The decision has been made; it’s time to move on from your current job. You’ve updated your CV, submitted a couple of applications and now have interviews lined up.

Having the right manager can make your working life easier and a lot more enjoyable. Entering the interview with this in mind it’s going to be useful to try figure out whether your new boss will be the mentor and leader you’re looking for to help drive your career forwards.

Spot a bad boss during an interview.

During an interview you can learn a lot about a company and the hiring manager. To help, we’ve highlighted some of the top things to look out for to make sure you don’t end up with a bad boss.

1. What are their priorities?

Listen to the questions they ask you, try to understand what their priorities are. What they want to know about you can highlight some significant insights into their personality and what they will be like as a manager. One example of this would be if they ask about your future goals and how you plan to reach them - this demonstrates they have an interest in your professional development, which could include future training and additional qualifications. Working for a manager with no interest in your future career just feels a waste of time; they should want you to succeed as much as you do.

They might ask questions around what you like doing at the weekend, or where your next holiday is, this could be a good indication they actually care about you as an individual and highlight they agree in a good work-life balance. 

2. What are they looking for?

Are they looking for someone who is going to show leadership skills and be a potential leader, or someone who will follow instructions precisely? Look out for questions around examples of when you have used your  initiative or if they want to know about previous responsibilities in past jobs. If you’re hoping to move into a more supervisory position these types of questions could be key. 

3. Find out how they like to manage.

Ask them your own questions and create a two-way conversation; this is the most upfront way of establishing whether a manager will be a good leader. You can be direct and ask what their preferred management style is. How does it fit with your preferred style?

However if you wish to be more more subtle, ask about the manager’s experience; find out if they have had a similar career path to you - it’s worth having a look at their LinkedIn profile too before the interview in preparation. If you share similarities it  could help with making your working relationship run smoothly, however it’s always good to be confident and use your past experience to advise of what has worked in previous roles for you and what hasn't.  

Take a moment to note how the hiring manager is answering your questions. Do they take the time to ensure they’re providing an answer respectfully and patiently or can you sense boredom? During your interview you will be able to pick up on the hiring manager’s communication skills. If they can provide plenty of clear and concise information and listen closely to what you have to say, this is a positive sign for a successful working relationship.

4. Listen to the unsaid.

Don’t forget to also pay attention to the unspoken aspects of an interview. An example could be if you find a hiring manager is stuck to their phone while interviewing, even if they are carrying out work duties. This could be seen as rude and potentially someone you’d want to avoid working with.

If you have more than one interviewer watch how the hiring manager interacts with the other person, are they friendly or abrupt? You can pick up here how they potentially treat others - ask about the wider team and what working relationships are like. Do they respond negatively to this question? Why is this, could it be due to a strained relationship with their existing employees?

A recent survey showed 73% of employees who have experienced poor management or a poor manager have considered leaving a job and, among these, a staggering 55% actually quit their job because of bad management.

These statistics highlight how important having a good boss impacts job satisfaction. By paying attention to your potential new manager during interview will help you gain a better understanding what kind of leader they are, you wouldn’t want to leave it too late and end up with a bad boss. 

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