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10 Signs You Are Interviewing With a Bad Boss

When you’re interviewing with your future manager, he is assessing you for a fit in the organization and his team. This is also the time for you to get to meet with him and assess if he's a good boss to work with – for you.

When you’re interviewing with your future manager, he is assessing you for a fit in the organization and his team. This is also the time for you to get to meet with him and assess if he’s a good boss to work with – for you.

bad boss

(Photo Credit: betsystreeter/Flickr)

Here are a few telltale signs of bad bosses.

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  1. 1. They get straight to the point: When you are attending an interview, there’s a usual formality of greeting, introducing oneself, setting the context of the interview, and making the interviewee comfortable. This is basic etiquette. If the interviewer just blurts out a “good morning” and begins the questioning process, it’s a red flag. This boss is only concerned about work and not the person performing the work. So requests for leaves, promotion, etc. could be very tough discussions to have.
  2. 2. They are impatient: When you’re answering a question, they’re too impatient to let you finish your thought. They make hand gestures signaling you to hurry up and finish or interrupt you to ask a counter question or finish up your sentences. Such a boss is difficult to work with and may not give you the time or space to do your job well.
  3. 3. They are distracted: Checking email during the interview, making or receiving calls, and stepping out to give instructions to the secretary are all signs that the boss will not have time for you. If they cannot take time to assess a future team member, then the role may not be all that important to their view.
  4. 4. Their body language is intimidating/cautious: Looking down at you, pointing fingers, and crossing legs on the table are all signs of an intimidating boss. On the other hand, if they do not make eye contact, shift uneasily, keep looking at their watch, rechecking your resume, then you have a boss who’s not confident and may not let you grow in your role. “An insecure boss will find you threatening if you are good at your job and will use the power of the position to make your life miserable,” says Pamela Lenehan, president of Ridge Hill Consulting and author of What You Don’t Know and Your Boss Won’t Tell You, speaking to Forbes.
  5. 5. The mood of the bay changes as they enter: If you’re waiting near their office for the interview, observe how the team behaves. Do the employees hurry and rush back to their seats at the sight of the boss or do they just wave a greeting and continue what they are doing. Uneasy shifting, lack of eye contact between the employees and the manager is a sure sign that they do not share a good working relationship with the manager.
  6. 6. They can’t tell you about your predecessor: When you ask the reason the role is vacant, if they tell you that the person is being fired, or that they weren’t a good fit or are being “moved” or if they simply dodge the question, you have a tell. They are uncomfortable discussing it and the reason the person holding the role previously left, could as well be because of the way the organization/the manager treated him/her.
  7. 7. They ask illegal questions: Or try to gather as much personal information as possible by asking you questions that can lead to answers they want to hear.
  8. 8. They don’t have a long-term vision: For the business, the team of your role. They are unable to clearly articulate what they think the future prospects are and how they plan to support their team get there.
  9. 9. They talk more than they listen: In other words, they love talking about themselves, what interests them, what their hobbies are, while hardly giving you an opportunity to speak or respond. That’s a sign right there that you may have to deal with a huge ego once on the job.
  10. 10. They don’t even interview you: If you are not scheduled to meet with your manager for an interview, that’s a huge red flag. Either your role isn’t completely chalked out, or the manager doesn’t have the time to meet with you for an interview and instead delegates the task to a fellow team member. Chances are he/she won’t have the time to guide/mentor you when you need it most.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you interviewed with a horrible boss? Do you have experiences to share? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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