How To Find the Best Boss

How To Find the Best Boss

Working for the best boss (or the worst one) can make a big difference in how you feel about your job and the company you’re working for. One of the keys to job satisfaction is the quality of the relationship between employees and their supervisors. Selecting your next boss is one of the most important career decisions you’ll make.. It’s important to try to find the best boss when you’re working on finding your next position.

And, yes, you do get to choose. Not being comfortable with the team you’d be working on and your prospective co-workers is an acceptable reason for declining a job offer.

The boss is the person who’s typically making the hiring decision, but you don’t have to accept a job offer if you feel the chemistry between you and the person you would be working for doesn’t feel right. If you have one of the best bosses to work for, your job will be much easier. Working for a bad boss can make a job a nightmare.

Even though you are the one getting hired, you’re also interviewing the company and your potential manager. It’s important to make sure that you’ll be working for someone with the right skills to enable you to be successful on the job. It’s also important to be sure that your personality meshes—rather than clashes—with your prospective manager’s personality.

Here are tips for checking out the person who might be your next manager, how to assess whether the person is a good match for what you’re seeking in a boss, and what to do if you’re not sure it’s the best fit.

Tips for Checking Out a Prospective Boss

Candidates are often not thorough enough in assessing their prospective supervisor, since they are preoccupied with making a strong case for being hired during the interview process. By taking the following steps prior to accepting an offer, you can increase your due diligence and improve the odds that your next boss will be a good one.

Make a List of What You’re Looking For

In advance of your interviews, reflect on your work history. Identify the type of supervisors under whom you have thrived, and those who have made life difficult for you.

Develop a list of specific qualities that you would like to see (and avoid) in your next boss. Review the list before interviews so that you can keep these criteria in mind as you go through the interview process. Knowing what you’re looking for can make the assessment process easier.

Assess How Your Future Boss Measures Up

Most individuals look for a boss who is approachable, provides feedback in a constructive manner, recognizes accomplishments, gives credit to employees, provides direction but doesn’t micromanage, is open to input from staff, and supports the career advancement and professional development of their employees.

Keep your eyes and ears open during the interview process for any indicators on whether your prospective boss can measure up in these areas. Also, be aware of anything that may indicate a red flag and a potentially difficult boss.

Meet With Employees If Possible

Many prospective employers will provide an opportunity to meet with employees who either report to your prospective boss or are familiar with their style.

If opportunities to meet with other staff aren’t offered during the interview process, you might ask to meet with other potential colleagues after you receive a job offer. During these lunches or interviews, ask questions that can help you gain some insight into how your boss is perceived.

Ask Questions

You can learn a great deal about your prospective supervisor by asking questions like:

  • How would you describe their management style?
  • What are some of their strong qualities as a leader?
  • What is it like to work for him?
  • Are there any challenges you’ve had working with your manager?
  • How much flexibility do you have in your role?
  • How frequently do you meet with them?
  • What opportunities are there for professional development?


Check Social Media

Check out the person’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other social media pages you can find. Someone’s public persona can at least give you a hint at what they might be like to work for.

Read Employer Reviews

Even though you might not find direct evidence supporting what type of boss a person might be, reading reviews can provide insight into an organization and the people who work at it.

Here are some sites where you can read company reviews from current and former employees:

Tip: You may also be able to research salaries to learn what you can expect to be paid while you’re checking out the company.

Check With Your LinkedIn Connections

Look through your LinkedIn contacts to determine if any of your immediate or second-level contacts have worked at the company. If so, you might ask them some discreet questions about your prospective supervisor and his or her style.

This should be done in the spirit of due diligence without revealing any misgivings or concerns you may have about your potential supervisor unless the contact is a well-trusted friend. You don’t want anything remotely construed as negative getting back to the person who may become your new manager.

Ask for One More Meeting

You may still have concerns after you’ve done your due diligence and learned as much as you can about the person who might be your next boss. Once a job offer has been tendered, it is appropriate to ask for an additional meeting with your prospective supervisor if you’re still not sure.

During the meeting, you can inquire about expectations for performance and how it would be measured, frequency of meetings, resources for professional development, your new employer’s position on supporting career advancement over time, and any other concerns which may have emerged during the process of interviewing for the position.

Listen to Your Gut

Sometimes, there’s nothing tangible you can point to as to why you wouldn’t want to work for someone. But your gut could be telling you that this isn’t the person you want to be your manager. When that happens, listen. Your gut is usually right.

The Bottom Line

Taking the time to carefully evaluate your new boss prior to accepting a job offer can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises once you are on the job. Remember, you don’t have to accept a job offer immediately. You can ask for more time to consider the offer before you accept or decline.

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  • March 25, 2023