How to Gauge a Manager’s Style During an Interview

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

How to Gauge a Manager’s Style During an Interview

As the saying goes, professionals don’t quit companies; they quit managers. As a job seeker, finding a manager with a style that aligns with your needs is essential. Otherwise, what initially looks like a dream job can quickly turn into a nightmare, all because their management philosophy differs from your preferences.

While it may seem like determining if a potential boss could meet your needs isn’t possible until you’re in the role, that isn’t’ the case. Here’s a look at how to gauge a manager’s style during the job interview process, allowing you to figure out if it’s a match before there’s an offer.

Assess Their Interactions

In many cases, you can learn a lot about a manager’s mentality by assessing how they interact with people, including you. When you arrive and are initially greeted, does the manager come across as warm and inviting, or are they all-business? As you interview, are they focused and engaged in the discussion, or are they distracted or doing little more than going through the motions?

By remaining vigilant, you can learn a bit about the manager’s personality as they meet with you. Then, you can take what you find out and extrapolate a bit, allowing you to assess their mindset indirectly.

However, you don’t want to stop there. It’s also wise to observe how the manager interacts with others, as well as how employees react to them. For instance, if the manager engages with a receptionist before greeting you, keep an eye on that conversation. How does the manager come across? Is the manager being respectful? Does the receptionist seem happy to see them?

Again, this is an opportunity to discover more about their mindset. Additionally, it gives you clues about how the manager is perceived by others, which can also lead to powerful insights.

Ask the Right Questions

During an interview, you typically have a chance to ask some questions as the meeting draws to a close. Once that opportunity arises, you can ask questions designed to reveal more about the manager’s style.

One simple way to start is by being straightforward. Ask the manager, “Can you please describe your management style?” and see how they respond. You can also ask, “What’s your approach to feedback?” as that can give you some clues. “How would you describe the team dynamic and your role in it?” may also be revealing, along with “What expectations do you have for the new hire?”

Any of those questions let you know more about how they lead, giving you insights that allow you to assess whether their style is a match for your needs. Once you have a solid idea, you can decide whether you want to proceed in the hiring process, allowing you to focus solely on opportunities that are legitimately a great fit.

Are you seeking out new job opportunities? The team at Top Notch Personnel can make finding an exciting new role easy. Learn more about how we can help.