How to suss out if a potential employer is a bad boss

An office desk with a mug and a sign that says “no bad days”.

Not all bosses are created equal. So, how do you avoid getting a bad one? Here’s our advice to mining industry jobseekers.

Not all bosses are created equal. So, how do you avoid getting a bad one?

If you’re looking for a new job in the mining industry, then chances are you’re chasing career development, better pay and conditions, or perhaps greater work-life balance. It’s also possible you’re trying to get away from a toxic boss or workplace culture—and you’re nervous about jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

Whatever the reason for making a change, you’re taking a leap of faith. The advice below will help you be as sure as you can be that your faith will be rewarded, and you’ll avoid landing yourself with a bad boss.

Know what you want, not just in a job, but in a boss

What do you want in a boss? It’s an important question but one that is often overlooked by jobseekers.

Yet, if you’re chasing career development goals, then your boss is going to be the person who helps you achieve those goals. You need to find someone who believes in you, whom you can believe in, who communicates well, who will champion your growth and development.

If you’re escaping a bad boss already, then you’ll probably have a good idea of what you don’t want. Frame your job search more positively by flipping this on its head and focusing on the qualities you do want in a boss.

READ MORE: The qualities of good and bad mining bosses revealed

When you’re creating a checklist for your new mining job, you probably include the type of role, the pay, the location, perhaps the shifts. Don’t forget to include the type of boss you want, and the type of values you want them to have.

How to find out about your potential new boss

This is all well and good but you’re probably asking yourself, “how do I find out about the boss?”

Well, if you’re working with an expert recruiter, like one of our team of mining specialist recruitment consultants, there’s a good chance they either know the boss or know some of the team working for the boss, so asking them is a great place to start.

READ MORE: Here’s how mining employees describe great bosses

If you have a contact at the mining company concerned, get in touch with them and see what they have to say. Bear in mind, though, that someone else’s impression or experience may be different to yours. They may have different goals or values to you, which made them a bad fit to work for that boss, but might make you a good fit. All the same, it’s great to have information from a third party so you can compare it to what your gut and your own investigations tell you.

Ask smart questions during your interview

There’s always a part of a job interview when the potential employer asks if you have any questions. Especially if the person interviewing you is your potential boss, do not let this opportunity go to waste. Come armed with a list of questions that will help you suss out what kind of boss you’re dealing with.

Here are some questions that will help you test the company’s (and the boss’s) values, leadership style and communication skills, and gauge the kind of support you can expect from them. Remember, you’re trying to work out if they’re a good fit for you.

  • What does a successful employee with a bright future look like here? What are the characteristics that set them apart?
  • Skills and experience aside, what are the characteristics you’re looking for in whomever fills this role?
  • What is your leadership style like and how do your employees experience that? What does it look like for them?
  • Can you give me an example of a time you supported the career development of your team, advocated for them, or created opportunities for them?
  • What are the systems and expectations in place around feedback and communication in this organisation?

For all the information you can gather, it still comes down to vibe

Hopefully, if you ask those questions and really listen to the answers, you’ll get a sense of what the boss, the people, and the organisation are like. In the end, you can’t truly know what a boss is like until you start working for them. So, while it’s important to ask the questions and gather all the information you can, in the end it will still come down to the vibe you get. How did they make you feel? Did their values seem to align with yours? Do you see yourself fitting into the culture and being happy there? Can they deliver the opportunities or conditions you’re looking for? Only you can decide.

Make your job search as stress-free as possible and talk to one of our consultants. Make sure to register your details with us to ensure you’re considered for upcoming opportunities that match your skill set.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International