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3 Ways to Recognize a Terrible Potential Boss in an Interview

Have you ever been so psyched for a landing a job interview at a promising employer, only to be completely turned off to the opportunity thanks to the behavior of your potential boss? It happens more often than candidates like to admit, which is why it's important to be able to recognize a bad boss when you meet one. Here's how.

Have you ever been so psyched for a landing a job interview at a promising employer, only to be completely turned off to the opportunity thanks to the behavior of your potential boss? It happens more often than candidates like to admit, which is why it’s important to be able to recognize a bad boss when you meet one. Here’s how.

terrible boss - interview tips

(Photo Credit: Andreas/Flickr)

Terrible bosses are, well, terrible. If you’ve ever had one before, you surely never want another one … ever, ever again. They can make your life a living hell, not to mention do a number on your self-confidence. As a professional who probably has great aspirations for his or her career, you’ll want to do everything in your power to steer clear of micro-managing, self-centered, disrespectful bosses who are only out for themselves. Here are three ways you can sniff out a bad seed during the interview stage and save yourself from a dead-end job, thanks to your awful (potential) boss.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. Late for the interview and doesn’t care – Yes, we’re all busy and have a million things to do in a day, however, if your potential boss is 1) late to the interview and 2) unapologetic for his tardiness, then chances are he’s not going to care to give you the time of day once you sign your life away and accept the job. A good boss is considerate of other people’s time and understands that time is money – it simply can’t be wasted – regardless of who you are or aren’t in the organization. Strike one.

2. Fails to acknowledge you or anyone, really – Ha! Check this guy out. Not only was your potential boss tardy to the interview, but he also sat down without acknowledging you or anyone else in the room. What’s the deal? First things first, don’t take it personally – it’s probably him, not you. Second, take this as a sign that he couldn’t care less about you or anyone else, or that he’s so self-absorbed that he is only concerned about his (and only his) schedule. Strike two for Mr. Inconsiderate Tardy Man.

3. Boasts about life’s accomplishments – If the interviewer reverts to, “Hey guys, why don’t we talk about how awesome I am,” then you’ll know that Terrible Boss is, in fact, terrible at “bossery.” People who are self-absorbed and constantly talking about themselves are usually toxic and make for terrible leaders. The best thing you can do at this point is to try and bring the conversation back to the job opportunity or the company’s goals. If your attempts to steer the conversation back to the job, then all you can do is let the rest of the interview play out. At least you know you gave it your best shot, but, unfortunately, Mr. Boss just struck out. Game over. The good news is, he actually did you a really big favor by being terrible and helped you dodge a bullet in your career.

At any job interview, it’s best to be fully prepared and put your best foot forward. Be sure to spruce up on your interview skills (here and here), so that you can land your dream job like a boss (a non-terrible one, of course).

Tell Us What You Think

Have you had a similar encounter with a terrible boss during a job interview and ended up taking the job? Let us know how your experience turned out and how you’re holding up. Share your story with our community on Twitter.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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