How to Talk About an Awful Boss in an Interview

awful boss

The job market got off to a hot start in 2019. Even with the recent decline in jobs created in the month of February, we’ve still seen an average of 186,000 jobs created over the last three months. With so many opportunities, people all over the country are leaving their current roles for greener pastures. But like any hiring process, candidates will need to be screened and interviewed before they can begin any new job. While there are several things you should do to prepare for an upcoming interview, today we want to focus on a question that can make or break the whole process.

“Why did you leave your previous job?”

This is a question you will undoubtedly be asked. While people leave for any number of reasons, a recent survey showed that workers are 32 percent less likely to ditch their job if they enjoy their boss. If you find yourself in this situation, how you answer this question matters.

Your last boss could have been legitimately awful. They could have been the worst human being you’ve ever encountered and saying it wouldn’t even be a stretch. But you cannot bad mouth them and explain how they were the worst supervisor ever. If you do, it’s very unlikely you will be hired, even if the hiring manager realizes it might be true. All an answer like this does is raise questions you may not be able to fully answer. The hiring manager will wonder what your former boss’ side of the story is or may wonder whether you’ll quit the second something happens you don’t like. So what is the correct way to answer this question?

Make it Positive

Finding a positive amongst a legitimate reason for leaving will go miles further than listing a bunch of negatives. Let’s say you left your last job because your boss was unorganized and constantly gave short-to-no notice on your weekly schedule. This made it difficult to schedule time for your personal life, and your work-life balance suffered. Highlight how challenging this was, but how you rose to the occasion. Explain how you became an expert in time management and learned how to prioritize in order to remain successful.

The hiring manager is human and will understand your reason for wanting a change of pace. Not only that, but you have crafted a specific and applicable example of what they can expect out of you as an employee. Regardless of why you’re leaving your current position, never bad mouth your employer. I promise you that it’s an interview dealbreaker and only makes you look bad.