Assessing Your Future Boss

When you’re searching for a new job, you’re also taking on a new boss. That decision could have a big impact on your current happiness and future career prospects. Many workers say the most stressful aspect of their job is their relationship with their immediate supervisor, so paying attention to cues and doing a little research ahead of time can ensure a more satisfying work relationship. 

These guidelines will walk you through the process of assessing your new manager. Learn how to get the information you need through research, direct questions, and observations. 

Questions to Ask Your Future Boss 

You may have fewer than 10 minutes to ask questions in a typical interview. Use the time well! 

  1. Keep it conversational. Youll get off to a better start with polite chat rather than an interrogation. Aim for natural conversation with give and take.
  2. Evaluate leadership styles. Gather clues about individual leadership styles. As the boss discusses the nature of the work, you may find out how he or she communicates with others, manages time, and delegates responsibilities.
  3. Identify a star employee. The way that the boss describes a top performer in the office can be very revealing. Youll see what traits are valued and whether that matches your talents.
  4. Inquire about future plans. Ask what the boss expects the successful candidate to accomplish over the next 6 months or within the first year. Youll get a good idea of the demands of the job. 

Questions to Ask Your Potential Co-Workers 

Reach out to current employees because they probably have valuable insights and inside information to share. 

  1. Establish trust. Start out gently. Ask generic questions first to try and determine if people would be comfortable discussing more sensitive issues.
  2. Clarify the work experience. Try to get a general picture of what its like to work there. Cover everything from the usual amount of overtime to how performance evaluations are handled. Observe whether people are eager to praise your new boss or reluctant to say anything.
  3. Discuss teamwork. Find out how well employees in the office work together. If teamwork is important to you, you may appreciate opendoor policies and regular staff meetings. Listen to those who work there and see if they say we or I as they describe their activities.
  4. Gauge turnover. The turnover rate is one objective measure of overall job satisfaction and stability. Find out how long others have stayed in positions like the one youre applying for and if they ever received a promotion. Calculate how long the senior management has been in place. 

Other Techniques 

Research and nonverbal communication play a big role too. Get ready to do some investigating! 

  1. Conduct background research. Browse through relevant social media, such as Linked In. Read the organization’s website and blogs. Talk with others in the field. Search for any related press coverage about the organization and your new boss.
  2. Survey the workspace. You can learn a lot from the way offices look. Is there a lot of clutter, or is everything pristine? What kind of personal photos and objects are on display?
  3. Observe interactions. Maybe everyone seems friendly and relaxed. Look deeper if it seems like the employees tense up when the boss speaks to them.
  4. Rate the attention level. If your boss is attentive during the interview, he or she is likely to be more accessible on a daily basis. Consider whether the individual you’ll be working for listens, makes eye contact, and responds openly to questions.
  5. Expect surprises. Although taking every precaution to get to know your new boss is sensible, it’s inevitable that some things may only be revealed after you start working there. Be ready! 

Check out your potential boss while you’re considering your next career move. This kind of due diligence will help you to evaluate whether a job offer is a good fit for you.