You’re finally at the offer stage. You’re thrilled by the role you’ve been handed. You adore the company, and you know you can make an impact there.
But do you love your new boss?
Before you accept that job, you need to really ask yourself this question (and listen to your intuition). If the answer is no, then you need to press on and find a boss you can jibe with.
Not vetting your boss is an amateur move that can negatively impact your career for years to come. Today, tenures may be short, but memories and reputations are long and back-channeling is just one click away. These days, it’s essential to show meaningful impact in your first 90 days. To achieve that, you need to have a boss under whom you can thrive, not just survive.
During the interview and offer process, you’ll have a chance to figure out where the bad bosses are lurking.
Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to work for bosses both great and lame. If so, you can probably spot the difference a mile away. During the interview and offer process, you’ll have a chance to figure out where the bad bosses are lurking. Once you do, you then need to have the guts to avoid them and press on, even if it means turning down a dream job at a dream company. Terrible bosses (the passive-aggressive, aloof, micro-managing types) will squelch your creativity, hurt your upward mobility, and pretty much ensure that your career will begin working in reverse.
Strategies for spotting the bad bosses
Interviews are a two-way street
Even if you’re at the offer stage, there’s still time to reflect on the interview process. If you look back and realize that you did most of the talking and they didn’t do much, ask for a follow up meeting. Once you land one, probe and prod. Remember all that talk about conversations? If you can’t get your prospective boss into one, move on.
“Break bread” before you accept the offer
If a company really wants to invest in you, your new boss will make time to sit down with you. Breakfast, lunch, drinks, or dinner are all great ways to spend some quality time with your prospective new boss. Any lingering doubts or concerns should be answered based on how genuine he or she is over a meal.
Make sure your POVs are in alignment.
One way to know if you’re on the same page is to do some pre-work before you accept the job. Outline what you would deliver in your first 90 days and present it in person. If you take the job, doing this exercise will make you faster once you’re in it. But the real benefit is figuring out if you two can finish each other’s sentences and whether or not you’re on the same page. If you suspect they’re not buying what you’re selling, it’s a mismatch.
We all go into new jobs with the desire to make an impact, but even the most well-intentioned can end up in a bad relationship. If you accept a job and know right away that your new boss is bad business, get out as soon as you realize you’ve made a huge mistake. You don’t want to end up at year-end with a bad review, no promotion, no raise, or no job.
Winding up with a new boss you can’t stand or can’t work with is an avoidable mistake. Interview like your livelihood depends on it, because it does. And know that picking a bad boss is as bad for your career as taking a job that doesn’t enhance your skills bank.
We’ll give you a checklist of the seven things your next job must have. (Healthcare benefits? Check. A company culture you can thrive in? Maybe not.)
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