BLUF: What key differences do you see in a "relationship management" role verus a traditional management role & how would you address them?
I recently (this past Monday 05-17) interviewed for a Relationship Manager position with my current employer. I prepared for the interview the way I've prepared for other interviews. I took the job description (position listing) and plucked out some of the key phrases such as "service recovery" and "drive client retention" and "coordinates projects" and so forth. With those headlines, I then come up with my SODARs for each. (Situation, Opportunity, Decision, Action, Result) With a one page cheat sheet like that, I have historically been prepared for any & every question thrown my way during the interview process (sometimes as many as three interviews for the same job on the single cheat sheet.)
This interview, however, was only 8 questions long and, boy, were they doozies! "At what point in your career did you first realize you had a passion for service?" Erm, that wasn't in the job description. Nowhere did it say "Ideal applicant must have a passion for service" - I object! LOL
I think I handled it pretty well but there's still time ticking away before I'll know if I made it to the next round (two out of three.)
In addition to my usual prep work using the job description, I got some coaching from my current boss (a VP) and a colleague (who is a manager & used to work for the hiring group, did a fair approximation of an older version of the job itself) and two people who currently hold the job - one in the same location for the same hiring manager/VP & another in another location/working for another manager/VP.
This role is an external-facing role - meaning, I would be managing the company-to-company relationship some of our larger clients have with us. I didn't think it would be too much of a stretch because there are similar key focus items:
- manage the individual as an individual, don't apply a unilateral management style, tweak to fit as needed.
- long-term relationship development is crucial to being able to identify shifts in mood, problem areas, etc.
- building that history through consitency allows "glitches" to be noticed much more readily (much like "start the O3 with the same questions every time")
- problem-solving skills, resolution and growth/development of the relationship is important (whether to get the DR promoted or the client to sign up for a new product).
From the tone of the questions I got though, I'm starting to second-guess my inclinations. For me, being assigned to a base of clients is not too terribly different from having a group of DRs - communication, feedback, celebrating success, prioritization, achieving goals, finding new solutions, growing.
Perhaps I'm feeling off-kilter because the question style was COMPLETELY different from all the other interviews I've had here (across three different departments.) Traditionally, the questions have related directly to the position description and have been centered around "tell me about a time when ..." types of things and the interviewers are specifically after things you HAVE done rather than how you might handle a situation. This interviewer was all about "how you might handle the situation" which just flabbergasted me, in all honesty.
So if you've run across this type of "management" position before, what do you see in a "relationship management" role verus a "traditional management role" & how would you address those differences?
As always, thanks in advance for whatever insights & wisdom you're willing & able to provide here!