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Ask Slashdot: Interviewing Your Boss? 219

Posted by timothy
from the are-you-really-as-clueless-as-you-appear? dept.
First time accepted submitter Uzuri writes "I'm soon going to have the experience of interviewing an individual to be my direct supervisor. I have in mind several things to ask already, especially since I also have the strange position of working as a technical person in a non-technical office and want to be able to be certain that the interviewee understands exactly what that means without coming off as hostile or condescending. What sort of questions would you ask/have you asked the person who was to be your boss? What sort of tells would you look for? What's out of bounds?"
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Ask Slashdot: Interviewing Your Boss?

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  • Ask him (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:55PM (#42278329)

    Will you fire me?

    • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:09PM (#42278597) Journal

      Better idea - ask about management style, then count the buzzwords. Deduct 10 points for each buzzword, and reject the candidate when the score drops by 50.

      In all seriousness though, HR is probably going to ride shotgun over the whole process, and they will most likely provide the article submitter with guidelines (usually that STAR thingy, where you ask questions like "...tell me about a time when you were frustrated with another employee during a project, and how you overcame it to meet the project goals.")

      What I would do is not only ask similar questions, but pay very close attention to body language, personality, and suchlike. Be sure to throw in questions that make him/her squirm and think a little, to see how they react. Maybe make him write a script/program/etc or two while you're at it to see how proficient the person is.

      • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@gmaiYEATSl.com minus poet> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:13PM (#42278667) Homepage Journal
        Very good, mod parent up. Body language is very important. Does he/she keep his/her hands visible, and what "story" do the hands tell ? Do you get to look the interviewee straight into the eyes, and as often as you want ? Deduct points for every time you hear "Honestly..." or "Frankly...", for you may be sure that after these words you are going to hear the exact opposite of what they mean.
        • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @05:04PM (#42279571)

          I hear that bullshit about "honestly" and "frankly" all the time and most everyone believes it. I say the same words as filler speech to invoke attention at the beginning of a statement or to add a bit of dramatization. It certainly doesn't mean I'm lying. Honestly, when I'm lying, I won't say that shit because of the connotation it has on it. I'll also look you straight in the eyes.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            Yeah...I don't understand that.

            I'll look someone straight in the eyes when telling the truth, and I'll do the same thing while lying to your face...

            I try not to do the latter...but in the past, I'd dare say the lies would often sound more heartfelt and honest than the truth did....

        • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Funny)

          by GNious (953874) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @05:16PM (#42279759)

          Deduct points for every time you hear "Honestly..." or "Frankly...", for you may be sure that after these words you are going to hear the exact opposite of what they mean.

          You must be american ...

        • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @05:45PM (#42280215) Journal

          Body language is very important.

          Aaaggh! This is what I hate so about interviewing. All my education, training, and experience means less than a highly subjective and unreliable measure such as body language. In those kinds of interviews, it's annoying to discover you've been wasting your time talking with someone who doesn't care what you're talking about because they don't know jack about technology. All they've been doing is judging your mannerisms, seeing how old you look, and listening for any hints about your family situation that they're not supposed to consider when making a hiring decision.

          You rely on body language, and you will get stuck with the bullshit artists. There are more bullshit artists than there are competent engineers. Think you can tell the different between these two kinds of people? If you don't know the field, you haven't got a chance. Take people who are weak on math and hazy about the odds and rules of poker but who think they're great at reading body language, and see how far they get.

          • Re:Ask him (Score:4, Insightful)

            by 9jack9 (607686) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @07:00PM (#42281441)

            There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions

            1. Can you do the job?
            2. Will you love the job?
            3. Can we tolerate working with you?

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgebradt/2011/04/27/top-executive-recruiters-agree-there-are-only-three-key-job-interview-questions/

            • Why No. 2 matters? I mean, I can understand why it matters to employee, but why the employer cares?

