I was recently asked to submit a 750 word paper on my “Management Philosophy” as a requirement of the interview process for a position to which I had applied.
I must admit I was a little surprised at the “school-work” feel of this request but, after asking a few experienced people I trust, I learned this is not necessarily an odd request…although they felt the word count stipulation was “different”.
Anyway, in for a penny; in for a pound. I wrote the paper. I honestly had a tough time keeping it to 750 words and ended up at just over a thousand. I was very nervous about the whole thing. I have been managing people for so long there are things I “do” and taken together as a whole I suppose they do represent a philosophy or, at least, the approach I tend to take with my people and projects.
Another thing I was nervous about was the reasoning behind the request. Was I so incoherent in the interview that the hiring manager needed something in writing to determine if I was a rambling fool or not? I was also nervous about unintentional plagiarism. I had to do some googling to determine what all components of a “management philosophy are. I skimmed articles looking for structure and facets covered but not reading deeply so as to not, accidentally, include someone else’s thoughts in my philosophy.
I talked about goal/objective settings, motivational techniques, career development, how I approach coming to an established team as a new leader, and how I planned to align with the existing leadership. I completed several edits, winnowing down from over 1500 words to the aforementioned ~1000. I passed it by my wife, my best friend (an HR VP) and then poured over it for errors myself.
In the end, I wasn’t embarrassed by it, which is the best I could hope for with my entrenched imposter-syndrome.
It’s been 2 days and I still haven’t heard back.
Has anyone else had this sort of request? How did you feel about it? How did it turn out?