If you are in the market for a new job, you may have thought some of the ads for "management trainee" sounded exciting. Have you ever checked to see exactly what a management training program is or what you would be required to do? The elements of a management training program can vary widely between companies, so you should be sure to have your role defined more clearly before you give up your existing job.
Ask The Recruiter
When you respond to the ad, one of your first questions should be to ask for a definition of the term "management trainee." In some cases, trainees are truly being groomed for management. In other cases, every employee is known as a trainee, but only certain people will be chosen to advance.
While it is certainly a valid training protocol to have trainees perform or be certified on each task they will be supervising, management training should include much more than that.
At a minimum, any management training program should include an orientation to company policies, employee supervision, company structure and politics, time management, diversity, safety and federal employment laws. If the program in which you are interested includes none of these things, it is a sign that the program will not prepare you for being a successful manager.
This might be one of the most important points to consider when looking into a management training program. How much will you have to pay? You never want to get into a situation where you are paying someone for the honor of working for them. Make sure before you sign anything that you will be the one receiving a check, not writing one.
Try to find out before you join the program what the advancement potential is. Do they expect to be placing you in a management position within 6 months? 6 years? Where are the positions located? If the answers to these questions don't fit with your expectations, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.