              This really should be:

              1. Can you do the job?
              2. Can you tolerate job?
              3. Can we tolerate you?
          • by Xenna (37238)

            I agree partially. I hired a tech guy with horrible body language. He was incredibly nervous and made notes the whole time. Still, he turned out a pretty good colleague (with his faults, of course). But I wouldn't hire him as my manager. But then my manager wouldn't be an engineer.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Even better - apply to the position yourself.
        You're almost sure to ace that interview!

      • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Synerg1y (2169962) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:27PM (#42278915)
        Managers should manage, coders should write code. A manager should get the jist of what's going on beneath him/her, but not partake in it. Also, the obvious question comes to mind that I haven't seen yet... why not promote yourself?

        Let's think about this, if you're good enough to hire your own boss, you're good enough to be that guy, well betas excluded.

        I've turned the opportunity down once (to become the boss), and I felt like I had a slew of good reasons, but I'll always wonder what if till it comes up again anyways. But... if somebody asked me to hire my own boss, I'd recommend myself and if not, I'd find another place to work. Under no circumstance do I want to hire then train a person who's going to be making more than me and telling me what to do, that has "not ends well" written all over it. Most management types are POS anyways.
        • Re:Ask him (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:44PM (#42279179)

          In answer to your question about "why not promote yourself", allow me to quote your own post

          Managers should manage, coders should write code

          Some people are comfortable and enjoy managing, others are comfortable and enjoy clacking on a computer.... myself being very much in the latter category. I absolutely can't stand the thought of managing a team and having to deal with interpersonal people problems and office politics, whereas instead I could just do what I love instead.

          For some people, the ultimate goal of your work at a location isn't "make as much money as humanly possible", but instead "Enjoy what you do". There literally was an opportunity for me to apply for a management position. I didn't even slightly think about putting in my resume for it.

          Why would I want to do a job where I'm going to be miserable? If I can currently feed, clothe, and shelter myself quite comfortably, what incentive do I have to be miserable for almost all of my waking hours for the next 3 or 4 decades, with the only payoff being able to feed, clothe, and shelter myself slightly fancier?

          Sorry, I'd rather not spend the best years of my life deliberately making myself miserable.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Cammi (1956130)
            One word... family. Almost a decade ago, I was interviewing people to be my supervisor. We ended up with a person who did not fit ... and he ended up leaving last year. After that, I applied for the position and got it. I didn't do it because of the position, I do not care much for managing. But I did it because of two reasons: 1. Who know's what the next person/wildcard would be. I could not take that chance. 2. Pay raise. At the time, my family was growing, so I needed income to keep pace (I know, I k
          • by mysidia (191772)

            Managers should manage, coders should write code Some people are comfortable and enjoy managing, others are comfortable and enjoy clacking on a computer.... myself being very much in the latter category. I absolutely can't stand the thought of managing a team and having to deal with interpersonal people problems and office politics, whereas instead I could just do what I love instead.

            But maybe you should manage at least once, and see what it's like, before knocking it.

            Also... Hiring and interviewing

          • by FreekyGeek (19819)

            I couldn't agree more. For 20 years I've watched as good, happy technical people turn into lousy, miserable people by going into management. I saw too many stress-related illnesses, too many divorces, too many kids who didn't know their parents, too many people wasting their lives miserable and robotic. I vowed that I would never become one of them, and since then I've turned down every opportiunity to go into management. That's held back my salary, definitely, but I still make twice what the national a

        • Let's think about this, if you're good enough to hire your own boss, you're good enough to be that guy, well betas excluded.

          Let's think about this. The original question didn't say anything about hiring, just about interviewing.

          I strongly suspect that the final hiring decision will come from a senior manager higher up the chain, based ultimately on that senior manager's own judgement. That decision will, however, be informed - in part - by the input he receives from the underlings who participated in the interview process.

          And that's a Good Thing, for everyone involved. Senior management needs to know if prospective manag

          • by Synerg1y (2169962)
            The simple solution here is to have the senior manager in the room WHILE he's interviewing the candidate if that was the case. I guess the guy would have to clarify his question to know for sure. It's possible they'll just take his word for it and hire whoever he recommends, especially if sr. management is not involved in the interview process themselves.
        • by v1 (525388)

          if somebody asked me to hire my own boss, I'd recommend myself and if not, I'd find another place to work.

