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Will They Be a Good Boss?

I had a job during college and the boss at the small hair supply store was bad.  She was mean and fake and just awful.  She showed blatant favoritism to the staff and the customers.  I had done no due diligence before accepting this job. I just knew the work itself seemed fun and I could help people.  I never even considered that the boss would be bad since I hadn’t had really bad bosses before.  No boss is perfect but I remember saying to myself that I’d never put myself in that position again without doing anything ahead of time.  

The boss is most likely to be on their best behavior during an interview, just like you. While you really won’t know 100% until you are working there, there are some things you can do to give yourself a clue about them.


During the interview pay attention to these things:

  • Are they strictly following a script or is it a conversation?
  • Are they talking at you or with you?
  • Notice if they bad mouth anyone.
  • Do they seem arrogant, genuinely nice, meek, overbearing or stressed out?

Questions to ask during the interview:

  • How are performance evaluations done?
  • How do you deliver bad news to your department?
  • What are your expectations of me in this role?
  • How often do you meet with your department and what are those meetings like?


No boss will say “I am a micromanager and I yell when I get stressed out and don’t even consider coming to me with an idea because I’ll tell you it’s stupid and then steal it and take credit for it and I don’t want you to take all of your vacation time”

Don’t bother to ask what their leadership style is.  Don’t ask how their employees would describe them as a manager. Don’t ask what they would do if their employee disagreed with them.  These are great questions, but you most likely won’t get a great answer.  


  • Research your future boss
    • Do you know anyone at the company?  
    • Linkedin – see if you have common contacts and reach out to them to get the scoop if appropriate
    • Facebook – are they badmouthing work or sharing information that makes you uncomfortable
    • Instagram – Same as Facebook
    • Glassdoor – a great resource
    • Twitter – Same as Instagram and Facebook
  • Ask to meet a few of your coworkers and ask them about the boss. 
  • See if they are mentioned in an online article like your local newspaper.  Read the comments that are written.  Those won’t all be great but you may get some insight.

You may find you aren’t thrilled with the boss but everything else about the position is perfect – salary, pto, coworkers, the work itself.  They may not always be your boss or you may be able to transfer to a different department.  If you aren’t sure about even liking the position, knowing more about the boss can help influence your decision.

Tell me about ways you’ve figured out if a boss is good or bad during the interview process.  What did you do about it? 

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