How to interview your future Boss

The article below is very useful for those of us who want to make sure they will not get stuck with a bad manager.  You can ask some questions in the interview to help you sense whether this possible future boss is good or bad.  Although I do not see that it is that simple and straight forward because some people can talk well.  So after asking the questions below, you can still be fooled.  But it is better than nothing.

Andrew Rondeau of wrote the nice article below about this issue:

How to Smell a Bad Boss in Just One Interview

You have been invited to attend an interview. You have been waiting a long time for this one. This could be the perfect job. The company has a great brand and future and the vacancy sounds great as well. Good pay, great prospects, great perks. This is the job to die for. You can see yourself in the job and your career finally taking off.

The big day arrives

You have all the answers ready with all the examples, you look great, are well groomed and your clothes are sharp (that recent shopping trip will be worth it). You are feeling confident and fully prepared.

But are you?

The relationship between managers and direct reports is the number one factor in morale, productivity and retention of high performers. One thing which causes high stress in individuals at work is the management style of their boss. You get use to the pay, the perks and the prospects, but they become very insignificant if your boss is a bad manager.

You do not get used to bad managers, especially very bad ones.

How do you define a ‘bad’ manager?

We all have different definitions for the term ‘bad’. Some may say their managers are bad because ‘I never get any praise’, others may say it’s ‘because you never see them and they don’t communicate’ or because ‘He is so arrogant, always believing he is right and everyone else is wrong’.

Much has been written about the habits or traits of bad managers, but how do you tell if your prospective boss is ‘bad’?

You are just about to be interviewed for the job of your life, but how do you know whether you want to work for the individual (assuming they will be your boss). You have to remember that interviews are a two-way process, as much for the potential employees benefit, as for the employer.

The interview begins

The time for the interview has arrived. The interviewer (the prospective manager), meets you in the glamorous reception 30 minutes late and the handshake is weak and clammy and no apology is forthcoming for them being late.

In silence, they lead you to the interview room which is a few minutes walk from the reception and there is no offer of a drink.

Their mobile phone goes off. It is a friend, well you assume it is because they has a five-minute conversation about last nights TV, with quite a lot of swearing going on throughout.

You are thinking this is a test, isn’t it? ‘They are seeing how I am going to react’. It’s not, this is how they are.

The interview eventually starts late. Standard questions are fired at you, with no eye contact taking place. They don’t even look at you when you are talking, just look down whilst taking a few notes.

Your gut is telling you something – this is not the job for you. However you decide to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they might just be having a bad day and this isn’t how they really are.

Now it is your turn to ask questions. How are you going to know if they are a great, or at least a good manager? Here are some important questions you need to ask to find out.

6 ways to test your next boss

Ask them what their management style is?

Are they silent? Do they have to think about it? Are they vague? Do they mention words like ‘supportive, approachable or decision maker’?

Ask them when they last took forward an employee suggestion or idea?

Are they struggling in their answer? Is the example worthy of a great manager? Bad managers don’t follow up on employee ideas. If they do provide a worthy answer, it shows they are supportive, approachable and they listen. A great manager removes all obstacles to help their staff do the best job possible.

Ask them when they last praised an employee or team and why?

If they haven’t ever done this then be wary. Bad managers withhold praise. One of the biggest staff motivators is praise from their manager.

Ask them for their opinion on individual development and training?

Have you ever been denied a professional development opportunity, because your own manager said that it would take too much time away from work? Is that why you are thinking of moving roles? Bad managers ignore professional growth needs, whilst great managers support their staff’s development.

Ask them when they asked for feedback on their management style and what were the results?

A good manager will always be looking to improve their performance and style and one of the best ways to do this, is to ask their staff for feedback. If they have asked for this feedback, ask how have they used it to improve their style?

Ask for their views on delegation. How do they delegate? Do they delegate? Do they micro-manage?

Great managers build trust in their staff. A quick and easy way to do this is to delegate pieces of work, which uses and exploits individuals’ strengths, all with the right level of control.


Just remember the interview is two-way. You are interviewing your manager and the company as well as them interviewing you. You can ask any questions you want and if you ask the right ones, you won’t end up working for an incompetent and bad manager and your career won’t suffer.


9 thoughts on “How to interview your future Boss

  1. i like the idea and i’ve never thought of it before
    but the problem is most managers in Egypt are bad managers 😀
    such questions may provoke the interviewer to refuse you even if you are a very good candidate

  2. This idea crossed my mind for the first time a couple of days ago. The reason behind that being the situations I had with my new manager.

    Although recently I make sure I don’t leave an interview without asking all the questions I have in mind, I never tried asking my prospect manager direct questions about their management style. Even though I now realize it is a mistake not having done so in my last interview.

    I believe if the manager is uncomfortable being interviewed by the interviewee, don’t bother trying to get the job. Sooner or later, you will get in trouble with that manager.

  3. Many Reasons To Say “Bad Manager”
    1 – Lack Of Communication Skills
    2 – Lack Of Managerial And Organization Skills
    3 -Always Show You Are Wrong And Intend To Laugh At You Forward Your Mates Or Forward Senior Management
    4 – Projects Went Late To Deliver
    5 – Employee Leave Because Of Their Managers , Many Of Employees Leave Each Period

    OK This’s Not The End , Bad Managers Always Exist , We Have To Learn How To Deal With Them

  4. This should be taught in H.S. because when I took the job skills class, they never said to interview the boss and make sure you like them. If I just asked a few simple questions I would taken a different job.

    • Yes, it is becoming increasingly important these days to make sure that you are joining the right place with the right people. Lots of people, including myself, have taken a job and then discovered that it was a big mistake. The worst situation that anyone could be put in, is when your direct manager is a disaster, it turns your life into hell.
      I hope that as many people as possible can see this post and benefit from it before they decide to join any working place.

  5. great questions!
    I am in a position right now where my future boss is being hired and I have a chance to interview them and have input into whether they will be hired or not. I will definitely use some of the questions here.`

  6. @rustravelgirl: Very curious to know the name of the company you work at, I really respect the organization that gives a chance to its employees to interview their future boss 🙂

  7. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit,
    but instead of that, this is great blog. A fantastic read.

    I will definitely be back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s