Spot a Toxic Boss in the Interview Stage
Toxic bosses are the worst! You can’t ever win with them, and they will make your work life so unpleasant that you may begin to doubt your capacity for work. But so often we don’t realize how bad these bosses are until we’re in a job. How can you tell before you accept?
- They’re checked out during your interview.
This is supposed to be the time for you to get a read of each other, to determine if you are a fit. If you’re doing all the work—asking the questions, taking notes, being invested and interested—but your interviewer is not really there with you, take heed!
- They interrupt you or generally don’t listen.
What you have to say, in an interview or a work situation, has value! Someone who isn’t going to listen to you at this very early state is likely to continue not listening to you, and not listening = not valuing.
- They seem to duck your questions.
Especially your questions about culture and leadership. These are normal questions for you to have in an interview, so if they seem caught off guard or unwilling to answer, it may very well mean something about how the office functions.
- They don’t respect your time.
Interviewers can sometimes run late, just like anyone else, but someone who isn’t apologetic or gives some sort of evidence of not appreciating that you’re taking time from your day to do this is pretty likely to continue those behaviors if you accept a position.
- You don’t get to meet the whole team, especially the manager.
This seems strange, right? But there are times people will get job offers without even meeting the bosses. There are often lots of “reasons” for this (HR is doing the decision-making, the supervisor is away from the office, etc.) but it’s a pretty big red flag.
What I often tell clients who feel very anxious about finding a job is that if one place was interested enough in you to make an offer, other places will be, too. It’s often better to ride out difficult financial times with a gig job than to risk stepping into a big, steaming pile of bad manager.