It’s great that we now have powerful job search engines that allow us to look for positions that meet all our desired criteria. From titles to required skills, locations to salaries, you can punch in almost all your needs and find the job that’s right for you.
However, there remains one vitally important criterion that job seekers can’t search for: the personality of their future boss.
As you might know, your boss – and your relationship with them – is a huge influence on your job satisfaction. Roughly half of us have quit jobs solely because our bosses were horrible, according to Gallup.
Given the importance of your boss to your happiness, it’s a shame that you can’t add “manager personality” to your job search criteria. Maybe you’ll be able to one day, but for now, the best you can do is assess your potential manager’s personality during the application and interview processes.
I recognize this is easier said than done. After all, few managers are going to sit there and exhibit their bad traits during an interview. Just like you, they’ll carefully tailor their behaviors to make the best impression they can.
Still, it can be done. To find out if the person sitting before you is likely to be great boss, you’ll need to know what to look for. Here are three things you should keep in mind as you assess your potential supervisor:
1. Great Bosses Are Approachable
The Gallup survey cited above found that the happiest most engaged employees felt that they could approach their managers with any type of question.
When you’re interacting with a hiring manager, whether via email or during the interview itself, ask yourself: Are they approachable? Do they welcome questions – or, even better, do they actively encourage questions during the interview? If so, that’s a good indicator of approachability.
Pay attention to how they answer your questions, too. Were they enthusiastic and thorough? Did they seem well-informed? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you have another indicator that you’re likely dealing with a good boss.
2. Great Bosses Stay in Touch
It’s all well and good to have an approachable boss, but the relationship needs to be a two-way street. No one enjoys feeling like they always have to chase their boss down just to talk with them.
Further research from Gallup shows that employees whose managers hold regular meetings with staff members are three times more likely to be engaged.
Given this fact, it’s crucial that you talk to the hiring manager about how often they meet with their staff members, both as a team and one on one. If the hiring manager is quite specific about how and how often they meet with employees, there’s a good chance you’re talking to a boss who values their employees.
3. Great Bosses Set Goals
Ask the hiring manager about how they set goals and motivate their team. If they appear disinterested – or worse, refer you to HR for an explanation of the performance management process, – then you may have a problem. This could be a sign they are not on board with or particularly invested in the performance management process. If you work for this boss, you may struggle to find a purpose or to understand how well you are performing. That’s a good way to end up disengaged.
By following this guide, you’ll be able to identify whether or not the hiring manager sitting before you is likely to be a good boss.
That being said, a hiring manager’s potential to be a good boss is not the be all, end all. If a hiring manager falls short, you should consider the pros of the jobs against the cons of the manager before making any final decisions.