You’re interviewing for what seems to be your dream job. The salary, location and company all seem like a great fit for you. The one thing that’s harder to gauge is how good your future boss would be. One of the biggest concerns for employees taking a new job according to our yearly surveys is the person they’ll be reporting to. A good boss can make your workplace enjoyable and even make you look forward to coming in each day. A bad boss, however, can make you dream of handing in your resignation. How can you tell if your future boss is going to be a good one or one that will make your life miserable?
They’re Dishonest from the Start
If your first experience is being deceived into taking a new job, most likely you’ll lose all respect for a new boss, putting a strain on your relationship. Maybe their verbal offer is less than what you end up being paid (this can happen!), maybe their “competitive benefits” are not so competitive or perhaps they aren’t able to deliver on their promises they might have made. A great future boss is honest from the start and is willing to put everything they offer in writing. A bad future boss makes big promises but when you ask for a written offer, will balk. Don’t risk getting less than promised and never accept a job offer without a written offer letter with all the details, included extras and benefits.
They’re Not Respectful
Good bosses mutually respect their employees and value their time and energy. If you meet a potential future boss for the first time and they don’t respect you or your time, chances are they are going to be a bad boss. Perhaps your interview was at 1 pm and they didn’t call you in until almost 2? Or maybe they don’t treat you with respect during the interview process by asking inappropriate questions. Or, perhaps your gut tells you something is off. Trust your instinct and run from this opportunity as fast as you can.
They Blame Others
If your potential future boss tells you that all your predecessors weren’t good at the job (which is why they’re looking at you) and blame them for failures, watch out! Always ask how many people where in the role before you and the reasons why they didn’t work out. It’s flattering to hear that they’re excited about you and for you to explain how you could do better than all the “slackers” before you. But if every person hired before you was ‘terrible’ at the job, there might be a bigger picture you’re not seeing. Don’t let your ego and the chance to show a potential boss you’re better than your predecessors make you take a bad job with a worse boss.
They Can’t Take the Heat
If you’re being interviewed and the potential future boss can’t take the heat (ie doesn’t want to answer any question may have) he or she is not someone you want to work for. Of course your questions should be appropriate but you’re signing up for a long-term commitment by taking a new job. Ask important questions like “are employees regularly expected to work after-hours?” or “does vacation time expire at the end of each calendar year and do you have any policies that would prevent me from taking vacation when I need it like blackout dates?” or “how long did the person in my position before me work here and what was the reason for their departure?” Asking questions is the only way you’ll find out what kind of environment you’d be joining and if it was worth your time investment. Some companies expect employees to work until the work is done, not until 5 pm. And, believe it or not, some companies have blackout dates throughout November and December for vacation days then expire them at the end of the year! Or, maybe the person before you only stayed two months before quitting. If a boss doesn’t want to answer (or if they don’t know, doesn’t put you in contact with someone in HR that can answer your questions), they aren’t someone you want to work for.
Share with us your tips for spotting a good future boss in the comments below!