3 Steps To Detecting a Bad Boss Over Job Interviews

I guess you did not this one coming, your terrible boss I mean. Yet again, you couldn’t detect that bad boss early on, not until you’ve just been hired. Now, standing in between the devil and the deep blue sea, you have to make a choice; you either put up with your boss’s bullshit or fire yourself.

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So what’s it gonna be? A rather difficult situation, I know. However, allow me the privilege to help you out here. For how long do you intend to continue working under a bad boss, who in the long run is capable of draining you emotionally and otherwise?

Enlighten me, are you still there because of that paycheck? Your happiness and emotional balance should be prior to financial comfort, not the reverse.

I’d say, why not go with option two: fire yourself and get a new job. But this time, you are not just going to the next interview empty-handed just like the last one that landed you at the mercy of a bad boss. Rather, you are arming yourself with knowledge on detecting those bad bosses straight up, right there on the interview process.

So on this one, I’ll be sharing good ideas and tactics on how to spot a bad boss right there in the interview room.

All you have to do before setting off for the next interview is to put on the right attitude. Research has shown that most failures in interviews are a result of defects in attitude. So piecing together the right pack of attitude, is of utmost concern.

To be a good one at detecting whether your potential new boss is going to be good or bad, you will have to put some questions on the table, not just any question but questions that will reveal a lot about your boss and also questions that can provide you with answers you can analyze right there in the interview.

Do not think for one second about asking surface-level questions like “enlighten me on the company’s norm…” because that is a sure way to hear just bluff that won’t speak much about your boss. Rather, we are playing this game deeply; probing severely to the nth degree but in a non-threatening approach.

Below are three questions that will give us the results of what we want.

1. Ask About Times The Company’s Employee(s) Displayed Wrong Attitude

This is a very simple process. As you are trying to gauge your boss’s leadership effectiveness, put a question to them about the employees that must have in one way or the other exhibits a form of wrong attitude. Nine times out of ten the situation is likely to have this flow:

Don’t really know, but I’ve been wondering, has there been anyone who must have displayed some form of wrong attitude? If there is, can you please enlighten me specifically when and how they did?

This is a reply you are likely to get from your boss:

Well, there have been a few incidents where some employees, though no longer here, got off the right track by asking for a raise without a due performance like putting in hard and smart work, giving their time, and other whatnot.

On a certain occasion, we had this lady who literally requested both a raise and promotion after working for less than nine months in this company.

Not to judge but, I was working here for over four years before I got my first raise, and afterward, I worked for another two years literally, before getting my first promotion.

So in the case of that woman, what could she have possibly achieved within the space of that nine months to license that raise?

Let’s get something straight here, this doesn’t imply that the boss is bad. But critically analyzing his answer, we can sense an air of disbelief married to emphasis in relation to “putting a lot of effort and resources”, which of course indicates that such a boss is not a subscriber of meritocratic tendencies.

2. Ask About Times The Company’s Employee(s) Displayed Positive Attitude

Another nice shot that tells you more of your potential future boss, is to demand specific instance(s) where and when a current employee brought to exhibition, a positive attitude for the company.

Remember, the goal here is to get the boss to talk more in a specific manner. One way to do that is to avoid straightforward questions like “please can you give me an instance of a positive attitude here in this company?”

Questions like that tend to generate answers like this “here, in this company, we like people who are always accountable and good team players”, or something inexact and blank, leaving you with little or nothing to analyze.

But on the other hand, by strategically, probing deeply with specific questions, your boss will be unconsciously compelled to reveal what they truly value. A non-threatening way to approach this might sound like:

Come to think of it, which one of your current employees is really a representation of the positive attitude of this company? And please I would like you to enlighten me specifically on when and how the employee displayed such an attitude?

And you’re likely to get an answer like:

A favorite employee of mine is too good at working under pressure, stiff deadlines, and multitasking. A few months ago, we were faced with an issue: a client found interest in one of our software but demands that some modifications be made within the space of 4 days.

So I asked this employee of mine to anchor that very modification. Good enough, he worked on the software all night and by morning, it was ready.

Unfortunately, the modifications he made were not up to the standard of the client and so he worked again on the software, this time working half a night and on the next morning, the software was also ready.

Yet again, the client rejected it due to some minor issue which my employee dealt with in a whole night once again. This time everything was set, and the deadline met. The client accepted the job with joy.

Things to grab from this answer is that your future boss values compliance, people who are not a peep, and finally those who put in long hours in the job. This doesn’t tag them a bad boss to all applicants though, but you can be sure that working for such a boss will definitely make you miserable.

3. Watch Out If They Fail To Be Specific In Their Examples

From research, 54% of most bosses do not always remember and recognize the accomplishments of their employees. While 28% of bosses do recognize the accomplishments of their employees.

With such a statistical discrepancy, you should make it a goal to test your potential future boss on this one.

If they struggle to provide you with or cite a specific example of how one of their employees accomplished something great, exemplifying also the right attitude, then you are probably not going to be recognized for your future accomplishments. Take that hint and decide on your next move.

Moreover, if you are the type that has an affinity for recognition, then such bosses will definitely not make a good fit for you. Steer clear.

At this point, you’re all set to control your options. On your next interview, bring this whole package of questions on board and you’ll always be two steps ahead in the interview-dynamic.

This time when you finally get hired, you’ll understand that, you did not just get hired, but you in turn also hired your boss; you’ll be the one to have indirectly chosen your boss.

An interview is an art of negotiation. You have options. Make the most out of them.

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