          Some of us don't want to be managers. I sure don't want my boss's job. I'm a tech and fix stuff. He's a pencil pusher and firewalls against stupid and hostile customers. I couldn't stand to do his job.

      • BOFH, the whole series. From managing HR to selecting your boss, it's all there.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:14PM (#42278673) Journal

      Reject any management candidate who has job-hopping in their history. If they spent less than 2 years or so in their last three positions and the companies they worked for are still around, odds are good there's a reason behind all that shuffling, and it indicates that said manager never really got to know his or her team that well.

      • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:29PM (#42278941)
        Contractors are an exclusion to this, though often not managers, some project managers fall into this category. Coming on-site executing a successful project and then doing it again at a different site requires way more managerial skills and organization than a guy that's been getting fat at his corp for the last decade.
  • Who's the boss? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rla3rd (596810) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:57PM (#42278367)
    Ask him who's the boss? If he says you, give him a big thumbs up!
  • by cusco (717999) <brian.bixbyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:58PM (#42278395)
    Give them an example of situations and ask how they would react. I would choose the biggest mistake that I've made at my current job, and the biggest accomplishment. Their reaction will tell them if you want to work with them supervising you or not. You needn't tell them that this is what you personally did, but you know what an appropriate response to the situation should be and can contrast it to what the actual response was at the time.
    • by hellkyng (1920978) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:19PM (#42278785)

      A similar strategy I use a lot of times is ask them a question they don't know the answer to. The purpose of the questions isn't to make them look bad, but to gauge their reaction. For example in some interviews I've asked "Can you define and explain the purpose of ASLR and DEP?" for a technical interview. The answer I'm looking for in this case is "I don't know, but I'll find out." But I've gotten people who got flustered, confused, and worst totally lied.

      Its an interesting strategy I think to find someone with an open mind who can be honest with themselves. You also want to be prepared to provide the answer, and let them know "I didn't expect you to know that, its something you would learn or blah blah blah." Either way the reaction to tough questions is the most valuable tool I have as interviewer I think.

      • by rcamera (517595) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:38PM (#42279063) Homepage
        Seems like a bad example. Data Execution Prevention [wikipedia.org] and Address space layout randomization [wikipedia.org] are actually very important depending on your field...

        Maybe the guy who "totally lied" knew what he was talking about and you didn't?
        • by hellkyng (1920978)

          Geeze not only did you read the article, but you googled the terms. The point of the example was that you want to ask a question the interviewee can reasonably be expected to not know the answer to. OP should probably choose something relevant to the interview he will be conducting. The question I asked was relevant to an interview I had conducted.

          Its also an extremely bad idea to ask a question you don't know the answer to, logically you will need to be able to determine when an interviewee lies... Its alw

      • by cusco (717999)
        In my position I run into bizarre things that almost no one else ever does. I've been involved in interviewing other people to join my team, and I'll use one of those examples. I'm not looking for them to give me the correct answer, I'm looking at their problem resolution pattern. The best answers go something like,

        "I'd try X"
        That takes about 15 minutes. Didn't work.

        "Then I'd try Y."
        Another 15 minutes, and it didn't work either.

        "OK, I'd try Z."
        That didn't work, you've now spent an hour on th
    • Those are good questions. I've interviewed 'supervisors' as well in the past and mostly focused on organizational talents.

      Ask them how they would handle a project falling behind schedule. Ask them about how they like to assign projects. Ask them about their philosophies on what to do when budgets are reduced. What their position is on overtime. Etc.

      To the people who are responding "If it's not you quit" you clearly don't understand the role of a project manager--and how that's completely different fr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:58PM (#42278401)

    "On a scale of one to ten, are you a douchebag?"

  • What is your management style?

    What are your job priorities?

    How do you think I can help you?

    Take notes, because none of their answers will be truthful.

