What’s your criteria for a boss? Don’t have any? If not, you’re rolling the dice and taking your chances. The percentage for finding a good one is 75% against you, according to recent surveys of employees. What if your potential boss:
- Doesn’t believe in training or development?
- Sees employees as a necessary condition and easily replaceable?
- Pays for length of service, not pay for performance?
- Is mostly “stick” and rarely “carrot”?
- Favors the “yes” man and dislike new ideas?
Well, you get the idea. So how do you sort out the good from the bad? Here are a few thoughts:
- Organizations and managers both have a reputation that can be found through research. Go to Google and type in: Employee satisfaction with (name of company); or reputation of (company); or go to Glassdoor.com and search for employee comments. You can also Google the name of the manager with whom you’ll be interviewing. Look at his past companies, reputation, time spent, doing what, and so on. You can get a pretty good picture of what to expect in a company and boss by digging deeper rather than not at all.
- When you’re visiting the company and interviewing you’ll get a strong sense of the culture and openness. Receptionists, janitors, secretaries and lower level staff tend to be more honest and straightforward than others. When you ask them how they like working here, do they look around to make sure no one is listening, speak in hushed tones, or fumble for the right words?
- When interviewing, watch for the boss that talks too much and listens even less. If his phone, paperwork, or other distractions are more important than you, arrives late, doesn’t know your name or is looking at your resume for the first time, beware. On the other hand, a potential boss that looks you in the eye, is focused on your answers to compelling questions, and you walk away knowing you could learn a great deal reporting to him, then you’re on the right track. You might even want to say as much.
- If you’re given the opportunity to ask questions, make sure they’re the right ones, like: What are the keys to success in this position? What are the critical results that must be attained within the first 6 to 12 months? What are the impediments that this position must overcome? If you’re not requested to ask questions at the conclusion of your interview, that may be a sign that your not suppose to ask questions. Is that the kind of organization you want?
- How you’re treated and the responsiveness to your communications is important also. It tells you how important they think you are.
Bosses can be a fantastic lever for your career and a wonderful person to learn from, but you have to find the right one for you. It’s worth the wait.
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