If you’re about to interview for a new job, congratulations for getting this far in your job search. The interview should give you some insight into what to expect in a new job. Your whole world changes: New function, new location, new peers, new challenges and a brand-spanking new boss. What will the new boss be like? You can partially answer that question during the hiring interview. Choose your new boss carefully, as it will affect your future more than you can know.
1- Does your potential new boss hate going to work in the morning, or do they love their job and the people they work with? It’s hard to learn from a boss who dislikes what they do, as they won’t train you well, develop your skills or assist your move upward in your career. You should be able to sense during the job interview what kind of boss they will be. Are they excited about the work to be done, your ability to add value to the “team”, or your potential future? Is the interviewing boss animated, smiling every so often, share a story about what they are trying to achieve or compliment the people they work with every day? Mr. Grumpy doesn’t cut it.
2- Look for a coach or mentor in a potential boss. You want a boss that can provide you with the opportunity to succeed in your current job, but also prepare you for additional responsibilities in the future. If you can’t learn from your boss, then from whom are you going to learn the skills and knowledge you’ll need as you progress?
3- Is there a vision for the future? Can your potential boss articulate where he sees the function or department going in the next 12 to 18 months? Is there a role for you? These are questions you need to ask. Since the boss alone can’t achieve performance improvement nor reach growth goals, a good boss will need quality people to help achieve the organizational objectives. Who does the boss see as helping get those results?
4- During the interview, if the boss is focused on numbers only, and not the people side of the business, then think twice about your place in the organization. Are subordinates only a means to an end, or are they the valued resources that will help the manager achieve results? One way to gain insight into the boss is to count the number of times they say “I” versus “we”. Are the questions they ask substantive questions about you, your goals and experiences, or are they mechanical questions seeming to come from a script?
5- Lastly, at the end of the interview, you get a chance to ask your questions. Make them meaningful about the culture of the department, expectations for results and the style of management the boss prefers. How the interviewing boss answers your questions will give your more insight into your future than the position description will ever provide.
Your sense of comfort is your best guide.
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