    • by hchaos (683337) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:09PM (#42278589)
      "Based on what you know about me so far, and the fact that I'm a decision-maker in your hiring process, how much of a raise do you think I deserve right now?"
  • you are crazy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by datapharmer (1099455) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:00PM (#42278431) Homepage
    Don't hire your boss, find a different job! The idea that someone is qualified to hire their own superior is so asinine that it could only come out of a corporate red-tape nightmare so awful it is doomed to an epic fail. If the company had any idea about how to manage whatsoever then they would either have someone higher-up the ladder do the hiring or move someone qualified up from within. Run! Run now! Run fast!
    • Re:you are crazy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:06PM (#42278549)

      I disagree - and I'm in the same boat. We've had a few search cycles now, in our 3rd. First two ended due to a lack of qualified candidates.

      Of our 8 person department, 2 of us are on the hiring committee. Other department chairs and AVPs make up the balance.

      And yes, we need to be on the committee because we know what we do every day, and areas our prior boss both lacked and excelled in. We're hoping to keep the excelling part and get rid of the lacking part.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        being part of a search committee is different than being the sole guy responsible for picking your boss.

        • by i.r.id10t (595143)

          Except the way we do it the committee does all the interviews, etc. and then sends forward a recommendation... if hte Big Boss agrees, the offer is made. The Big Boss doesn't see anyone we don't pass on to him/her.

    • Re:you are crazy (Score:4, Informative)

      by Motard (1553251) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:07PM (#42278557)

      He said interview, not hire. It's generally a good policy to get many people involved in the interviewing process.

    • Re:you are crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JonniLuv (864539) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:15PM (#42278707)

      Don't hire your boss, find a different job! The idea that someone is qualified to hire their own superior is so asinine that it could only come out of a corporate red-tape nightmare so awful it is doomed to an epic fail. If the company had any idea about how to manage whatsoever then they would either have someone higher-up the ladder do the hiring or move someone qualified up from within. Run! Run now! Run fast!

      In converse, I'd say if you aren't qualified to interview a potential future manager, you have some serious deficiencies in life skills. This practice is against the status-quo of corporate red tape practices. Also in direct contradiction to your statement, I'd say that always having people higher up the ladder do the interviewing is one of the causes of hiring bad managers, and having direct reports participate in the process is part of a good solution the problem.

      • Also in direct contradiction to your statement, I'd say that always having people higher up the ladder do the interviewing is one of the causes of hiring bad managers, and having direct reports participate in the process is part of a good solution the problem.

        It's good not to just improve the evaluation process, but to start with buy in for the direct reports.

      • by gtall (79522)

        The flip side of that is a dork actually makes it through and proceeds to shit on and/or fire all the interviewers that made him feel uncomfortable. I think the downside also needs to be considered.

    • by ZeroPly (881915)
      Yes and no. I doubt that the submitter will have a majority vote in selecting a supervisor. If you choose a laid back dude who's a technical God, but thinks sexual harrassment is overstated and drinking on the job is cool, sorry, your vote probably doesn't count for much.

      I get the impression here that the people higher up on the food chain are looking for vetoes, not votes of confidence. They are looking for the submitter to weed out the pointy haired boss types who don't understand technical concepts. But
  • You're very sparing with the details here. What do you do that is technical? If you're a sole technical person in a non-technical office, I assume this means you're IT. Why exactly are you interviewing someone to be your supervisor? How did this happen? Are you being forced to have a supervisor because management wants to reign you in? So many unknowns. Why wouldn't management make you the supervisor and get you to hire underlings if they feel they need more bodies? This reeks badly of a top-heavy o
  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:01PM (#42278455)
    Do you evaluate performance based upon specific goals - that is, lines of code/subroutines/class modules/interfaces/boards/prototypes/thingamabobs built, or something more ethereal, like how well I kiss ass?
    • by Zeromous (668365)

      This question is impossible to answer truthfully . This really depends on the hiring manager's style noy the supervisor or mid level manager's preference.

  • by mooingyak (720677) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:05PM (#42278531)

    The pain in the ass about interviews is that nearly everybody is looking to please, and trying their damnedest to give the answer that they think you want to hear.

    So you need sort of roundabout ways to get to the questions you *really* want answered. But before you even get that far, you need to figure out what qualities you'd like to see in a boss.

