Bad Boss

Apart from salary and a preferred job profile, what are the two most important external factors that contribute towards you being in a happy space at work?

There is a strong likelihood that you may state it to be the work culture in your office and your relationship with your reporting manager / boss. A good boss is necessary to keep you out of unwanted office politics, and leverage your skills to achieve optimal results for the growth of your organization as well as your own growth.

If at all you are unable to maintain a healthy relationship with your boss at work, it may hamper your efficiency and even that of your team. A bad boss will make your job unbearable to you, irrespective of whether you have the best job profile and salary.

And the fact is you do not get a choice of your boss, while you are being interviewed for a particular position in an organization. And that is your only chance to identify a bad boss, before he / she becomes yours. As Alex Mally (Chief Executive at CPA, Australia) states, “Digging beneath the surface is often required to uncover the true personality of the person sitting across from you.”

So, how do you spot the difference between a good boss and a bad boss during your job interview?

What questions do you need to ask during your interview to understand the working style or leadership style of your boss?

Let us discuss the important tips to identify a bad boss here.

Track Moments of Distraction

For an interviewer, the most important priority should be evaluating the candidate being interviewed, so as to give a valuable resource to the company. If you observe the interviewer getting distracted and not paying attention to what you are saying, then, these are not good signs. It means your future boss (the interviewer) is not a good listener, and may not take time out for you.

You can look out for signs like when the interviewer is checking mails, engaging in a Whatsapp chat, or perhaps even attending calls by interrupting your interview. Such moments indicate that your future boss does not value time of others.

Look Out for Informal Mannerisms

Irrespective of how a person is in real life, you did expect your future boss to be absolutely professional with regards to the company and related work. There are chances that your interviewer is way too informal and uses slang language while communicating with a stranger like you, who may or may not work for the same company in the future. If you come across such a potential boss, you know that he / she is neither serious about the work, nor about the company’s image / reputation in front of others. The risk of having an informal boss is that you may not always have communication proofs in the form of emails, and you may possibly receive work related calls outside of working hours. So, it is better to always seek out for a professional boss.

Make a Note of Usage of Pronouns

A pronoun used in a sentence can often help you to determine the hidden meaning behind it. So, it is important to carefully note the particular pronouns used by your interviewer and the context in which they get used.

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For example, if your future boss says that “you may have to face a lot of flak for deliverables that contain bugs or issues”, it means that he may not be a good leader who accepts blame for failure of his team mates. In this sentence, if ‘we’ is used in place of ‘you’, it could mean that your future boss understands the essence of teamwork, especially in crisis situations. Similarly, if the interviewer tells you that “I completed 3 successful sales or projects”, it would imply that he / she does not give enough credit to the team, and instead likes to take full credit for any successful work done.

Do Not Go In With Pre-Conceived Notions of a Bad Boss

An important thing to do before going for an interview with your prospective boss is to stay away from any preconceived notions or expectations.

If you are someone who likes to be mentored and told about things to do, you may wish for a boss who is quite dominant and leads the way for you always.

However, if you do not like too much interference and wish to have a leader who sits back and motivates you to lead the show, then the dominant boss would seem like a bad boss to you.

It is better to go in with an open mind and accept that you won’t always get what you want! Perhaps, the other type of boss could bring out the best in you.

It is just that you need to trust your instincts to know that your future boss does not come across as too dominant or too laid back. Those are not the signs of very successful leaders!

Research More about Your Future Boss

If you are not lucky enough to be interviewed by your future manager, at least try to seek some information about him / her from the interviewer.

You can then try and research about that company and person online on LinkedIn, Glassdoor or other professional forums. You will come to know about the contentment of people who have worked for that company or even under your future boss. You may even be able to check out his / her achievements, professional interests and goals.

Also, any testimonials written for your prospective boss may help you to understand his / her personality better. If your interviewer has several references, it may solve your problem straightaway.

This helps you to prepare your mindset for tackling a different kind of personality, which you may or may not like. Ultimately, you should give that person a chance, as you never know you might strike a great rapport, unlike others.

Hope the above information helps you to identify a bad boss at the interview stage. Do you have any questions or points to add here? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!

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