Bad Manager at an interview

I’ve had my share of bad bosses and good ones.

Perhaps you’ve experienced the same.

And if you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck with a bad boss, it makes you wonder if you should have taken this job in the first place.

By then it might be too late. It’s hard to quit. It’s hard break your routine and change jobs. So ideally, the best thing to do is to nip it in the bud.

Before you get into that interview, be aware that you will be interviewing the interviewer as well.

Yes, if you’re in a tough situation and bills need to be paid, it’s acceptable to have a take-what-I-can-get strategy. But hiring managers can detect this desperation, and it may turn them off.

Asking the right questions is important. A good manager understands that this is a relationship, and must be a good fit for both parties.

Bad managers? They will exhibit any one of the 5 behaviours below during the interview.

1. “OK, let me go through this resumé now. Who are you again?”
I get it. They are interviewing a lot of people. It’s a very challenging process for a hiring manager. This is a project they must undertake in addition to the fires they are putting out.

That’s no excuse for not taking the interview seriously.

If you feel like they are treating you like a number, that’s not a good sign. They don’t respect who you are or your time.

2. “You’re lucky to be here”
Got to love that ego eh?

Just because you’re in an organization that was voted Top 100 companies to work for in Canada for 10 straight years in a row, doesn’t mean it’s an honour and privilege to get the interview.

This is a sign that the manager feels they can treat you like crap and you’ll still stay, because the prestige of this organization will be the golden carrot they can dangle in front of you.

3. “I must know you’re last salary”
While this is a common question in some cultures, in North America this question has no relevance at the interview. Still, it could be asked.

While your first response is to evade this question, if the manager is persistent in knowing this figure, they are more concerned with what you cost than what you’re worth.

4. “What’s your weaknesses?” “When did you make a mistake?” “What if you disagree with your boss?”
While it’s understandable to be occasionally asked a tough interview question, a constant barrage of negative questions is a sign that the manager is only concerned with your weaknesses and not your strengths.

As such, they could be micromanaging your work.

5. “The exact responsibilities of this role is yet to be decided.”
Chances are, they wanted a head count for the sake of having a head count. They managed to conjure up a story to convince their management they needed a new hire, but really didn’t know what the role what specifically for.

This is bad news for you. You will be left aimlessly trying to figure out how to spend your time and advance your career. And you’ll face the opposite problem of micro managing – zero managing.

I understand that during uncertain times, it’s hard enough to get an interview. Especially if you’re in a tough spot where you need to pay the bills.

But there are plenty of pay-the-bills jobs out there where your manager’s support isn’t as important.

But if you’re serious about your career, and you want to care about what you do for 40 hours a week, your relationships with your manager and colleagues are critical to your career trajectory.

So treat the interview like a conversation where you’re discovering if this role is the right fit for you.