How to spot a bad boss during the interview


“According to the Harvard Business Review and various studies, the most significant cause of workplace unhappiness isn’t salary or vacation days, it’s having a bad boss.”

5 tricks for spotting a bad boss during a job interview

Someone like me, coming from a situation of complete joblessness and financial distress, isn’t in a position to turn down any offer.  But at least one can be forewarned about what one’s getting into, prepare oneself to act in special ways in order to deal with the hostility, and be primed to make a quick exit as soon as a better opportunity presents.  And  keep going with the job search until a better opportunity presents.

The first need is to actually interview with one’s actual prospective boss.  This is important for both the prospective employee and the prospective employer.  I’ve wound up working for people I never would have agreed to had I interviewed with them, and I’ve seen supervisors have to deal with workers whom they personally never would have hired.

I’m not sure I would have chosen these same five.

As to #1, I say, definitely, go with your gut.  We don’t need details about specific behavioral signals.  They may mean different things to different people anyway.  If you feel like you personally won’t be a good fit to work with this person, you’re probably right.

As to #2, I recall my first day at a prominent Baltimore law firm.  Walking through the office, I heard this one woman say, to no one in particular, “I feel like I’ve been fucked up the ass without being kissed.”  This told me a great deal about her personally (that would prove true throughout the time I worked with her) and also about the atmosphere in the place.  There was a lot of dysfunction there.  It was a diseased system.

But I managed to be very successful there for three years.

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