Tuesday June 4, 2013 | BUSINESS DAILY
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How to avoid wo≥king fo≥ a poo≥ manage≥
When job-hunting,
don’t just look at
title and salary; pay
attention to the
person you will
report to. FILE
boss can make you
doubt your abilities and
erode your self-esteem
f you are graduating this year you have
probably heard how hard it is to find
a job these days.
But before you take any opportunity
that comes your way, stop and think: Far
worse than continuing to job search is taking a job with a bad boss, who won’t just
make you miserable in the short term.
In fact, a poor managercan have a seriously negative impact on your career. This
is particularly true for your first job after
Without a sense of what your abilities
are, a bad boss can make you feel trapped
in self-doubt and erode your self-confidence.
So when job-hunting, don’t just look at
title and salary; pay a lot of attention to the
person you will report to. I know someone
who, as a newly minted MBA, left $10,000
in salary on the table in order to work with
a CEO he respected. During the interview,
the CEO told him, “I can’t meet your salary
requirements yet, but if you work for me,
I’ll teach you all I know.”
Taking that job turned out to be the
right decision: The MBA is now an executive himself.
It’s not all that difficult to determine
whether someone will make a good boss.
Two approaches work: observing what a
person does and asking questions. You
should use both.
Observe what the person does during
the whole hiring process, but especially
during the interview. Is he excited and
energetic? Is he happy to meet you and
explain what the company is looking for?
Does he listen attentively to what you are
saying? Does he interrupt or ignore you?
After every interaction with your potential new manager, stop judging your
own performance and think back to what
the manager did.
Can you see yourself working for this
person? Was the communication between
the two of you comfortable and easy? Is this
a person you respect? Is this someone who
would respect you?
Every candidate is expected to ask questions both in the interview and during the
hiring process. Your questions should not
have easy yes or no answers. You want to
use questions that elicit information that
will help you make the decision to accept
the job if it is offered to you.
Steer clear of asking about benefits or
Some questions to ask:
Is this a new position,
or did someone leave?
What are they doing now?
The answers to these questions
can help you understand if there
is advancement from this job and
if the department is growing.
Is there someone you
think has been a real
star in this job? What made
them good at it? Compare the
qualities of that person to your
own strengths. Are you likely to
be a star here? Also, this answer
will tell you what qualities the
manager values.
achieve them? This answer
will show the attitude of the
manager to the department and
the open job, as well as what
the most important tasks of the
job are.
What are the key
priorities of this
department and how can
the person in this role help
salary. That’s a question for the human resources representative. The hiring manager
wants a candidate who is interested in the
work itself; benefits are secondary.
Similarly, don’t ask about promotions.
Your potential boss prefers that you want
the job that is open now.
How will the person
you hire learn to do this
job well? Does the manager
have a plan or process for
He doesn’t want people who are thinking
about how soon they can leave it.
Your questions during the hiring process say a lot about you, too. Good managers want people who can think — after all,
that’s why you went to college or graduate
school, right?
bringing new people on? A
manager with a plan, however
simple, values the people
reporting to him.
Tell me about the other
people on the team.
Get a read on the manager’s
attitude to team members. Is
he insightful? Complimentary?
If hiring managers don’t want candidates
who ask good questions, they are not likely
to be good managers. They aren’t likely to
be the kind of first manager who will help
you become the best you can be.