    For me at least, the ideal boss is:
    1. competent
    2. professional
    3. willing to shield me from the political BS that is part of his job
    4. knows when to leave me alone (most of the time) and when to get on my case (once in a while)
    5. understands what I do and the value of it, even if he can't necessarily do it himself
    6. knows what I'm better suited to accomplish than he is, and is willing to leave those tasks/decisions to me

    There's more, but that covers a good chunk of the basics. That list might suit you, but then again you might have something totally different in mind. The important thing is to have some clue of what you're looking for first. As far getting to know whether or not a potential supervisor has these traits, the best generic way I know of is to ask about prior experience and how he's handled specific scenarios.

    • by Renraku (518261)

      This. There are two major schools of thought in management: One is that managers should ride everyone's ass because as soon as the manager leaves their field of view they're going to be playing solitaire and wasting company money, the other is that all they themselves should have to do is relay orders from Up Above and then fire up solitaire themselves.

      In reality, management is a logistical position. Their job is to make sure orders get relayed, everyone is cool with it (aka that it is well within their

  • by quietwalker (969769) <pdughi@gmail.com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:05PM (#42278533)

    I'm a software dev, and I could do a decent evaluation for anyone from architect down to data-entry, but I don't know that there's anything in my background or skill set that would mark me as being especially able to evaluate a manager based on their day to day duties.

    That being said, what I could look for that's important for my manager to have that affects MY day to day duties - which is going to be the minority of what they do - is awareness of the technical processes, awareness of technical limitations, and a reasonable shot from the hip estimate of costs and risk they think a given task will require.

    I have had managers who have asked me to get a remote server with no external access email us when they or their internet connection goes down. I've had folks who don't understand that if I push a change of a major subsystem directly into production after working on it for only a few hours, it could very well take down all customers. In many cases, these folks won't be able to justify or even consider the costs for refactors, or for separate test environments, but it's a little late after they've told their boss's boss they'll hit the deadline and now you're on the hook for it.

    Beyond those things, just check to see if his management style gels with how your company like to work. Some folks like teams, some like seclusion. Some managers are hands on, some are hands off. Some like rigid project plans, others prefer desk drive-bys. Make sure that their style is good for your company, and for you.

  • What mental disability do you have that makes you think you're capable of micro-managing something that you have not comprehension of?

  • by sdnoob (917382) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:10PM (#42278609)

    why the fuck aren't YOU being considered for the position?

    if you're qualified to interview and evaluate candidates for that position, you yourself must also be qualified -- even more so because you are already an employee there, know the company, its policies, procedures, customers and other workers.....

    • Maybe the manager will be overseeing multiple departments, and the submitter only represents one department. Also, being good at following instructions is not equivalent to being good at delivering them and managing people. Also, maybe the submitter is; that was never ruled out. Also, maybe the submitter already turned down the position because of the stress, current commitment to work on certain projects, et cetera. There are plenty of reasons why an individual would be in this situation, and most of them

    • The reason why most teams fails is because of culture issues, not technically issues. The wrong person can destroy a team just as well as a incompetent boss.

      I assume the poster’s upper management only hires talented people and respects the poster’s opinion. I don’t see where the poster said they had decision making power or a veto. I assume that their opinion will be consider along with other factors.

      One of my worst job experiences was with a highly competent accountant. She managed 14 acc

    • why the fuck aren't YOU being considered for the position?

      I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be the boss. Approving time sheets and attending manager meetings and balancing budgets sounds freaking awful.

      I'd rather do things than manage them.

  • "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
    "Doin' your wife."

  • Figure out some questions to get an honest feel for what they enjoy besides their job. Do they "live to work" or "work to live"? Figure out which of those options applies to you and determine which you'd like more in a boss.

    My current boss is way better of a technical manager than my last, but has no life outside of work. So while I have a much easier time agreeing on technical solutions than I did with my previous manager, my previous manager and I had the same feeling of "get out of work ASAP and enjoy
  • What's out of bounds?"

