ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Signs Your New Boss Will Be a Nightmare to Work For

Updated on April 10, 2017
SMD2012 profile image

Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky-clean and drama-free.

Watch for signs during the interview that your boss could be difficult to deal with.

Interviewing for a new job can be a stressful experience and if we are anxious about finding a employment, it's easy to miss the subtle clues that our future boss might be a nightmare to work for.

Courtesy is a two-way street, even in a job interview.

Good manners matter when it comes to choosing your future employer. Did the interviewer give you his/her full attention, or did they seem distracted during the interview?
Good manners matter when it comes to choosing your future employer. Did the interviewer give you his/her full attention, or did they seem distracted during the interview?

Being treated with respect in the workplace starts from the moment you first make contact with a future employer. Looking for work, responding to ads, going to interviews, and following up afterwards takes a lot of time and energy, and you deserve to be treated with respect by prospective employers.

When you're not shown basic courtesies such as the interviewer arriving on time and giving you their full attention, you need to take these as warning signs that even if you did get the job, you could find yourself working for a miserable boss in a miserable office with dismal hope for advancement.

Here are some questions and suggestions to help you determine if the person or company you are being interviewed by will provide a satisfying, stable, and respectful work atmosphere.

Job interviews are a two-way street. All the same rules about interview etiquette that you’ve had drilled into your head should also be expected from the person interviewing you. While you’re being assessed for your skills, aptitudes, and ability to work well with others, you should be assessing your future boss on his or her leadership qualities and personality. For example, if you notice any of these things happening during your interview, you might want to ask yourself this is the person you want supervising you:

  • The interviewer shows up late and seems scattered and disorganized.
  • The interview doesn’t start on time.
  • The interviewer avoids eye contact with you, offers a weak handshake, and shows defensive body language. Signals such as crossed arms, gazing over your head while you talk, drumming fingers on the desk, or fidgeting are signs that the interviewer is not mentally present during the meeting.
  • The interviewer can’t maintain their composure when faced with a visible minority candidate. (A friend of mine who has a visible physical disability told me about an interviewer who, upon seeing her for the first time, raised his eyebrows, cocked his chin and shook his head ever so slightly in a gesture that said, "What are YOU doing here?" My friend excused herself from the interview and declined to waste any more time with that company.)
  • The interviewer is rude and dismissive to other people in the office. If employees are treated badly in front of visitors, how are they being treated behind closed doors?
  • The interviewer allows other people to “pop their head in the door” and interrupt your interview. Unless the building is on fire or someone in the office is having a medical emergency, there are very few good reasons for another employee to interrupt your interview. A boss who allows this to happen is displaying a lack of boundaries and leadership skills. A good leader will make sure that he has given the right people the direction they need to do their jobs while he is devoting time to the very important recruitment process.

The interview is going smoothly. But is this really the ideal job for you? Asking the right questions can help you find out. Even if the person interviewing you is courteous and the meeting flows smoothly, don’t assume that you have a complete picture of what working for this person would be like. Many people are smooth and charming and are able to put people at ease during an initial meeting. But making a good first impression is just one part of the whole picture.

The wise man doesn't give the right answers, he poses the right questions.

— Claude Levi-Strauss

Treat your meeting as though you're interviewing your "would-be" manager and the company. As the interview winds down and you’re asked if you have any questions, seize the opportunity to inquire about organizational culture and your future employer’s leadership style. By asking smart questions now, you can reduce the chances that you'll end up working for an incompetent and tyrannical boss.

Here are some questions you might want to consider asking:

1. Why does this position need to be filled? What prompted the need to hire?

2. How are employees encouraged to share ideas, offer suggestions, and give feedback to help the organization grow?

3. Beyond promotions, pay raises, and merit increases, can you tell me how employees are recognized for their efforts and contributions?

4. What are the policies on individual development and training? Hint: Employers that don’t offer professional growth opportunities don’t envision their staff as long-term team members worth investing in.

5. What is the average length of time that employees have worked here? This is a subtle way of finding out about staff loyalty and turnover rates. An organization that has high turnover rates, or has seen a sudden mass exodus of employees, should be viewed with caution. High turnovers rates are always a cause for concern. After all, the relationship that managers have with their employees is a strong determinant of staff morale, productivity, and loyalty to the company.

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. And what you can ask is not limited to these examples only. In fact, your personal beliefs and values will influence the questions that you’ll want to ask. (For example, is rate of pay important to you or would you rather have scheduling flexibility?)

What matters most is how you feel about your would-be employer’s response to your genuine questions. Does this feel like a company that cares about its employee and jives with your personal values? Your gut instinct will tell you. Vagueness, awkward pauses, or lack of an enthusiastic and forthright reply to your queries may be a sign that this isn’t the right job for you. Don't take it personally. It isn’t you, it’s them.

Have you ever turned down a job offer because you got a really bad feeling about your boss during the interview?

See results

© 2012 Sally Hayes


Submit a Comment
  • Say Yes To Life profile image

    Yoleen Lucas 

    5 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

    Thanks for these tips, especially the questions to ask the employer! I really like the story about the applicant with the disability immediately cutting out of the interview!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    Great hub! Your advice and list of questions is terrific. Always trust your gut.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)