When you’re being interviewed for a new role, you should also interview the people you’d be working with. Having a new job that’s exciting to go to everyday is hugely dependent on one person in particular: Your boss. If any of these seven signs are evident throughout the interview process, then you might want to reconsider an offer.
They’re nowhere to be found in your interview process
If your would-be direct manager is MIA in your interview, that’s a huge red flag. Going into a workplace with zero idea of who you’ll be directly working with every day is a big risk to take. If there’s a valid reason for his or her absence, ask to spend time with their colleagues and other direct reports to learn more about what it’s like working with them. If someone isn’t in the role yet (i.e. they’re being hired as well) then ask to speak with the hiring team for that person. Learn as much as you can about what they’re looking for in the role of your potential boss and how they’re evaluating candidates. If you trust the hiring team and take the role, insist that you’re a part of the interview process for your future boss.
They contradict or snub colleagues during interviews
Pay attention to the body language of your maybe manager and how they react to others in the room. Are there eye rolls? Are they giving out backhanded compliments? Are they on their phone while others in the room are speaking? On the flip side, how do their colleagues react to them? Watch closely how they treat colleagues in the room and vice versa. It’s a big indicator of how they’ll be treating you should you be hired and indicates the level of respect their colleagues have for them.
They’re constantly late or rescheduling
Your potential employer and boss should be trying to impress you as much as you’re trying to impress them. Just because you’re the person being interviewed, it does not mean your time is any less valuable. Being late for multiple interviews is either a mind game (also a major red flag) or shows they simply don’t respect your time. It’s a dangerous precedent to set at the start of any relationship, let alone to the manager-employee one.
They struggle to give a straight answer to your questions
If you’re asking questions and only getting vague or wishy-washy responses, it likely means they’re unprepared, have trouble communicating what they mean or that they are unclear on the direction of your potential role. All of the above are not traits you want in a future boss. On the contrary, look for directness, clear vision and preparedness in potential bosses.
They talk only about themselves
In an interview, your future boss should be trying to get to know you as a person, the way you work and your aspirations as much as possible. If they rarely ask questions about you, then it might be a sign of a boss that hogs all of the credit.
They’re unprepared for your meetings
Managers have a lot on their plates. A survey conducted by SoapBox found that 67 per cent of managers said their biggest challenge was juggling the management of their team with their other responsibilities. But that’s not an excuse to show up unprepared for an interview and make you rehash your entire work experience twice. If they’re very clearly in another headspace during your meeting and not asking intelligent questions (that seek new information), they’re likely completely unprepared.
They don’t have one-on-ones with their team
Ask your would-be boss how often they have one-on-one meetings with their team. If the answer is “not at all” or “we don’t need them,” something’s not right. Managers build trust and rapport with their employees through one-on-ones. It’s uninterrupted time with your boss that you’ll need in any role at any level of seniority. If they don’t see the value in quality time spent directly with their reports, you may want to reconsider your interest in the role.
According to a survey conducted by BambooHR, 44 per cent of employees cited a bad boss as their reason for leaving a job. Having a good relationship with your boss is hugely important to your mental health and productivity, so make sure you’re interviewing them as much (if not more) as they’re interviewing you.
Shannon Maloney is the director of marketing for Soapbox, an app that helps managers give better feedback to employees.
This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.
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