Interview 29: Who Was Your Best/Worst Boss?

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

This question can easily trip you up in an interview, as it can be a tough thing to answer on the fly. Managers will ask this question to see how you respond to authority, and if you can criticize someone fairly. This question should be answered keeping in mind that supervisors may ask this question to determine how you might speak about them to other people.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Who was your best boss?
  • Who was your worst boss?
  • Write down three reasons for each of these qualifications

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Points to Emphasize

As you put together your answer, remember these points to help you get organized.

  • Discuss the manager’s approach or performance in ways that highlight how they shaped yours.
  • Remember to focus on objectively or measurably positive aspects of their leadership.
  • Put them in context within their organization, so that your discussion also highlights their contribution to the overall culture.

The hiring manager is looking for you in this, so connect your favorite manager to your skills in multiple ways.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • How has a good boss made a good impact on your? Did you learn any valuable skills or lessons from them?
  • If you did learn something from a good boss, how might you translate these skills into this potential job?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

These missteps can be distracting, and they can pull focus from the important parts of your answer.

  • Don’t make it personal. Sometimes you get to be friends with your supervisor, but that’s not a great reason to hold them out as a role model.
  • Avoid discussing perks or preferences, unless you’re highlighting the way they use incentives and rewards for everyone.
  • Remember that maverick techniques have their place, but that you need to show how they balance those techniques. Lauding someone for ignoring the rules won’t go over well.

Avoid anecdotes if at all possible, it will make the answer go long and it misses the big-picture nature of the question.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Think about the organization that your least favourite boss worked within. What factors may have contributed to their behaviour? Does it make you empathize more with them?
  • Decide on one or two qualities from each bad and good boss that would sound professional and fair
  • Supervisors generally like to hear that you will work well within a hierarchy. How does this factor in to your answer?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

Here is one way to reply that emphasizes just the right parts.

“My favorite manager was the owner of the grocery store where I had my first job. He used his role in the community to provide work to people who didn’t get a lot of chances elsewhere, and he focused on skill-building. It wasn’t just for kids working in the stockroom, either. A number of women who went back to work after their kids went to school started with us and went on to manage their own retail spaces after a couple of years with Andy. He had a way of getting everyone to look at the big picture, even if your main job was taking out the trash.”

Look for the answer that shows who you are as a leader, and you’ll be on the right track.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.

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