All your dreams are made
When you're chained to the mirror and the razor blade
Today's the day that all the world will see
Another sunny afternoon
I help run a recruiting firm at Kinetix. One of the things that we do with open positions is something called the intake call.
What's an intake call? It's us running through our methodology and extracting what's most important for the hiring manager related to the open position. It's real story behind the job description and runs through all the areas you would expect - performance factors, money, what happened to the last candidate, the sub-culture within the team in question, etc.
Anyway, with some high-end searches, I get the ability to be involved in the intake call. I was doing that at one point over the last two weeks and as the executive in question was trying to describe what went wrong with the last incumbent in the position, he riffs the following:
"He's the Managerial Equivalent of Tom Thibodeau"
Boom. At times, it's hard for hiring managers to articulate why someone failed in a role. I didn't ask for a comparison, but we had a common interest in basketball and he gave me that one unsolicited.
After he said that, I had what I needed. It was like the scene in Armageddon where Owen Wilson asks what it will be like on the Asteroid. Once he hears a few of the conditions, he cuts the scientist off and say, "So - Scariest Environment Imaginable - That's all you gotta say...".
What did he mean with that comparison? Tom Thibodeau is a world class professional basketball coach who absolutely grinds on his players and doesn't give an inch on his process.
As a result of that, the last team he was with (Chicago Bulls) grew weary of his style over time. The players started hating to play for him. His front office (think the execs in your company) grew tired of battling with him for what they considered to be reasonable queries into what he was doing with the team.
In short, he was a taskmaster. And taskmasters generally get voted off the island over time. That's what the manager was trying to tell me. We need someone that's process oriented and believes in their approach, but will take care of employees on their team and be a progressive, collaborative leader along the way.
Sometimes intake calls need comparisons. Find out what you have in common with the hiring manager and ask for comparisons with that lens in mind.