Over the course of my career, I have worked for some bad bosses. Some I inherited. Others I made a choice to go work for. Some were just not good at being a supervisor; the qualities needed to make them effective leaders escaped them. A few were just downright toxic. As you go through the interview process, paying attention to the warning signs of a bad boss can save you anywhere from a lot of frustration to a potentially catastrophic career decision. Here are eight habits to be on the lookout for:
1. They show up late for the job interview.
A hiring manager is as much on display during an interview as the candidate. An inability to keep appointments and respect other people’s time could be a warning sign that you will forever be waiting for meetings, direction, information, reports, etc. The fallout from this could flow directly to you as you become the fall guy for things not getting done. Or, it could simply be a source of everyday frustration.
2. Their office looks like a bomb went off in it. Sticky notes everywhere.
They cannot find a copy of your resume that you emailed to them. Stacks of paperwork on their desk and on the floor. Those are signs of a very good chance that they will manage haphazardly, as well. How will that affect your ability to fulfill your job expectations?
3. They ask a lot of questions about your personal life.
Potentially, certain questions may be illegal under state or federal statutes. Questions about religion, age, marital status, intent to have children… these are all areas where your rights are protected. You do not have to answer them. A hiring manager who crosses these lines is either untrained or unethical. Be wary!!
4. They are distracted during your interview.
The goal should be to hire the best candidate for the job. Reading or answering emails, accepting phone calls, texting on their cell, and having “This will only take a minute” conversations with other employees are all telltale signs of trouble down the road if you accept that position.
5. They spend more time talking about themselves than asking about you.
Go to work for this type of manager and every day could be filled with stories of their greatness. Worse yet, managers who have an overinflated opinion of themselves are more likely to take good ideas from their people and advance them through the organization as their own.
6. Anger management issues.
This is a hard one to spot because most hiring managers will be on their best behavior during interviews. Pay attention to how everyone else in the office responds. If they shy away or make themselves scarce when the manager walks around, this could be an indication of deeper trouble.
7. You show up for the interview and find out the manager is unavailable and has assigned you to someone else.
Emergencies cannot be avoided. But a good manager will, at least, reach out to you and let you know what is happening and what they are doing to make sure they do not waste your time.
8. They cannot communicate clearly what the goals and objectives of your position will be.
If they do not have a clear idea of what they want you to accomplish, how are they going to judge whether or not you are doing a good job?
Throughout my career, I have worked for a lot of different bosses. The good ones make the job enjoyable and a fruitful experience. The bad ones make your life miserable. Bad bosses cause anxiety, high blood pressure and poor overall health, just to name a few problems. Be very cautious during the interview process. If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t feel right, it might be time to run for the hills.
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