Can You Spot a Bad Boss During an Interview?

Let’s be real, the key driver for people leaving a job is a poor working relationship with a manager. The first hurdle that you face after perfecting your CV and covering letter would be spotting a bad boss during an interview.

A dream job can be easily troubled with a bad boss invasion. Some of us have had the displeasure of working with a bad boss. At any given point of time in your career, you might run into a toxic boss who pushes you off the limits. Handling the pressure of the job and achieving your goals with such kind of bosses often makes you want to quit and go home.

So how do we spot a bad boss during an interview?

Do you want to spend that time working for somebody who makes your job unhappy and unsatisfactory? Clearly not. Dealing with a bad boss can interfere with your productivity. Can you avoid this by seeing the red flags in the first interview itself? This could be really hard to assess while you are trying to impress the interviewer with your skills and communication.

So when you’re considering a new job, it’s essential to identify if you would get along with your potential boss. These tell-tale signs of a bad boss should help you decide better if you still want to join the company for a brand or with whom you would be delighted to work for.

Not a listener

A leader is never self-centered. If your boss seems more interested in talking about themselves than they are in asking about you, it could be a red flag. If the interviewer gets distracted and stops paying attention to what you’re saying then that too could be a red flag for you.

You also need to be careful that you don’t go on and on especially when the opposite individual is least interested in conversation or your skills. This could be a bad sign too because as they say good listeners make better employees.


If your potential new boss is inconsistent and contradicts his own statements, it’s a red flag. Two great ways to identify this would be to observe how homogeneous his approach is for all the roles. If the interviewer has a different set of rules for the team members based on the position, he is probably a bad boss. 

If he tells you to do one thing one day and then changes his mind and makes you do it entirely different the next day,  then there is a high chance that the boss is out of the loop and would make the job more difficult.


So when you’re considering a new job, it’s important to know how you’ll get along with your boss so go ahead and ask them your own questions. 

“How do you evaluate your own employee?”

“ How does the team celebrate success ?” 

“Can I know a little about our team culture?” 

By doing so, you will be able to create a two-way conversation. This is one great and upfront way of identifying whether a manager will be a great manager or not.

Here’s a trick- by addressing the team as “we” and not “you” even before getting into it is a good way to show your affinity towards them. 

Time is the wisest counselor of all

It is decent to be considerate about the busy life of a boss. Reasons like a conference lasting longer than expected, etc., are some inevitable reasons that might delay the interview process. 

But if the interviewer simply takes you for granted and keeps you waiting, then it is a clear sign of arrogance and ego. Patience is a must while attending an interview but being oblivious to the things happening around can cost you a lot. As they say, time waits for none. Imagine getting to an interview early, ready, and prepared, only to find yourself waiting for hours together for the interviewer to show up.

Innovation and inspiration

A person in such a position needs to articulate the key goals you’ll be contributing to long-term. They should be honest and willing to answer all the questions that can help you decide. Yes, you want to impress those who are interviewing you. But a very pertinent question is are they impressing you?

It is a two-way street

Yes, we assume that we have to impress the interviewer to get the desired role and to create the impression is the only purpose of an interview. A majority of us feel that way because we cannot be picky with our income and career when it comes to the security of the job.

Everyone wants a happy workplace vibe. Besides the monetary benefits, appreciation, reward, and encouragement are the key factors that motivate one to excel. That is why it is extremely essential to be aware of the workplace you are choosing. 

Even though being extremely picky is not a good idea, it is recommended to consider certain aspects and a Bad Boss is definitely one of them. 

Identify the red flags before it’s too late. Be wise! Be aware! 

Chinkey Saini

Chinkey Saini

Business Strategist and Client Consultant with a panoptic experience of working in the online media & digital marketing industry.