Ten Job Interview Tips to Determine if Your Next Boss is Right for You

Guest Column
By Catharine Anderson

You get the call. You have an interview for what sounds like a dream job. Don’t forget, an interview should be a two way street. Yes, you are being interviewed to see if you are a good fit for the job, but remember you should also use the interview to determine if the job, and your new boss, will be right for you. Be prepared to ask questions. Listen carefully and observe your potential new boss. You want to be sure he or she will not be a bad one.

1) During the interview, does your new boss ask you questions and listen to what you have to say or does he or she do all of the talking? If he or she is dominating the interview and not allowing you to ask questions or cuts you short, this is a red flag. If he or she is not very interested in you now, he/she will not be very interested in what you have to say later.

2) Is your new boss to be giving you his or her undivided attention or is he or she distracted? Is he/she checking email and looking at his/her Blackberry every couple of minutes? Is he/she answering emails? Is he/she taking phone calls during the interview? A yes to any of these questions is a red flag. Not only is such behavior disrespectful and rude, it is a sign of what’s to come.

3) Pay attention to the types of phrases you new boss uses and whether or not he or she says “I” alot. These are big clues. Does he or she use phrases that imply teamwork or does he/she imply everything will be fine if you do things his or her way? This is very important if you are the type that likes to contribute and suggest new ways of doing things.

4) Ask questions about the previous person who held your position? Why did they leave? Ask about turnover rates in general and the potential for advancement. Is your new boss to be transparent and straight forward or does he/she hesitate and provide you with vague answers? Listen carefully. Not only will the answers provide clues but so will the way in which the new boss to be responds.

5) Come prepared with some “what if” questions. Design them to help you gauge whether your new boss to be is task oriented or people oriented. Try to find out if he or she is a team player or holds him or herself aloof. Try to find out if he or she has empathy and compassion or has a “this is a business” attitude towards personal problems.

6) Ask your new boss to be how long he or she has been with the company, what he or she did before and why he/she made the change. Again, pay attention to both the answers and how they are communicated. These can be huge clues.

7) Ask questions about your new boss to be’s expectations. Try to determine if he or she sounds like a micromanager or not.

8) Observe how your new boss to be interacts with other employees before and after the interview. Does he or she acknowledge them as they pass by? Does he or she speak to them? If so, pay attention to his/her body language and verbal communication as it will provide clues to how he/she treats staff members. Did he or she have positive or negative things to say about other employess during the interview? If he or she made negative comments about his or her co-workers, that is another red alert.

9) Evaluate how authentic your new boss to be seems to be. Is he or she down to earth and “real” or is he or she a phony putting on an act for you? If he or she makes everything sound too good to be true, beware.

10) Either before the interview or after, you may want to check out your new boss to be’s LinkedIn profile. See if you can find former employees who you can contact and ask for information about your new boss to be. You can also search ebosswatch.com. This is a site where people can rate bosses. Your new boss may or may not be listed and rated but you should look just in case.

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