10 steps to spotting a bad boss

Bad boss at desk yelling

Keep these ten points in mind when sitting your next interview to reduce the likelihood of being hired by a ‘bad boss’, says Sweta Singh.

It’s quite likely that you’ll encounter bad bosses at some point during your career. They might lead you to leave for a new job. So, when you are considering for a new job you must also keep in mind on how your boss is, with whom you are going to work with.

A job interview is not all about how employers assess the applicant; it’s also about how the applicant is evaluating the job and the boss. Bad bosses are often unkind, doesn’t empathize, are really bad communicators and don’t care about employees.

It is really important to steer clear of the bad boss and a toxic working environment as day to day pessimism and unhappiness can make a very optimistic employee also feel low and suffocated.

These few pointers will help you in identifying a bad boss during a job interview.

1. Watch if they show up late

There are chances they will appear late for the interview. One of my candidates was sharing an experience with me when he had to wait for an interview for around 50 minutes. He had to raise the query to reception about the same twice. When the interviewer appeared, his expressions were like “oh my god, one more interview”. He could clearly see the unwillingness in the interviewer about the interview even after appearing late.

2. Take care with disrespectful behaviour

Stay cautious to the disrespectful behaviour. Like not honouring the start time and end time of the interview. Coming straight to the point without initial etiquettes. Avoiding usual formalities like a greeting, introduction, and some light conversation to make the interviewee feel comfortable. Belittling you by making fun or minimizing your accomplishments. There are chances that later on they will be criticizing you instead of lifting you up and they would only be bothered about their work being done and not you as a person.

3. Be warned if they ask illegal questions

They might very often ask illegal questions related to your personal life like about your marriage, child, relationship status etc. Pay a very close attention to the questions they ask and the kind of words they are choosing.

The words they choose while having the conversation will give you a glimpse of their mindset.

4. Take care if they’re an impatient or bad listener

During one of my interviews, I had an encounter with an impatient bad listener interviewer. He would ask me a question but seemed to be in too hurry to wait for the answer and would jump to next question, by himself deciding if I knew the answer to the first question or not.

Be cautious and alarmed if you face such situation. As a boss, they may lack empathy to a great deal and would not care for you as a person.

5. Trust your instincts

Did you get a positive feeling after meeting the person? Is this the person who can be your mentor at a job or to whom you can look for your problems? Keep analyzing the same during your interview process.

6. Assess the mood of the bay?

Keep a close watch on how people at the bay or the floor react after seeing that hiring manager. Do people avoid them, do their team hurry and rush to the seat once they get a glance of their manager. Uneasy shifting, lack of eye contact reflects that the team doesn’t have a healthy relationship with them.

7. When Boss derides or distrust the employees

At the time of the interview, both the sides are expected to showcase the best behaviour. At that particular time also, if the boss derides the team member in front of others or openly shows distrust, it an alarm for you of the kind of behaviour you are also going to face.

8. Be cautious over extreme friendliness

Sounds odd but if the behaviour of the boss during the interview is too good to be true, it actually is. When you feel everything is going too well, and perhaps the professionalism isn’t what you’d expect, something could be wrong, so beware.

9. Take care if they’re distracted

Bad bosses seem to be distracted enough other than focusing on the interview. It’s a red flag when there is a distraction of checking emails, answering phone calls messaging etc in between the interview. The interview isn’t important to them.

10. Note if they lack vision clarity

If the hiring manager is not clear about the vision and the goal they want to achieve and what skill set they need to have in their team for achieving those goals, they are definitely not a good boss and would not be able to lead you.

A bad boss uses fear to get the work done and hold the talent back. Doesn’t give the talent enough nurturing and leadership to grow. Don’t settle for such an opportunity which will lead you to stress and pessimism.

Another scenario is if the position isn’t real – it’s speculative, so they haven’t even thrashed out the specifics of the job yet.

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