    I hope you have had a bit of training on the legal in's and out's of interviewing. Asking an illegal question in an interview can be a liability to the entire company. e.g.- How old are you, I noticed an accent, are you from Timbucktwo? Do you have any kids?

    Depending on which state/province/country you live in the legal rules can be very different, brush up on them so you yourself don't get fired.

  • by Pascal Sartoretti (454385) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:19PM (#42278787)
    Ask him if he knows what is a PHB
  • "A valuable employee leaves your group. You get a call from an employer verifying period of employment. What do you say?"

    Follow up with: "An employee with unsatisfactory performance leaves your group. You get a call from an employer verifying period of employment. What do you say?"

  • by DrewBeavis (686624) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:26PM (#42278889)
    In my previous position, I wasn't on the committee, per se, but gave an operational tour to each candidate and tried to explain what we did and our job functions. One candidate didn't seem to pay much attention and was eliminated because he wanted too much money. Another candidate thought he knew more than I did about our operations since he had glanced at our website and walked around the building before the interview. The third candidate was able to understand what I was saying to him and asked good questions about what we did. This casual back and forth was helpful in assessing his demeanor and grasp of technology. He was a manager, so he wasn't actively managing servers and such, but knew what I was talking about and not just buzzwords. I was able to recommend him to the committee and I left his department seven years later with a good reference. Things that stand out to me about people, especially managers: proper dress, profanity during the conversation, excessive sarcasm, and any hints of poor anger management. I may be old school, but I want a manager that doesn't yell or swear at me during our interactions and isn't sarcastic.
  • by clawsoon (748629) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:28PM (#42278929)
    If a candidate finds technical questions threatening or condescending, you probably don't want them as your boss. You want someone who's okay with the fact that you have more technical knowledge than they do, but is still able to speak (and listen) intelligently about technical subjects.
  • How about "what makes you think that you would be better for this position?" or "Do you really want to work for a company that has no qualms about bringing somebody with no knowledge in to be a supervisor rather than promote someone from within?" After all, it may work out well this time for the interviewee, but the next outside placement they do may be HIS (or HER) boss.
  • by Ben4jammin (1233084) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:33PM (#42278999)
    I was actually the only member of the IT dept in the interviews for our Director of IT position some years back. I was also the only person involved in the process that was not on the existing executive management team.
    I think a lot of it depends on who else is in the room. If there are any other department heads involved, note closely their interaction with YPNB (your potential new boss). I found that to be quite telling in that you see what is important to them, and if YPNB has any intelligence, they will pick up on what is expected of them and what the others are looking for. By being involved in this, I was able to pretty much garner what projects we would be working on during the first 6 months after he was hired.

    As others have stated, HR or someone else may run the show. The only thing you might want to consider is this: if YPNB requests a laptop or projector for any type of presentation, hook it up, but do something wrong (leave a plug loose etc). See how YPNB reacts to the unexpected and how the interaction goes when either they or you "fix" the problem. I don't know of any other way to really get a read, because any questions from HR (or you) are likely to be met with "correct" answers.

    Also, with the boss I ended up with, we had a laptop setup and he wanted to show something off a thumb drive. At that time, the NIC port was wide enough that you could put a USB drive in it. He did. And so I went to the laptop, noticed what he did, and quickly put it in a USB port without saying anything. He showed his stuff, and ended up getting hired. He was nervous about the interview, but was very gracious about the whole thing. He is still my boss today (6 years later) and while not perfect, we could have done a lot worse. He was a unanimous choice (they even let me vote).
  • Ask the boss that and if he does not say part of it are manual on what not to do.

  • The trick to managing technical people is knowing what you don't know and allowing technical experts do their job without infuriating them with stupid questions.
    -- ask some technical questions, make sure at least a few the candidate will not know the answer to. If they fake it rather than saying "I don't know" PASS
    -- give a situation to deal with (the server is down) and ask "what do you want me to do?" if it is anything other than "fix it and let me know the details only after you are done" PASS
  • Start looking for another job. In my experience having another manager come in to the group is always a disaster. I've never had it go well, and that's WITH new managers who seemed to think I was doing a great job.

