Leadership

Former Google HR exec: Your boss can make or break you—here are 2 things to look out for in a job interview

As exciting as it may be to get called in for a job interview, it's crucial that the potential boss is someone who can help you thrive, says Laszlo Bock, former senior vice president of people operations at Google and CEO of HR firm HUMU, in a video post for LinkedIn.

In fact, intolerable bosses are one of the main reasons employees end up leaving a company. In a Gallup survey of over 7,200 workers, more than half said they left their job to "get away from their manager to improve their overall life."

In another survey, by human resources software firm Bamboo HR, employees listed "taking credit for your work" as the No. 1 most hated behavior from theirbosses. Other poor habits include bosses who bash them in front of their colleagues or continuously micromanage them.

More ways to spot a bad boss include if the person is unkind, a poor communicator, absent or doesn't care about his or her employees' well-being, according to leadership experts.

However, there are many ways to determine whether a manager fits the above descriptions prior to signing a job offer. During an interview, Bock advises that you pay attention to two key details during an interview: what's important to the manager and how people act in front of the boss.

Determine what matters to your manager

First, ask the interviewer and your potential boss these three key questions, says Bock: "What gets recognized?" "What gets rewarded?" and "What gets me promoted?"

"The things that get people promoted [are] what's really important," he says.

Suggested alternatives to that question include, "What's important to you?" and "How do you evaluate your people?"

"And if they say, 'I care about the team and how they collaborate and perform,' that's a good sign," says Bock. But if they focus on other things that aren't people focused, this shows you the "honest truth" about what they value and what it's going to take to be successful.

Watch how people act in front of your manager

The second step is to discuss the company culture with everyone, even lower-level employees. "Ask around," says Bock. "Talk to the receptionist. Ask what it's like to work there."

Also, pay attention to nonverbal cues. "See if people are smiling or not as they walk down the halls," says Bock. "See if when somebody meets the person interviewing you, if they're overly obsequious, if they're afraid, if they're overly hierarchical."

He continues, "Those are tiny little signals which tell you what it's really like to work for that person."

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