Want to Avoid a Toxic Boss? Ask These Questions

Nancy Anderson
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You just left one unhealthy work situation and ditched your toxic boss because your well-being is too important. As you migrate to your next job opportunity, ask any of these 10 interview questions to avoid another toxic situation. The first seven questions work best if your interviewer is also the hiring manager.

1. How Do You Describe an Ideal Employee?

If your interviewer is your potential supervisor, the answer to this question gives you an idea as whether you think you would be a good fit for your boss. If not, you can always decline an offer if you think you have a toxic boss on your hands.

2. What Is the Review/Feedback Process Like?

Your manager may decide to have weekly one-on-one chats about your performance or take a more formal annual review approach. You should know the employee review process beforehand so there are no surprises.

3. How Do You Give Constructive Criticism to an Employee?

Good supervisors nurture employees to help them grow rather than talk down to them. If the hiring manage says something like, "I call out people in front of everyone else to teach them a lesson," then this type of toxic boss is not for you.

4. How Do Members of Your Team Describe Your Management Style?

The answer to this question gives you a clue as to the supervisor's self-awareness. The person's team should feel engaged, listened to and properly managed. If the team says they are uninspired and have a lack of cohesiveness and collaboration, perhaps you should decline an offer from this toxic boss.

5. How Long Has Your Current Team Been in Place?

This answer helps you determine if there is high turnover among the supervisor's team. To verify the response to this question and to question #4, talk to members of this person's team directly to see how they feel and think.

6. How Does Your Team Celebrate Success?

Every person on the team should celebrate major accomplishments with a day off, some vacation time or perhaps an expenses-paid employee lunch. A toxic boss may set a bad example by having a workaholic attitude.

7. Who Inspires You and Why?

Your future boss should know why he feels inspired by his own boss, a family member or some business leader. The answer lets you study your supervisor's methods for getting things done.

Ask the next three questions if your boss does not interview you directly.

8. What's My Future Boss's Management Style?

Seek out clues as to how you expect to be treated. Does the person sound as if he is respectful, or does he micromanage everyday tasks?

9. What Do You Like Most About Working With My Future Supervisor?

Take note of vague responses or if someone just says, "He's awesome." Those are red flags.

10. How Do You Describe Your Team's Culture?

The answer to this question should have something to do with the company's corporate values. Otherwise, you may not know what you're getting into when it comes to how teammates communicate and relate to each other.

These 10 interview questions can help you ascertain if you have a toxic boss in store as your future manager. What questions would you ask interviewers as a way to identify potentially toxic managers?

Photo courtesy of Don at Flickr.com


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