We all have fears of taking on a new role and having a horrible boss. However, there are several ways to spot a bad boss during an interview to ensure you’re making the right move.

A bad boss can make or break your satisfaction in your career. During the job search process, it’s important to do your due diligence in learning as much as you can about the culture and management of a company to ensure you’re making the right move. However, before you can gauge a bad boss versus a good boss, you have to evaluate the qualities and personality traits that are important to you. Have a deep understanding of the type of individual with whom you would enjoy working, and know what things you can’t tolerate in a manager. Once you have a clear vision of the “ideal” boss, it will be easier to spot the good and bad managers during an interview.

From the moment you walk in the door to a potential employer’s office, you should keep your eyes and ears open in order to determine if it would be a good fit for you. Do other employees look happy? Do you feel welcomed? Do they speak to you and make eye contact? What are people wearing? See what the vibe is in the office and ask yourself whether or not it’s a culture where you would feel comfortable.

During the interview, one key indicator of a boss’s management style is how prepared he or she is for the meeting. Can you tell if they have taken time to look at your resume before the meeting? Do they have clear questions about your skills, abilities and background, and is there an understanding as to why they’re asking these questions and the value they bring to assessing you as a candidate? A good manager will be just as prepared for the interview as the candidate is. A good manager will also paint a clear picture of the role and company during the interview. They should be able to talk about growth plans and strategies and be able to clearly communicate what they’re looking for in the new hire. You want to leave an interview with a clear understanding of the environment, the company and the role.

Lastly, there are usually multiple stages in an interview process. Make sure that the process feels structured and there is a clear progression from one stage to the next. Ask yourself: are the employees communicating with one another? Do they ask the same questions in every interview? Is there a strategic approach to the hire? How an employer or manager handles the hiring process is indicative of how they approach their work.

Remember it’s not just the employers getting to know you during an interview—it’s your opportunity to get to know them and see if this would be a good career move. Have you been able to spot a good or bad manager in an interview? Share your experiences with us below.


This is really good information! I had an interview just a few days ago and because he was desperate to hire, he told me to come in the next day, he’d pay me under the table until the next payroll as he had already completed it and was unable to add me, and he’d give me basic training. Well, it did not go well; met the employees and none looked happy. He talked about each and every one of them; their personalities (lazy, demanding, asking more pay), how “playful” some of them were, and that he was paying a couple of them under the table because of immigration paperwork. I could not believe I was getting the intel on each and every one of them and if he was talking like that about them, I knew he’d talk about me in the long run. Needless to say after day two, I worked 1/2 day, went home, and informed him that the position was not a good fit for what I am qualified for. He did not even pay me for the one day and a half I worked, but I left it as that and decided not to even bother. My fiance and mother even told me that I was better off working for someone that is not going to be putting the business in jeopardy if he allowed undocumented people working for him. Reading this was an eye opener and very informative topic!

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