Recently, we got an email in response to our post “Can You Spot a Bad Boss Before You Take a Job?” The reader, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, asked
“If jobs are scarce, and the only opportunity is working with a difficult manager, would you recommend taking it?”
In a further email exchange, he explained the background to his concern: he had recently interviewed at a company on the recommendation of a friend, who warned him that the hiring manager was both a micromanager and passive-aggressive. Previous employees had quit or been fired because of this manager. Our reader wondered: given the still-sluggish economy, would we recommend taking the job anyway?
We turned to Alison Doyle of About.com’s Job Searching site for advice.
“I’d be very hesitant to take a job where you know, upfront, that you’re going to be working with a difficult person,” Doyle says. “It’s much harder to undo getting hired … than it is to politely decline.”
In an article on her site, Doyle lists several reasons for declining a job offer, including the financial health of the company, lack of opportunities for advancement, and compensation issues — but notably, the character of your prospective boss is right at the top of the page.
“If you have serious doubts that this individual would be a positive and supportive boss then proceed with caution,” Doyle writes. “Ask for the opportunity to meet with other staff who report to your prospective supervisor and ask some neutral sounding questions: How would you describe her management style? What do you like most about his as manager? What type of mentoring have you received?”
If the answers are negative, you might want to hold off on signing that offer letter.
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