  • Do you understand the acronym "PEBKAC"?
    Connery or Moore?
    Episodes IV-VI or I-III?
    Shirt or skins?
    Can I have a raise?
    I said "CAN I HAVE A RAISE?"

  • Ask his position on "undocumented time off" :)

  • You might ask how he feels about meaningless, "feel-good" management consultant-theater exercises like having a worker "interview" his own boss-to-be.

    It'll be a good indication of how much time you're going to be wasting in meetings, "team-building" exercises, etc.

    At most, all that's going to be accomplished by this nonsense is you getting a sense of just how much of a sociopath your new boss is going to be. Maybe you should ask him if he still wets the bed and sets small animals on fire.

  • I'd ask how they gauge productivity - particularly if you are an odd one out in a team. I'm in a similar situation where I do many things outside of my job role, and without my skills, so many projects and other tasks would have taken way longer if they happened at all. The difficulty though is in justifying my time further up the chain. That's why my manager worked with me to ensure she knows what I'm doing and why, and I know the kind of information she needs from me in order to explain how three days of

  • Ask some vaguely technical questions. Yes, it's a bit of a trick question. If he starts coming up with elaborate and specific implementation details and other micromanagement, rather than a high-level understanding of the business constraints and risk assessment, who he would delegate to, and what requirements he would communicate, I'd be at least a little bit worried.

    If I ask my manager what stance to take with sales data retention, he'll tell me the business policies and IT resource constraints that affec

  • - How he feels success in your field should be measured, what would be good indicators - What he thinks are positive and negative aspects about outsourcing whatever you do - Try to get a feeling if he will openly admit when he does not understand something, or rather act as if he understands
  • 1: Is this being recorded?
    2: Do you ever press charges?
    3: Profit.

  • Ask why it would be hard to work for them and demand a meaningful answer if they offer something stupid like "I expect amazing things from my people" - ask them why that's hard to handle and what support they would give you to accomplish that.

    Make them be specific in their answers to all questions. If they describe something about themselves, make them give an example from real experience.

    Question them about their use of buzzwords and bullshit.

    Other co-workers will be interviewing them, too - so ask them to

  • (Ego, Politics)
    How concerned are you with others' perception of you and your actions?

    (Self-Confidence, Protection)
    How do you handle stress passed down from the higher rungs on the ladder? Do you pass it down the hierarchy or do you act to shield your employees from stress they don't genuinely need?

    (Field Sgt. vs. Desk Jockey)
    How important is it for a manager to be capable of replacing her/his employees in absence of the employee? Are you willing to fill-in for your employees to the best of your capability?

    (

  • 1) Does the interviewee have a good chance to win in a game of 'Buzzword Bingo'?
    2) Describe your management style?
    2a) Do you manage upwards or downwards?
    3) Describe what you did when 'shit hit the fan in a previous position.
    4) Describe what you did when your team excelled in a situation.
    5) Describe the hardest thing you have ever had to do as a manager.

  • Whatever answers they give you, don't make the mistake of thinking that they're "all part of the game". Instead write them down and enter them into the formal record of the interview. Then at any later time, when whichever manager you get fails to live up to a statement they made during the interview, you'll have the material to "prove" they lied during the interview and can therefore be sacked.

    One last question you should use to end the interview: "Has everything you've told me been the truth?" but it's

  • What's out of bounds?

    Asking you to interview your future boss....

    I sense a HUGE cultural problem in your company...

  • The VP where I used to work asked the development team to interview a potential candidate for our team manager. One question I asked was what books on project management had he read - answer: none. Later the VP asked me how it went and I said OK with this one concern. He said "well, he's a friend of mine and he starts next week".
  • I've had to interview a prospective boss a few times, and it seldom goes well. All you end up doing is weeding out people who don't interview well. The ones left are either (a) the manager of your dreams, or (b) a total sociopath bent on making your life a living hell, and it's impossible to tell the difference during the actual interview.

    There are a lot of good questions here, and all things being equal, one could put together a strategy to single out the best candidate. The problem is, the truly career

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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