Horrible Bosses: Not Just a Movie

November 25, 2014


Interview Warning Signs

Job interviews can be a very stressful experience. When you are being interviewed, you feel tested and like you’re being inspected through a magnifying glass. However, the candidates aren’t the only ones being scrutinized: the interviewer himself is also under your examination. While he assesses your compatibility for the position and the organization, you’re studying his compatibility as a potential boss.

How can you tell whether the person interviewing you will be a good boss? Here are the interview warning signs that will tell you the type of boss whom you don’t want to work for.

Interview Delivery Style

  • Introduction – Did he shake your hand? Or maybe you held your hand for a shake and he stayed seated while shaking hands? This is a sign of disrespect. Right from the beginning, he is showing you that he does not value you.

  • Focus & Attention – Is he attentive and present in the interview? Or is he distracted, interrupted by his PA, making calls, and reading emails during the interview? This is another sign of disrespect. The interviewer is supposed to be looking for the best employee for himself and the company.  A lot is at stake in this situation, and he can’t be bothered to take a break to concentrate on that? A clear warning sign! If this is how he acts during the interview, what will happen if you actually work for him? You need someone who gives you his undivided attention.

  • Interpersonal Communication


    • Eye Contact – Did he make eye contact during the interview? Or was he looking at your resume/CV, his computer, and off to the side the entire time? This says something about his interpersonal communication skills. This aspect does not necessarily mean he’s a bad person to work for, but it does suggest that you may have difficulties communicating while working together.

    • Facial Expressions – Did he smile when he introduced himself and throughout the interview? Or did he look solemn and stern? A lack of a smile could indicate that he is a very serious person, maybe even severe. The interviewer has the job of representing the company. His objective is to make people want to work for him and/or his company, so part of his job is to show the interviewee what work life will be like if he gets the job. A smile is so basic.

  • Patience -Did he let you fully answer questions after asking them? Or did he constantly interrupt you in the middle of a sentence? This could be an indicator of someone who is not willing to let his employees be creative, and someone who is overly controlling. Be aware of interviewers like this.

Interview Content

  • Introduction – Did he introduce himself? Name, position, vision, etc.  It may sound very basic, but sometimes it is overlooked. An interviewer’s duty is to introduce himself. If he didn’t, it may imply that it wasn’t important enough for him. If this person was speaking with a potential client, you can be sure that and introduction would be important, so how can he forget it when interviewing a potential employee?

  • Professional vs. Personal – Were all of the questions purely professional? Or did he take the time to get to know about you as a person? In an interview, it is obvious that you will be asked about your professional experience and knowledge. However, an interview is also meant to get to know the person behind the profession, to see if his personality will mesh with the company climate and mentality. An interviewer who doesn’t ask a few personal questions to get to know the person in front of him is a warning sign.

  • Appropriate Questions – Were the questions all appropriate? Or did the interviewer ask questions that got too personal, such as asking about marital status and age? While some personal questions, such as your hobbies and interests, are appropriate, some questions cross the line. If you feel uncomfortable during the interview, chances are you’ll also feel uncomfortable if you take the job.

After you finished the interview, what is the process going forward?

  • Did he ask you if you had any questions at the end? Or did he just rush to finish the interview? A good employer will want to give you as much information as possible. If he’s hurrying you along, he clearly does not want you to ask questions.

  • How long did he speak, and how long did you speak? You as an interviewee need to speak more than the interviewer did. The interview is the process by which a potential employer gets to know you. If he talked too much about himself, this is probably not a good fit for you.

  • Pay attention to the order of the interviewer questions. For example: if one of the firsts questions he asks is about how many hours you worked per day at your last job, rather than what you did during those hours, you can tell that he is just looking for someone to give as many hours as possible. The order of the questions can indicate his priorities and needs.

Take these warning signs into account before your next interview. Regardless of whether or not you feel a job is a good fit for you, an interviewer should not be trying to make you uncomfortable. If you get a bad vibe from the interviewer, chances are it’s not a good fit for you. Move on, and find the right employer and company for you.

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