4 Ways to Spot a Bad Boss in an Interview

By Chelsea Babin

Nothing ruins an otherwise excellent job opportunity like a bad boss. Whether they’re micromanagers or argumentative or intolerant of wok/life balance you can spot bad bosses in the interview if you know what you’re looking for. These 4 ways to spot a bad boss in an interview can save you from accepting a job that would turn out to be a nightmare!

1. Ask About Their Management Style: Get straight to the point and ask about their management style! Some people aren’t all around bad bosses but they’ll simply have a management style that you aren’t a fan of or don’t work well under. The first step to understanding if this boss would make your work experience wonderful or terrible is simply to ask what their management style is!

2. See How Others React to Them: Observations of the rest of the office are one of your best insights during a job interview. Bad bosses may know how to present an idealistic picture when they’re one-on-one with you but, if you get the chance to see them interact with other employees, you’ll get to see what this boss’ relationships with his or her employees are really like. Warning signs to look out for is an office that gets awkwardly quiet when the boss walks in, a boss who stops by to hover over their employees, or a boss who complains about an employee to you behind their back or to their face.

3. Look for Blame in Their Stories: A bad boss always blames others and never takes on any personal responsibility. If an employer is telling a story about a recent project or if you ask them what the causes of the company’s biggest problems are and they speak dismissively about their employees or consistently blame others without taking any personal responsibility that should be a major red flag. After all, the employee that could be blamed in the future is you if you accept this position!

4. Hiring Speed Prioritized Over the Right Fit: You can’t really blame an employer for wanting to fill their empty positions ASAP because looking for a new employee can be an incredibly costly, lengthy process. However, if a boss seems to only be focusing on when you can start or how quickly you can get to work they might not be looking for the right fit for the position. That means that other employees were probably hired in the same fashion and they’ve cobbled together an office full of people who may not work well together or even work well in the positions they were hired for. All bosses want to hire quickly but a bad boss will ignore your questions about company culture and only want to know how soon you can come in and get to work.

When you’re so focused on presenting your best self in an interview you may miss the warning signs and end up working for a boss that you don’t like. These 4 ways to spot a bad boss in an interview can help you make a better decision about your future place of employment and whether or not you really want to accept this position should it be offered to you. Good luck in finding the right job and the right boss for you!