experiences on a solid foundation, much like you build a house. Build it and they will come! Here are some competencies that all employers want to see:
Once you have these skills, half the battle is won. The other half is being able to confidently present them in the interview process. Another hurdle that must be crossed! Hiring an Interview Coach to work with you is an effective, and worthy investment. Having coached job-seeking managers on interview skills I have seen time and time again that the best-skilled candidate will almost certainly NOT get the job if interview skills are lacking.
Finally, consider your motivation for moving into management, a role carrying much higher responsibility and stress. Let’s say the management post would equate to an additional $20,000 JMD per month, then you must consider your options. Perhaps a part-time job in teaching or real-estate, or working overtime, could yield a similar cash lift. If selling Avon on-the-side would reward you an additional $35,000 JMD per month, which would you choose? If you still choose management, money is likely not your main motivator, and you will enjoy the sober pursuit of becoming a manager.
Debra Fraser M. BA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions – a leading HR Outsourcing and Consultancy firm, a member of the BPIAJ, HRMAJ – Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and SHRM Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com