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3 ways to identify a good leader or boss in a job interview

SHARE 3 ways to identify a good leader or boss in a job interview


Today’s job market might be seen as a job searcher’s market. There are many jobs available and a limited number of available workers. For once, it seems, companies have as much at stake as do the people applying for their jobs. Job searchers can afford to be picky about the type of company they work for. This puts pressure on the person conducting the interview, just as it has always been on the person being interviewed.

While the hiring manager is assessing you to see if you’re a good fit for the job, you, as the interviewee, should also be taking note of the manager. This assessment is important because, according to a Gallup poll of over 10,000 business units, “At least 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers.”

Admittedly, an interview doesn’t offer a great amount of time to offer insight into a supervisor’s management style, but with the right questions and observations, you can get a good idea of what kind of leader that boss will be. Here’s what to look out for at your next job interview.

Listening skills

Did your potential boss actually hear your answer to that last question, or was he or she too busy checking the time or shuffling papers in a desk? Did the interviewer actively follow up on your answer or just continue on without showing real interest in what you said? Listening skills are important in any job position, but they are key for supervisory positions. If you don’t feel heard during the interview, chances are you won’t feel heard on the job, either.


Often, interviewers will ask for your input on a real or theoretical work issue. Pay attention to how they react to your answer. If it isn’t quite what they were expecting, do they appear willing to consider it or do they seem to indicate there is one correct solution: theirs? 

This can be a tricky characteristic to assess during an interview. Your best opportunity to do so might be during the time most interviewers offer at the end of an interview for you to ask questions. This is your chance to delve a little into how this supervisor managers his or her team members. 

Career Sidekick offers a list of possible questions interviewers could ask their potential employers. You won’t have time to ask them all, but here are a few important ones that should make the cut when you’re working to determine how open-minded a supervisor is:

  • What does it take to be successful here?
  • What are the top skills and traits you’re targeting for this position?
  • How would you describe your management style?

Take notes when the interviewer answers so you can review what he or she said later when you’re no longer under pressure and can review the interview as a whole.


An empathetic supervisor might be one of the most important assets a company has to offer. According to research by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), successful leaders are “person-focused” and able to work well with others regardless of department, culture or background.

The CCL says empathetic employers are more likely to “show sincere interest in the needs, hopes and dreams of other people,” “demonstrate a willingness to help an employee with personal problems,” and “show compassion when people disclose a personal loss.”

Baring your soul in an initial interview might be a little over the top, but sharing a personal anecdote can help you gauge the supervisor’s interest in your life and employment goals. 

Looking for your next great boss? Medical technology company BioFire Defense is now hiring. This Salt Lake valley-based firm is hiring for employees looking for a career they can flourish in. Visit biofiredefense.com to apply.