What should you learn from the Potential Boss During the Interview?

Boss Interview Image

Happiness on the job has many factors – the right pay, location, challenges that suit our capabilities, benefits, and more. For all the hours spent at work, the boss is also a critical factor in evaluating whether or not to accept that new position.

But what can you really find out about the boss during the length of an interview or two?

Plenty! According to Caroline Levchuck, author of the article, “Four Questions to Ask a Potential Manager.”

While there are no guarantees, asking the right questions can give you important insights as to your comfort level with this particular manager.


You are likely to be happier on the job if you and your potential manager have similar work styles.

Find this out by asking: “What’s your ideal employee like?” If the answer is that the employee works long hours on a regular basis, you will most likely be expected to do the same.

Listen carefully. Are any of the employees working independently? How often is communication happening?

Whatever the response, the potential boss is outlining things s/he really likes to see in an employee. Does what s/he is outlining sound like a situation you are comfortable with for a period of time (i.e. a year or more)?

The Staff

You can tell a lot about your potential manager from his/her staff. Ask: “Will you tell me about the people I’d be working with? How long have you worked with them?

Pay attention to how well the potential manager seems to know the staff. Is s/he proud of them? Does s/he name specific people with accomplishments? What is his/her tone like when describing the team? Is the potential manager upbeat and positive or frustrated and angry?

Especially note: How long has the staff worked with him/her? High turnover can be a red flag.

Results and Rewards

Find out how to excel on the job by asking, “How do you measure success on the job?” Then, find out about the career path for an employee who is successful on the job.

After all, you want to work for someone who not only recognizes success, but someone who rewards excellence through promotions.

Problem Solving

Most days on any job have challenging problems that need to be solved. Ask the potential manager: “What’s your approach to solving problems?”

Knowing the answer to this question can give you valuable insight into his/her management style. Does s/he delegate, collaborate, make decisions independently?

Throughout the time that you are with the potential boss, be observant.

What is his/her overall attitude toward answering the questions you have posed? If s/he is open and inviting about questions and answers thoughtfully, s/he is likely to be someone who is open to new ideas, building relationships-qualities that make for a great leader and manager.