Use good interview questions to avoid bad bosses.
This is a guest post by Andrew Rondeau.
You have been invited to attend an interview. You've been waiting a long time for this one.
This could be the perfect job.
The company has a great employment brand and future, and the vacancy sounds great as well. Good pay, great prospects, great perks.
This is THE job to die for. Your dream job.
You can see yourself in the job.
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The big day arrives
You're prepared and have all the answers ready with all the examples, your work portfolio is in hand, you look great, are well-groomed and your clothes are sharp (that recent shopping trip will be worth it).
You're feeling confident and fully prepared.
But are you?
The relationship between managers and direct reports is a critical factor in morale, productivity and retention of high performers.
One thing which causes high stress in individuals at work is the bad management style of their boss. You get used to the pay, perks and prospects, but they become insignificant when your boss is a bad manager.
You do not get used to bad managers, especially very bad ones. Studies show that bad bosses are the number one reason people leave their jobs.
How do you define a bad manager?
We all have different definitions for the term “bad”.
Some may say their managers are bad because “I never get any praise,” others may say it's “because you never see them and they don't communicate” or because “he is so arrogant, always believing he is right and everyone else is wrong.”
Much has been written about the habits or traits of bad managers, but how do you tell if your prospective boss will be a bad one?
You are just about to be interviewed for the job of your life, but how do you know whether you'll want to work for the individual (assuming they will be your boss)?
Remember that interviews are a two-way process, as much for the potential employee's benefit as for the employer.
The job interview begins
The time for the interview has arrived.
The the prospective manager meets you in the glamorous reception 30 minutes late, their handshake is weak and clammy, and no apology is forthcoming for them being late.
In silence, they lead you to the interview room which is a few minutes walk from the reception. There is no offer of a drink.
Their smartphone goes off. It is a friend, or at least, you assume it is because they have a five-minute conversation about last night's TV, with quite a lot of swearing going on throughout.
You're thinking, “this is a test, isn't it? They're wondering how I'm going to react.” Except that it's not a test, this is how they are.
The interview starts late. Standard questions are fired at you, with no eye contact taking place. They don't even look at you when you're talking, just looking down whilst taking a few notes.
Your gut is telling you: this is not the job for you. However, you decide to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they might just be having a bad day and this isn't how they really are.
Now it is your turn to ask questions. How are you going to know if they are a great, or at least a good manager?
Here are some important questions you need to ask to get warning signs of a toxic boss.
5 interview questions to test your next boss
1) What is your management style?
Are they silent? Do they have to think about it?
Are they vague?
Do they mention words like “supportive, approachable or decision maker”?
2) Have you ever asked for feedback on your management style, and what were the results?
A good manager will always be looking to improve their performance and style and one of the best ways to do this, is to ask their staff for feedback.
If they have asked for this feedback, follow up by asking how have they used it to improve their style?
3) When was the last time you took forward an employee suggestion or idea?
Bad managers don't follow up on employee ideas.
Are they struggling in their answer?
Is the example they give worthy of a great manager?
If they do provide a worthy answer, it shows they are supportive, approachable and they listen. A great manager removes all obstacles to help their staff do the best job possible.
4) When was the last time you praised an employee or team member, and why?
If they haven't ever done this, or the examples given are weak, be wary.
Bad managers withhold praise. One of the biggest staff motivators is praise from their manager.
5) What is your opinion on employee development and training?
Have you ever been denied a professional development opportunity, because your own manager said that it would take too much time away from work? Is that why you are thinking of moving roles?
Bad managers ignore professional growth needs, whilst great managers support their staff's ongoing development.
Bonus question to ask
6) How do you delegate tasks?
Do they delegate? Do they micro-manage?
Great managers build trust in their staff. A quick and easy way to do this is to delegate pieces of work, which uses and exploits individuals' strengths, all with the right level of control.
Overall, just remember the interview is two-way. You are interviewing your manager and the company, as well as them interviewing you.
You can ask any questions you want and if you ask the right ones, you won't end up working for an incompetent, bad manager who will make you miserable and your career won't suffer.
Question of the article
Have you ever left an interview saying to yourself “if they don't call me, I won't miss anything”? Tell us in the comments.
What others are saying
- 6 Red Flags That Say Your Boss Is Going To Be A Nightmare
- Top 9 Ways to Spot a Bad Boss
- What was your shortest tenure in a job before walking out and why?
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