How to Answer What You Expect From Your Supervisor

John Krautzel
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You're sailing through the job interview, playing up your unique skills, talking about your greatest achievements, touting your strengths and drawing in your impressive educational background. The hiring manager throws in a question about what you expect from your supervisor, and you're left wondering how to respond. Consider these tips as you navigate this tricky question.

1. Offer Examples from Your Past

Think back to the best boss you've ever had, and then use him as a model as you respond to the question. Talk about what made your supervisor so special. Was he fair and honest? Did he have an open-door policy? Did he reward good employees or offer opportunities for advanced training? Explain how his effective management style made you a better employee and encouraged you to do your best work.

2. Discuss the Importance of Communication

Do you expect your supervisor to connect with you on a personal level, or do you prefer to keep things all business? Discuss what level of connection you prefer to have with your supervisor. Explain the importance of constructive criticism, performance reviews and honest feedback and how they propel you to strive for success. Tell how important it is that your supervisor keep you and other employees informed about changes in the workplace.

3. Mention Employee Morale

Are you the type of worker who wants to feel appreciated? If so, explain how important it is to you that your supervisor provide you recognition for a job well done. Talk about the morale of everyone in the office, and mention that you respect a manager who is fair and equitable and shows no favoritism among employees.

4. Talk About Your Work Style

Some workers prefer to check in with their bosses on a regular basis, while others want to work independently without someone peering over their shoulders. Talk about your preference, and tell how your supervisor can work with you for a healthy balance.

5. Don't Badmouth the Boss

Even if you had a bad experience with a previous supervisor, don't bring that drama into this conversation. Keep your response positive and professional. Don't discuss disagreements you had with a former boss, and never provide a list of traits that make a supervisor bad. Even if he was hard to get along with, this isn't the place to badmouth him and air his flaws. You're likely to leave the hiring manager wondering whether you are the problem.

The job interview is an opportunity for the hiring manager to assess your personality and character, and that's just what he's doing when he asks about the expectations you have for your supervisor. Make sure you provide a response that reflects who you really are as both a person and an employee.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Abdullah M. thanks for your comment. We would all like to work in an environment where we could openly ask questions and our supervisor would take the time to answer - to train us if need me. Don't we wish that all work environments were like that?!!


    I appreciate a work environment where supervisors try to make personal connections with their employees.
    In my last job, I liked the fact that management did not show favoritism and they were understanding of employees’ needs, as well as their strengths. Of course, these things take time to perceive, but I would want my supervisor to try to know me in that way.
    I would like to be able to go to my manager if I have an issue or idea and to be able to feel comfortable in expressing my thoughts. I would also expect my supervisor to be open and honest with me and to let me know if there is anything I could do to improve upon or do differently in my work.

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